Business & self-employment

Get a Dumpster License (Private or Right-of-Way)

Service overview

You must get a license to permanently place a dumpster on private property or in the public right-of-way (on the street or sidewalk).

One license may cover all dumpsters on a property, but there is a separate fee for each dumpster.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues these licenses.

Prohibited areas

Dumpsters are prohibited in the sidewalk or street at certain locations and under certain conditions:

  • In the Center City area (between Bainbridge St., Spring Garden St., Delaware River, and the Schuylkill River) where a licensed public dumpster was not located prior to September 2016.
  • Anywhere a building was constructed or use was established after 1989 and where no licensed public dumpster was located.
  • In CA-2 (Auto-Oriented Commercial) Zoning Districts. You can find Zoning Districts using Atlas.
  • Anywhere the Department of Streets determines will interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

Temporary placement

To temporarily place a construction dumpster in the public right-of-way, like on a street or along a sidewalk, you need a permit from the Department of Streets. Call the department’s Permit Unit at (215) 686-5500 to get a Temporary Construction Dumpster Permit.

Who

Anyone can apply for this license.

Requirements

Application

For a dumpster on private property, include:

  • A site plan showing the location and any required enclosures. (All dumpsters placed outdoors must be enclosed by an opaque fence, shrubbery fence, or enclosed shed that complies with Zoning and Building Codes.)

For a dumpster in the public right-of-way, include:

  • A description of alternative trash storage plans and explanation of the need for a public dumpster.
  • A site plan showing size, location, and sidewalk and street widths.
  • Approval from the Department of Streets.

Other permits

  • Separate building and zoning permits may be required for dumpster enclosures exceeding 4 ft. in height.
  • Enclosures are subject to the same permit requirements as other fences.

RFID medallions

Each dumpster needs to have a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) medallion attached to it. L&I will give you the medallion when you get your license.

The medallions transmit:

  • The license number.
  • The name and telephone number of the licensee.
  • The approved location of the dumpster.

You must immediately report any changes to this information to the License Issuance Unit by calling 311 or (215) 686-8686. Failure to report changes may result in fines or other penalties.

You can replace lost or damaged medallions at the Permit and License Center. You must bring the damaged medallion with you.

Waste and recycling plan

All businesses must have a Waste and Recycling Plan in place. You must register the plan with the Department of Streets, post it at your business, and distribute it to all employees or tenants. You can submit plans to the Department of Streets using an online form. Learn more about Waste and Recycling Plan Requirements.

Required pre-approvals

For dumpsters in the right-of-way

More +

Where and when

Online

Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

Private (lifetime license)

  • Trash dumpster less than 1 cubic yard: $80
  • Trash dumpster 1 cubic yard and above: $150
  • Recycling dumpster less than 1 cubic yard: $40
  • Recycling dumpster 1 cubic yard and above: $75

Public (annual license)

  • Trash dumpster less than 1 cubic yard: $200
  • Trash dumpster 1 cubic yard and above: $500
  • Recycling dumpster less than 1 cubic yard: $100
  • Recycling dumpster 1 cubic yard and above: $250

Damaged medallion fee: $25

Lost or stolen medallion fee: $75

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center. 

Online

1
Upload all required documents.

For dumpsters in the right-of-way, upload a copy of your Department of Streets approval letter.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

2
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

1
Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

For dumpsters in the right-of-way, bring your approval letter from the Department of Streets.

2
L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

Public dumpster licenses need to be renewed annually. Private dumpster licenses do not.

  • Renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center

Required for renewal:

  • Must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes
  • Valid email address

Forms & instructions


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