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Environmental Services

General Refuse Collection Information and Rules

NOTE: Replacement of lost, stolen or damaged containers is no longer free.

Automated Refuse Collection

Automated refuse/waste collection facilitates safer and more cost-effective collection of household trash. Automated refuse/waste collection trucks are equipped with specially-designed hydraulic arms that grasp, lift and empty City-issued refuse containers.

  • Customers must use City-approved automated refuse/waste containers to receive trash collection service. The first containers at a particular address are provided free of charge. Fees apply for additional refuse/waste containers and for replacement containers for lost, stolen or damaged containers.
  • Two sizes of containers are available: 95- and 65-gallon
  • Containers should be stored in a secured location that is not visible from public right-of-way. This could include such locations as behind a fence, in your backyard or in your garage.
  • Please call the Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000 to report damaged, lost or stolen containers; to request an additional container; or for general questions about trash and recycling collection.
  • How to Prolong the Life of an Automated Container.
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Containers
  • To ensure collection, all containers must be placed at designated point of collection by 6 a.m. on your scheduled collection day.
  • Set the authorized container on the street or alley, wheels against the curb and with the handle facing your home.
  • Container should be 3 feet from other containers, parked cars, lamp posts, trees, mailbox posts and any other obstructions so the collection truck can access your container.
  • All containers must be removed from your designated point of collection by 6 p.m. on your scheduled collection day. Failure to remove containers is a violation of City of San Diego Municipal Code Section 66.0105.

Help Keep Your Neighborhood Litter Free and Clean!

  • Do not pack trash tightly in your container.
  • Trash should be bagged or wrapped before placing in trash containers.
  • To reduce insects and rodents, keep containers clean.

What CAN go in the Trash

  • Normal household refuse/waste.
  • Ashes or sawdust, thoroughly wet.
  • Broken glass wrapped securely in multiple layers of newspaper.
  • Animal wastes wrapped in newspaper or plastic bags.
  • Hazardous materials containers that are empty and dry and five gallons or smaller in size.

What can NEVER go in the Trash

Please never put any of the following materials in the trash. These materials can harm refuse/waste collectors, the equipment and the environment.

  • Liquids of any type. The refuse/waste in landfills must be as dry as possible.
  • Hot coals, ashes or lit cigarettes.
  • Building and construction debris (dirt/rocks, tree trunks, carpets or large scraps).
  • Furniture, appliances or auto parts (water heaters, major appliances, couches/chairs, car bumpers, fenders, engine blocks, batteries, items over 50-pounds)
  • Unwrapped sharp objects (broken glass should be well-wrapped in newspaper before placing it in the trash.)
  • Household Hazardous Wastes (paint, cleaning fluids, motor oil, insecticides, solvents, acids, gasoline, pool chemicals, highly flammable liquids, radioactive materials, or toxic chemicals). Call Environmental Services at 858-694-7000 for disposal information.
  • Sharps including needles, syringes, lancets and other self-injection devices. Talk to your health care provider, pharmacist, or bring to a household hazardous waste collection facility. Call 858-694-7000 for additional information.
  • Medical waste from home health care services may require special disposal. Talk to your doctor or provider about disposal instructions.
  • Universal waste (all types of consumer batteries, electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, and mercury containing items such as thermometers and thermostats). For disposal information, visit Universal Waste Frequently Asked Questions or Links and Resources.

Missed Containers

  • Trash, recycling and greenery pickup is guaranteed for containers placed in collection areas by 6 a.m., unless they are in violation of City regulations. If your trash has not been collected look for a tag from your driver on the container. The tag will explain why it was left. If the container is not tagged and it was set out before 6 a.m., call (858) 694-7000, or submit a Missed Collection Request.
  • Visit the missed collections map to see if your area has been impacted. 

If you have questions, see the Frequently Asked Questions, contact Environmental Services at 858-694-7000 or email