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Regulatory Summary


All refuse set out for City collection must be separated into rubbish and recyclable materials (and yard waste during leaf season). Rubbish setout includes yard waste such as leaves, tree and brush cuttings; except during leaf season, when yard waste must be separated also. Yard waste excludes grass clippings/trimmings. Recycling includes all paper products other than hardcover books (such as newspaper, corrugated cardboard, paper, computer paper, catalogs, magazines, soft cover books, telephone books, mail, light weight cereal boxes, etc.); glass food or beverage containers; aluminum, steel, bi-metal food or beverage containers; empty paint cans; empty aerosol cans; and #1 through #7 plastics and cartons. All recycling may be placed together in one container. All rubbish may be placed together in one container except during leaf season when yard waste must be separately set out in paper yard waste bags.


All containers must have a tight fitting lid or be secured in such a way as to prevent refuse from being carried away by the elements. Set out may be in metal or other non-corrodible cans, no larger than 32 gallons, or in substantial, leak-proof bags, no smaller than 30 gallons and no larger than 32 gallons. Recyclable materials and yard waste may also be set out in large paper recyclable yard waste bags which are designed to resist the elements. Cardboard may be flattened, stacked, compacted, and tied into a consolidated unit. Tree branches or large objects must be cut up or taken apart such that they fit within the can or bag. A maximum of two items larger than a 32 gallon can may be set out for collection per week. Needles, syringes, etc. must be securely sealed in plastic or metal containers in such a way that the needles cannot perforate the container. Cardboard boxes and plastic bags are not acceptable as containers for set out, nor are plastic bags accepted in the curbside recycling program. No bag, container, or receptacle set out for collection shall contain any nails, glass or other sharp objects in a manner as to potentially cause injury to collection personnel. 

May Not Be Set Out for Curbside Collection

Computers, monitors, televisions; tires; household hazardous waste; bulk items; grass trimmings/clippings; highly flammable substances, explosive or radioactive materials, toxic or corrosive substances; pathological wastes from medical offices and clinics.

Materials Accepted at Citizen Drop-off/Convenience Centers

Rubbish (excluding construction material); recyclable materials; computers, monitors, televisions; yard waste (excluding grass clippings/trimmings); bulk items; tires (limit 4/day); Christmas trees. City residents wishing to use a drop-off center must show proof of Philadelphia residency and use a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds or less. All refuse must be properly tarped or secured so as to prevent being blown away or scattered from the vehicle.

Set Out

Refuse containers should be set out on the sidewalk adjacent to the curb or adjacent to the driveway where there is driveway collection. In most areas of the City, refuse may be set out at any time between 7:00 PM the night before collection day to 7:00 AM the day of collection. In center city, refuse may be set out between 8:00 PM the night before collection day to 6:00 AM the day of collection.

Maximum Amounts Per Week


Includes yard waste if NOT LEAF SEASON:

  • Premises with one unit/single family: 4 cans
  • Premises with 2 to 6 units: 6 cans
  • Premises with businesses: 6 cans
  • Two bags may be substituted for one can


No Limit

Yard waste during Leaf Season

No Limit

NOTE: No bag or container may weigh more than 40 pounds.

Those Eligible For Municipal Collection

Any inhabited private premises is eligible for City collection as long as it is a separate real estate parcel for tax purposes, has equal to or less than 6 units (unless it is a condominium/co-operative meeting the requirements for City collection), and does not exceed the weekly set out limits for refuse prescribed by the regulations (summarized above). Premises with retail stores and professional offices are also eligible as long as they meet the other requirements of the regulations.

Those Not Eligible for Municipal Collection

Any premises having more than 6 units, unless a qualified condominium/co-operative, is excluded. Also excluded are gas stations, service stations, body shops, automotive repair shops, etc. Manufacturers, wholesalers and operations that are part manufacturer and wholesaler are excluded, whether it is the production line, warehouse, repackaging operation, administrative office, or any other part of those businesses. Any private premises which has private collection is ineligible for municipal collection.

Any refuse which is not properly seperated or set out may be refused for collection and the violators or property owner will be subject to penalties as provided in the Philadelphia code and sanitation regulations

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