Whether you’ve recently moved to one of NYC’s neighborhoods or will be visiting a vacation rental home in the city, understanding your trash and recycling pick-up schedule is a must. All of New York is served by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) not only for trash removal but snow/ice removal and street cleaning as well; this department provides these services to nearly 6,000 miles of city streets.
While putting out your trash may seem pretty straight-forward, there are some things you should know if you’ll be living in NYC or staying here long term. For starters, different neighborhoods within the city have different trash (and recycling) pick-up days—and these can sometimes be affected or delayed by holidays or other events.
It’s also good for you to know some basic etiquette rules when it comes to putting out your trash, as well as the proper protocol for getting rid of larger items that won’t fit in your trash bins (such as furniture). We’ve compiled this guide to provide you with more-or-less everything you’d ever need to know about trash pick-up here in New York City!
When is My Neighborhood’s Trash Pick-Up?
The quickest, easiest, and most accurate way to determine your home’s trash pick-up date is to enter your address directly on the DSNY website. Upon entering your address, you’ll immediately have access to your trash pick-up schedule, including dates for recycling and organic waste pick-up. There is also a convenient DSNY app that you can download, which provides similar information.
In general, most NYC neighborhoods have trash collection days a few times a week, although recycling is generally picked up once a week. This can vary based on where you live, however, so be sure to check the DSNY website or app direction.
What About Pick-Up Times?
Regardless of your pick-up day, you should typically put your trash out sometime after 4 PM on the day before your scheduled pick-up. For instance, if your neighborhood’s trash pick-up is on a Friday, this means you should put your bins out to the curb after 4 PM the day before. It’s also a good idea to take your bins back in as soon as possible once your trash has been picked up.
Recycling in NYC
Many residents of NYC recycle, and DSNY provides recycling pick-up services for most neighborhoods at least once a week. Currently, recyclables that are picked up in these bins include:
If you don’t already have a recycling bin and would like to enroll in the city’s recycling program, contact DSNY directly to request a bin and service. Keep in mind that there are restrictions on what can be recycled; for example, while cardboard can be recycled, the cardboard must be free of food debris. This means that you may not be able to recycle that cardboard pizza box if it is soaked with food grease or melted cheese.
The best way to be sure about what can and cannot be recycled curbside is to check the DSNY website directly.
Understanding Sanitation Holidays and Delays
There are a number of national holidays and other dates where your trash pick-up may be delayed. In most cases, pick-up will be delayed on major holidays and resume the following day. For example, if your trash is normally picked up on Wednesdays but a major holiday falls on a Wednesday one week, your trash pick-up will most likely be delayed until Thursday.
Some examples of major holidays where there are typically trash delays in New York City include:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- President’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans Day
What if I Have a Large Item to Get Rid Of?
One of the most common questions people have about trash pick-up in NYC is what to do if you have garbage that’s too large to fit inside a bin (or larger than four by three feet) For example, you may have a piece of furniture or other oversized items (such as throwing out a mattress) that you’d like DSNY to pick up for you.
Can You Recycle or Donate It?
First of all, it’s a good idea to check and make sure the item you’re trying to get rid of is not something that can be recycled. If it is recyclable, you can go this route and the only thing you’ll have to do is leave the item out by the curb with your regular trash bins on your designated recycling pick-up day. Another option would be to donate these items; some local charities may offer free pick-up of your unwanted furniture or other items—and you may be able to deduct the value of them from your taxable income as a tax write-off.
If the item needs to be trashed, however, there are some additional steps you’ll need to follow. For starters, understand that items too large to fit in your bin will only be picked up by appointment. This means that if you simply leave these oversized items out with your regular trash by the curb, you could end up being fined.
Scheduling a Heavy Trash Pick-Up
The good news here is that scheduling a pick-up appointment with DSNY is relatively quick and easy—and you can schedule an appointment Monday through Saturday. The DSNY website (or app) allows you to schedule these pick-ups up to four weeks in advance, and you can have up to 10 items picked up at a time.
There are some general rules to keep in mind when it comes to heavy trash pick-up in NYC. For starters, if you’re looking to get rid of a box spring or mattress, understand that you’ll be required to seal these in plastic bags before setting them out to the curb. The purpose of this is to prevent the spread of bed bugs, and you could be fined up to $100 if you fail to seal these items before you set them out.
If you’re getting rid of carpet, lumber, or rugs, you’ll also be expected to tie these together in bundles of no larger than two by four feet.
Putting Out the Trash: General Rules and Etiquette
Now that you have a better understanding of when to put your trash out and how to handle requests for heavy-trash items, it’s a good idea to revisit some basic rules and etiquette that applies not just to trash pick-up in NYC, but most cities.
Bring in Your Bins
For starters, try to bring your trash bins in as promptly as possible after it is picked up. Leaving empty bins out by the curb can create a hazard because strong winds can blow these bins into the street. From there, they become a dangerous obstruction to traffic. Even if the wind doesn’t blow them into the street, bins can make it difficult for pedestrians to get around the city.
Don’t Overfill Trash Cans
When putting out trash, be considerate of the people who will be picking it up. Sanitation workers have a difficult and often thankless job, but they play a vital role within the city. With that in mind, try to keep your bins from being over-filled. If bins are overflowing, they can be difficult for workers to remove, and trash may end up being spilled onto the street. Ideally, you should be able to close the lid on your trash bins, and they should not be too heavy to lift. If you have a hard time getting them out to the curb, there’s a good chance that a sanitation worker is going to have a hard time emptying them.
Clean Trash Bins Occasionally
There are many reasons to clean out your trash bins every so often. For starters, dirty bins will start to smell—and those unpleasant smells will spread down the street and through the neighborhood, which is unpleasant for everybody. Stinky trash cans will also attract insects and rodents, neither of which you want on your property or in your neighborhood.
When was the last time you cleaned out your trash cans? If it’s been more than a few months, you may want to set aside some time to give them a thorough cleaning. The best way to clean a trash can is to simply rinse it with a solution of bleach and hot water. This can be much easier if you have access to a garden hose, but it can be done using a large bucket of warm water as well.
Cut Down on Smells
In addition to cleaning out your trash bins regularly, there are some other steps you can take to minimize stenches and odors in your bins. Spoiled food is one of the biggest contributors of unwanted smells coming from your garbage can. If you have a tendency to throw out old food or leftovers in your bins throughout the week, you may want to consider taking another approach.
Many NYC residents, for example, will keep a small container in their fridge or freezer where they keep food scraps throughout the week. On trash day, you can simply throw this container into your bin so that it isn’t sitting out for days before being picked up. You can also simply wait to clean out your fridge of leftovers and unwanted food scraps until just before you take your bin out to the curb before trash day.
Be Mindful of Pedestrians
It’s no secret that NYC is a city with lots of foot traffic. If you live on a street that sees a fair amount of pedestrian traffic, be extra careful with the placement of your trash bins on pick-up days. Do your best to ensure that your bins are left directly next to the curb and that they aren’t impeding any sidewalks or walkways.
Contacting DSNY With Questions or Complaints
DSNY handles trash pick-up and other services for nearly 6,000 miles of New York City’s streets. While these workers typically do an excellent job, there are occasions where your trash pick-up may be missed or other issues may arise.
If your trash isn’t picked up after you’ve put it out, there are a few steps to take before making a complaint with DSNY. Start by checking the DSNY schedule online (or through the app) to be sure your pick-up date is correct and hasn’t changed. From there, be sure that your bins were set out the night before and that there aren’t any obstructions around your bins keeping them from being picked up by workers.
You’ll also want to consider whether a major holiday may have caused a delay in your trash pick-up.
If none of these explanations applies to you, then you may want to contact DSNY or file a complaint through the DSNY app to have the situation resolved. In general, you should expect to hear back from them with a resolution within a couple of days.
Looking for More Help With Keeping a Tidy Home?
Keeping up with your home’s trash pick-up is just one of many weekly responsibilities you have to stay on top of, and this is true regardless of whether you rent or own a home in New York City. If you’re looking to free up some of your valuable time, why not look into hiring a maid service?
While a maid service typically will not take your trash out to the curb for you, these professionals can help with many other aspects of keeping your home clean and tidy so you can spend your time doing other things that you actually enjoy.
At Maid Sailors, we offer dedicated cleaning services to the hard-working people of New York City. Whether you’re looking for a one-time deep cleaning or recurring maid services, we offer transparent pricing and a 100% satisfaction guarantee for your peace of mind. We also offer a wide range of other cleaning services, including move-in/move-out cleaning, organization, laundry, and green-cleaning services to suit your needs.
Schedule your first cleaning with us today by calling (212) 299-5170; you can also request an appointment online using our convenient online form!