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Trash Service Guidelines

Denver residents serviced by Solid Waste Management may schedule a FREE appliance collection by appointment. Appliance collections are done by the city's contractor (EcoProjex) to ensure that metals are recycled and Freon gases from refrigerated appliances are handled in an environmentally safe manner. For more information on this program and to schedule an appliance collection appointment visit FREE Appliance Collection.

For  Non-SWM customers: Contact  EcoProjex or another private appliance recycler ( Recycling Directory) to set up a collection appointment   These are private companies and all fees are the responsibility of the resident

  • Set the black trash cart out by 7 AM on your collection day.
  • Place the trash cart at least 2 feet from obstructions such as garage overhangs,cars, fences, poles,overflow trash, large items or other collection containers that may prevent the automated truck from emptying it.
CURB SET OUT: Set your black trash cart in the street with the wheels against the curb and front facing the street. The automated trucks cannot service containers set out backwards.   ALLEY SET OUT: Set your black trash cart in the flow line of the alley and the front facing the alley. The automated trucks cannot service containers set out backwards.

  • Prevent litter by bagging all trash and keeping the trash cart lid closed whenever possible.
  • Do not put construction debris, sod, dirt or branches in the trash cart.
  • Store the black trash cart on your property, out of public view, in between collection days.
  • If your trash day and street sweeping day occasionally coincide, visit Trash Collection and Street Sweeping for instructions.
  • During your scheduled overflow collection week, your overflow trash must be set out by 7 AM on your normal trash collection day.
  • Overflow trash is any material left outside of your City-issued black trash cart. Only trash inside the black trash cart is collected weekly.
  • Overflow trash should not be stored at the curb on non-collection days. Store your overflow trash on your property, out of public view, until your scheduled collection day.
  • Maximum of 10 bags will be collected per overflow collection cycle (every 3 weeks) per household.
  • Use your black trash cart to full capacity. Heavy items should be placed in the bottom and the lid may be open to a 45 degree angle. The lid must not exceed 45 degrees and trash must not be placed on top of the cart lid.

  Keep area around dumpsters clear, place large items and recycling carts at least 2 feet from dumpsters.
  • Prevent litter by bagging all trash and always keeping dumpster lids closed.
  • Tie loose branches in bundles no longer than 4 feet and weighing no more than 50 pounds. Branches may not exceed 4 inches in diameter.
  • A maximum of 5 branch bundles may be placed in a dumpster per week. Hold extra branch bundles over until the next week or set bundles and bagged yard debris (weighing no more than 50 pounds) out on your LIP week.
  • Do not put furniture,construction debris, sod or dirt in dumpsters.
  • Maximize space in the dumpster by placing items in the rear of the dumpster first. If the closest dumpster is full, then place your trash in any of the other dumpsters in your alley.
  • Report illegal dumping by calling 311 and providing a license plate number. Please do not confront illegal dumpers.
  • Call 311 to report damaged dumpsters (missing or broken lids or rusted bottoms) or graffiti on dumpsters.

  • Set your trash out by 7 AM on your collection day.
  Put trash in containers or bags no larger than 32 gallons and weighing no more than 50 pounds, or it cannot be collected. Do not set trash out in cardboard boxes.
  • Do not overfill trash containers or bags.
  • Do not put construction debris,sod or dirt in your trash.
  • Place your trash at least 2 feet from obstructions such as cars, fences, poles, large items or other collections containers that may prevent collection crews from seeing or reaching your trash.
  • Set your trash as close as possible to the curb or the flow line of the alley.
  • Prevent litter by bagging all trash.
  • Protect trash collectors by not putting dangerous liquids,sharp objects, medical waste or unbagged pet waste in your trash.
  • Store your trash containers on your property, out of public view, in between collection days.
  • Tie loose branches in bundles no longer than 4 feet and weighing no more than 50 pounds. Branches may not exceed 4 inches in diameter.
  • A maximum of 10 items (bags,containers, branch bundles) is permitted each collection.

  • Only set out large items during your LIP week (every 6 weeks) to keep your alley or street clear and deter illegal dumping.
  • To determine your LIP schedule, visit Large Item Pickup (LIP) Schedule or call 311 (720-913-1311).
  • Set large items out by 7 AM.
      • Trash Cart and Manual customers, set large items out on your normal day of trash service during your scheduled LIP week.
      • Dumpster customers, set large items out on Monday of your LIP week for collection during that week.
  • Make sure the items are visible and can be reached for collection by placing them at least 2 feet away from trash containers, recycling carts, cars and other obstructions.
  • Tie loose branches in bundles no longer than 4 feet and weighing no more than 50 pounds. Branches may not exceed 4 inches in diameter.
  • A maximum of 5 large items is permitted each LIP cycle.
  • Do not set out building materials, auto parts, tires, tree stumps, rocks, concrete, dirt,sod, electronics or hazardous waste. These items are not accepted.
  • If you have an urgent need for large item collection, call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit Registered Trash Haulers for a list of licensed haulers that provide service for a fee.

Dead animal removal in streets or alleys, please call  311 (720-913-1311) or go to online to  311 Help Center.

As of July 1, 2013, in accordance with Colorado’s Electronic Recycling Jobs Act (SB 12-133, 4/20/12) which bans the disposal of electronic waste in Colorado landfills, the City can no longer accept electronic devices in the trash.

Non-acceptable electronic devices set out for collection will have an orange sticker placed on them and left uncollected by service crews.  It is the resident's responsibility to remove the non-acceptable electronic material from set out and arrange proper recycling of the materials.

Denver Recycles offers resources like an E-cycle Coupon and special collection events to assist you with recycling your unwanted electronics. There are also free and low cost recycling options through local retailers and manufacturers.  For more details on properly recycling your old electronics visit Electronics Recycling.

Please note that Solid Waste Management does not observe all City Holidays.  Below is a list of the holidays we do observe.  If your service falls ON or AFTER a holiday, your collection will be delayed one day.  Monday service will be on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, etc., etc., with Friday service on Saturday for that week only.

New Year's Day  Thursday, January 1, 2015
Martin Luther King Day                    Monday, January 19, 2015
President's Day  Monday, February 16, 2015
Cesar Chavez Day  Monday, March 30, 2015
Memorial Day  Monday, May 25, 2015
Labor Day  Monday, September 7, 2015
Thanksgiving Day  Thursday, November 26, 2015
Christmas Day  Friday, December 25, 2015
  • Note:  Independence Day and Veterans Day Holidays 2015:  Normal collections service will occur on Friday, July 3 and Wednesday November 11, 2015

Enforcement of Rules and Regulations - every attempt shall be made by an authorized agency representative to contact the violator and seek resolution of the violation.  Conflicts and disputes arising from the enforcement of the rules and regulations shall be resolved by the Manager or an authorized representative.  Repeated or gross violations may result in the issuance of a notice of violation up to and including a court summons.
  • To report Illegal Dumping call 311 (720-913-1311).
  • Do not confront person doing the dumping.
  • Obtain as much information as possible, make/model of vehicle, license plate number and description of the person(s) involved.
  • An inspector will follow up on this information.


  1. Find out your trash and recycling service information with the View My Service Schedule tool.
  2. Sign up for recycling services with our New Customer Signup tool.  Be sure to check the box if you already have a recycling cart at your address and do not need one delivered.
  3. There is no charge for trash and recycling services provided by Denver Solid Waste Management, with the exception of the composting collection service (green carts) which is a fee based program.
  4. If you have a large amount of leftover moving boxes, please contact us to make arrangements for a special cardboard recycling collection.



  1. Contact us prior to your move so we can update the account information.
  2. Leave any City issued containers behind.  Black trash barrels, purple recycling carts, and green composting carts are the property of the City & County of Denver.  Each barrel and cart is assigned by serial numbers to an exact address.
  3. Bring all containers back onto your property before you move.  Do not leave containers in the street or alley.
  4. Take any personal trash containers with you.

Please note that Denver Solid Waste Management only services residential homes of seven or fewer units that are located in the City and County of Denver.  If you reside in a larger apartment or condominium property, please contact your landlord or HOA for collection information.

Solid Waste Management is an agency of the City & County of Denver's Public Works Department.  The  Public Works Manager's Rules & Regulations for Trash Collection services only authorized Solid Waste Management to provide services to residential homes of seven or fewer units and municipal facilities.

    There are a number of reasons that your trash or recycling might have been missed.

  1. HOLIDAY WEEKS: During holiday weeks, the collection schedule is delayed by one day following the holiday.  Check the holiday schedule
  2. BLOCKED OR IMPROPER SET OUT: Sometimes trash or recycling can’t be collected because containers are blocked or containers were set out incorrectly. Check the trash service guidelines or recycling service guidelines to make sure your containers were set out correctly.
  3. OVERFLOW & LIP WEEKS: Large Items Pickup follows a 6 week collection cycle and Overflow trash in barrel trash container areas follows a 3 week collection cycle.

    REPORTING A MISSED COLLECTION: If your trash or recycling was for missed (and not for one of the above reasons), please call us at 311 (720-913-1311) to report the missed collection and/or find out if there was another reason for the missed collection

Residents are responsible for:

  • Maintaining a minimum height clearance for our trucks of 13 feet for tree branches and wires stretching out from your property into the alley or street.
  • Resolving tree branch clearance issues contact the City’s Forestry Division for a list of licensed contractors at 720-913-0651 or online.
  • Resolving downed or low-hanging wires and lines contact:
    • Power lines, Xcel at 1-800-628-2121
    • Phone lines, Qwest at 1-800-573-1311
    • Cable lines, Comcast at 303-930-2000
  • Properly disposing of unacceptable items. For a list of registered hauling companies, call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit online at Registered Trash Haulers.
  • Dead animal removal in streets or alleys, please call 311 (720-913-1311).

Follow these guidelines when setting out branches and yard waste:

TRASH CART and MANUAL Service Customers 
  • Tie loose branches in bundles no longer than 4 feet in length and in bundles weighing no more than 50 pounds. No branches may exceed 4 inches in diameter.  A maximum of 10 branches bundles per household will be collected per the overflow collection cycle (every 3 weeks).
  • Do not place branches in your city issued black trash cart and place at least 2 feet away from black barrels when setting bundles out for collection.
  • Leaves and yard clippings must be in bags or containers and weigh no more than 50 pounds each when full.  Learn when and where you can take leaves to be recycled with LeafDrop.
DUMPSTER Service Customers
  • Tie loose branches in bundles no longer than 4 feet in length and in bundles weighing no more than 50 pounds. No branches may exceed 4 inches in diameter.  A maximum of 5 bundles of branches or five bags of leaves per week can be placed in dumpsters.
  • Leaves and yard clippings must be in bags or containers and weigh no more than 50 pounds each when full.  Learn when and where you can take leaves to be recycled with LeafDrop.
  • When placing out large volumes of branches and/or bags of leaves, please follow the LIP collection schedule for your neighborhood. Place items in back of your home in the alley.
  • Do not place items within 4 feet of the dumpsters.

Overflow bags  or containers of household trash will be collected per  overflow collection cycle  (every 3 weeks).  Overflow trash collection routes are only in trash cart service areas.

Containers or bags used for overflow trash must be no larger than 32 gallons in size and weigh no more than 50 pounds. Containers or bags exceeding 32 gallons or 50 pounds cannot be collected.

Be sure to set overflow trash at least 4 feet to the side of your trash barrel and any other obstacles.

Use heavy duty trash bags to prevent breakage and odors.

A maximum of 10 items per scheduled overflow collection day (includes combination of bundled branches and household trash).

Bundled branches can be set out as overflow.  Branches must be tied and bundled in bundles less than 4 feet in length with no branch larger than 4 inches in diameter and easily handled by one person. Branch bundles count as part of your 10 items acceptable for collection during your scheduled overflow collection cycle (every 3 weeks).

All trash, recycling and compost carts must be stored on your property in between collections. You may set your carts out as early as the night before your collection day and then return your carts to your property within a day after collection occurs.


Keep carts out of the alley and off the streets will:

  • Ensure each neighbor takes responsibility for their own waste and carts
  • Ensure each neighbor has access to the public right-of-way
  • Improve the appearance of the alley
  • Prevent cart loss or damage, and misuse or vandalism to the carts
  • Minimize recycling and compost contamination (non-acceptable items can contaminate entire loads)
  • Reduce litter and the potential for illegal dumping
  • Discourage waste scavengers in your neighborhood


It is your responsibility to manage and care for your city-issued carts. Take pride in your neighborhood and bring your carts back. 






As Solid Waste Management continues to expand cart-based trash service to Denver neighborhoods, it’s a good time to start thinking about what trash cart size best fits your home. Solid Waste Management now offers three different trash cart sizes:

  • 35-gallon: Holds 2 to 3 tall kitchen bags of trash per week                                               
  • 65-gallon: Holds 4 to 5 tall kitchen bags of trash per week                                                                 
  • 95-gallon: Holds 7 to 8 tall kitchen bags of trash per week                                   

The default delivery size is the 95-gallon cart, but since many families don’t need this much capacity we encourage residents to right-size their carts by requesting smaller trash carts leading up to the start of their cart-based trash service. Residents can request different sized carts six weeks prior to their neighborhood being changed to cart-based trash service by calling 311 (720-913-1311).

Maximizing recycling opportunities offered through the Denver Recycles program can help make a smaller trash cart possible. Residents that are not already participating in the recycling program are encouraged to take advantage of this service.

Existing recyclers are encouraged to look further to maximize recycling efforts by making sure they are capturing all the recyclables they can. Recyclers with the original 65-gallon recycle cart can upsize to a 95-gallon cart if more capacity is needed, or even get a second recycling cart.

Approximate cart measurements are as follows:

35 gallon= Weighs 25 lbs

       Height = 40”, Width = 21”, Depth = 24”

65 gallon=Weighs 32 lbs

      Height = 42”, Width = 27”, Depth = 32”

95 gallon=Weighs 40 lbs

       Height = 46”, Width = 30”, Depth = 36”


Contact Us

Call 311 (720-913-1311), visit online at 311 Help Request or email DenverRecycles.

TTY Service: 720-913-8479

Trash Guide Booklet

Making the Most of Your Solid Waste Services (3.91 MB)

Click on image above to download