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Residential trash and recycling rules

Violators or property owners who do not separate or improperly set out trash and recycling are subject to penalties as provided in the Philadelphia code and sanitation regulations.

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Eligibility

Eligible for municipal collection

An inhabited private property is eligible for City trash and recycling collection as long as it:

  • Is a separate real estate parcel for tax purposes.
  • Does not exceed the weekly set-out limits for refuse prescribed by the regulations (summarized below).
  • Has six units or fewer.

Properties with retail stores and professional offices are also eligible as long as they meet the other requirements of the regulations.


Not eligible for municipal collection

Any property that has more than six units, unless it is a qualified condominium or co-operative, is excluded.

The following are also excluded from municipal collection:

  • Gas stations
  • Service stations
  • Body shops
  • Automotive repair shops

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.

Note: Any private property that has private collection is ineligible for municipal collection.

Separating materials for collection

All refuse set out for City collection must be separated into trash and recyclables. You can learn more about:

These items are accepted as part of curbside collection but require special handling.

Item type Disposal guidelines
Non-rechargeable batteries
  • Wrap tape around both ends of the battery.
Compactible furniture (e.g., sofas, mattresses, box springs)
  • Limit to two items per week.
  • Bag and seal mattresses and box springs in plastic mattress bags for curbside pickup. (They do not have to be bagged if taken to a sanitation convenience center.)
Wood and tree pieces
  • Cut down to four-foot pieces per item.
  • Bundle and tie.
Needles and syringes
  • Seal securely in plastic or metal containers so that needles cannot puncture the container.

Not accepted for curbside collection

Some materials are not accepted as part of curbside collection, but you can still dispose of them properly.

Item type Disposal methods
Electronics (e.g., computers, televisions)
Household hazardous waste (e.g., paints, motor oil, antifreeze)
Bulk items (e.g., stoves, washing machines, air conditioners)
Tires
Universal waste (e.g., fluorescent light bulbs and lithium, rechargeable, and lead-acid batteries)
Construction debris (e.g., bricks, rocks, cinder or concrete block, etc.)

 


Containers and
weekly limits

Trash

All containers must have a tight-fitting lid or be secured in some way. Trash may be set out in:

  • Metal or other non-corrodible cans that are no larger than 32 gallons.
  • Substantial, leak-proof, sealed plastic bags that hold between 30 and 32 gallons.
Weekly trash limits

Includes yard waste:

  • Premises with one unit/single family: four cans
  • Premises with two to six units: six cans
  • Premises with businesses: six cans
  • Two bags may be substituted for one can.

Recycling

You can get a recycling bin from the City or one of our partners. You can also use any household container that is no larger than 32 gallons.

There are no weekly recycling limits.


Yard waste

Yard waste can be included with trash. During leaf season, mechanical collection and bagged drop-off services are provided as part of the Leaf Recycling Program.

  • No bag or container may weigh more than 40 pounds when filled.
  • Don’t put trash or recyclables in plastic bags or cardboard boxes.

Collection schedule

Look up your trash day.

To find out what time to set out your trash and recycling, refer to this table.

If the date is … You should set out your trash and recycling …
April 1 to September 30 Between 7 p.m. the night before collection day and 7 a.m. on collection day
October 1 to March 31 Between 5 p.m. the night before collection day and 7 a.m. on collection day

If you live in Center City (Vine St. to Bainbridge St., from Schuylkill River to Delaware River), refer to this table.

If the date is … You should set out your trash and recycling …
April 1 to September 30 Between 8 p.m. the night before collection day and 6 a.m. on collection day
October 1 to March 31 Between 6 p.m. the night before collection day and 6 a.m. on collection day

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