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The Sanitation Division provides weekly residential curbside trash collection for residential dwellings of six units or less. Each single-family residential unit is limited to a maximum of four 32‐gallon containers or eight 32‐gallon trash bags. The resident is responsible for providing the collection containers; there are no City provided containers. Trash collection is performed with public employees using rear‐load compactors. Approximately 530,000 residential units are served.

The more you know about the DOs and DON’Ts of trash collection and recycling – as well as practical information, like collection schedules – the easier it is to do your part to keep our city clean. Here’s a list of important information that can help: 

Trash and Recycling Collection Day


Trash and Recycling Setout Times

Regular Collection

Effective October 1 through March 31, trash and recycling should be set out between 5:00 PM the night before collection day and 7:00 AM the day of collection. Set-out times from April 1 to September 30 are 7:00 PM the night before and by 7:00 AM the day of collection at your regularly authorized pickup site.

Early Collection

(Vine St. to Bainbridge St., from Schuylkill River to Delaware River): From October 1 through March 31, set out trash and recycling between 6 pm the night before collection day and 6 am on the day of collection. From April 1 through September 30, set out between 8 pm the night before collection day and 6 am on the day of collection at your regularly authorized pickup site.

Holiday Collection

Full Holiday Schedule 

HAVING A PROBLEM? To report an issue with sanitation pickup, Click here if you did not receive collection on your scheduled collection day and your setout is within the regulations of the Sanitation Code.

What You CAN Recycle


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK
  • All Food and Beverage Containers
  • Hard Plastic Takeout Containers
  • Plastic Cold Drink Cups and Lids
  • Detergent and Shampoo Bottles
  • Pump and Spray Bottles
  • Plastic Pails, Buckets, Garden Pots


  • Newspapers and Inserts
  • ​Magazines, Brochures, and Catalogs
  • Junk Mail, Envelopes, Writing Paper
  • Scrap Paper
  • Paper Bags
  • Phone Books
  • Paperback Books
  • Greeting Cards, Gift Wrap (non-metallic)


Emptied and rinsed
  • Milk 
  • Juice
  • Ice Cream
  • Wine 
  • Soups


Emptied and rinsed
  • Aluminum, Steel, and Tin Cans
  • Empty Paint Cans
  • Empty Aerosol Cans
  • Metal Trays and Baking Dishes
  • Jar Lids and Bottle Caps
  • Clean Aluminum Foil


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK
  • All Bottles and Jars


Flattened and free of grease and food
  • Corrugated Cardboard Shipping Boxes
  • Clean Pizza Boxes
  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Egg Cartons
  • Dry Food Boxes

What to Keep OUT of the Bin

These materials have little or no value as raw materials, damage recycling equipment, and can even injure workers. Please leave them out!

  • Plastic Bags
  • Styrofoam™ Food/Beverage Containers and Shipping/Packing Material
  • Food Waste
  • Wet or Food-Soiled Paper
  • Waxed Paper Plates, Cups, and Takeout Containers
  • Greasy Pizza Boxes
  • Tissues, Paper Towels, and Napkins
  • Light Bulbs
  • Porcelain and Non-Container Glass
  • Cassette Tapes (VHS and audio)
  • Garden Hoses
  • Needles and Syringes
  • Electronics

Learn more about recycling

Proper Containers for Setout

Place all trash in metal or other non-corrodible personal trashcans or sealed plastic bags, filled only to the 40 pound limit. Wood scraps along with tree and brush cuttings shall be cut in pieces small enough to fit in a receptacle for set out.

For recycling, you can use any sturdy plastic or metal container that holds 32 gallons or less and just mark it with the word "RECYCLING" on its side. If one bin is not enough to hold all recyclables, simply add another one.

NOTE: Cardboard boxes may never be used as containers for trash/recycling, regardless of who collects it!

Use your own containers to set out trash. City litter baskets are for pedestrian use only. Do not use them to dispose of your household trash.

Weekly Limits for Trash

  • Each single-family household is allowed a maximum of four (4) 32 gallon containers or eight (8) 30 – 32 gallon bags of trash each week
  • Apartment buildings with 2 – 6 units and businesses, up to six (6) 32-gallon containers or twelve (12) 30 – 32 gallon bags
  • The weight limit for a bag or can is 40 lbs. The total weight should not exceed 240 lbs

What the City Does Not Collect

The following refuse may not be set out for curbside collection, but may be taken to a Sanitation Convenience Center:

  • Computers, monitors, televisions
  • Bulk items, or items that contain significant amounts of metal and are too large to fit in a 32 gallon trash receptacle, such as refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, metal furniture, etc.
  • Household Hazardous Waste (Items will only be accepted during Household Hazardous Waste Events).
    For information on the City's Household Hazardous Waste Events, click here.

The following refuse is not collected by the City and shall not be set out for collection nor taken to a Sanitation Convenience Center:

  • Highly flammable substances, explosive or radioactive materials, toxic or corrosive substances, or otherwise hazardous material which shall be disposed of as prescribed by the Fire and Health Departments.
  • Pathological wastes from medical offices and clinics, which shall be disposed of as prescribed by the Health Department.
  • Grass trimmings/clippings, which should be mulched into the lawn or collected by private landscaping/collection companies. 
  • Construction debris.

Customer Service Standard

Trash & Recycling Collections

  • On-time collection
  • Redress: The Streets Department will pick-up any missed collections on the next day.

NOTE: Property owners are responsible for informing tenants of these regulations.

PHILADELPHIA STREETS DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS:  Click here to view and/or print the Philadelphia Street Department Regulations Governing Municipal and Private Collection of refuse.