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Quick Reference guide

Here's a quick reference guide for the rules and guidelines for using your collection cart.

how to use your tan trash cart

All Refuse Must Be Inside the City-Provided Tan-Colored Refuse Cart

    • The owner or occupant of each residence must use the city-provided tan-colored refuse cart. All household waste must be placed inside the tan-colored refuse cart.
    • Recyclable items, yard waste, brush, certain electronics, and other hazardous materials are banned from the refuse cart.
    • Refuse carts must be put out for collection prior to 6:30am on the scheduled day. Late set outs will not be collected until your next scheduled collection day.
    • City ordinance states that no cart shall be placed at the curb edge more than 12 hours before collection day. They must be removed from the curb within 24 hours after the date of collection.
    • The weight of the cart cannot exceed 100 pounds to prevent the cart from falling into the collection truck.
    • Material should not protrude more than 18 inches above the top of the cart.
    • Anything outside of the cart and not meeting either the large item collection or the move-out/household cleanup collection requirements will not be collected. See below section on Excess Refuse for more information.

Placement of Refuse Cart

    • Always place your cart so that the white serial numbers are facing the street. This places the lid opening in the proper position for emptying.
    • Place your cart at the curb edge in your driveway apron or next to it so that it is four (4) feet away from obstacles such as parked cars, mailboxes, and utility poles.
    • Carts should be side-by-side with adequate space between carts. Please do not stack one behind the other.
    • Avoid placing collection carts in the street gutter. Carts in the street interfere with traffic, street sweeping and snow plowing.
          • For carts placed in the street gutter, operators are instructed empty the carts and place them out of the roadway, such as on the terrace or in the driveway apron so they are no longer an obstruction.
          • If you live in the Clean Streets/Clean Lakes special street sweeping zone, never place your cart in the gutter on days when sweeping is scheduled.
          • In some neighborhoods, due to how heavily parked in they are during collection, carts placed in the street gutter to ensure collection is acceptable, though it is far from ideal.  Carts are still obstructions to other city services (just like those parked cars).
    • Place your refuse cart on the opposite side of the driveway from your recycling cart.
    • Improperly placed carts will not be collected.
    • When carts are not in use, they must be stored in accordance with city ordinance. Building Inspection is the agency tasked with enforcing the codes related to cart placement and storage. They can contacted at 608-266-4551 if there are questions.
    • Winter Placement

      Carts in the street are an obstruction. Trash & recycling collectors will move the carts out of the streets, which is likely to be in driveway aprons.

          • The best placement is on either side of your driveway after you have cleared it of snow.
          • It can also be placed on a cleared area of your terrace.
          • Do not leave your cart on the sidewalk or on top of a snow bank.
    • Alley Placement:
      • Carts must be placed at the alley edge.
      • Carts on private property or by the garage will not be collected.
      • When storing carts outside in the alley, please leave the lid closed. If your cart is missing a lid, please contact the Street Division offices that service your neighborhood to request it be repaired.
    • Multi-family Placement:
      • Group refuse carts and recycling carts together. Mixing up the cart types at the curb increases the chances they will be missed.

Lost/Missing Carts

    • Replacement carts can be supplied upon contacting the Streets Division. Each situation that results in a missing/lost cart is different and residents may need to purchase their replacement. Please contact the Streets Division that services your address for more information if you need a replacement cart. East side residents should call 608-246-4532 and west side residents should call 608-266-4681.

Mandatory Recycling

Excess Refuse (Move Out / Household Cleanup)

    • To be considered a move-out or household cleanup, you must have a full refuse container and six or more 30-gallon bags of material outside of the cart. Contact the Streets Division that services your address for more information regarding this policy. East side residents should call 608-246-4532 and west side residents should call 608-266-4681.
    • Excess refuse must be bagged. The bags must weigh no more than 40 pounds apiece.
    • Do not place excess material in boxes or other containers. Material that is not bagged will not be collected.
    • Five or fewer bags are not considered a move-out/household cleanup and will not be collected outside the cart.
    • Household cleanup collections can be performed for a residence on two consecutive weeks only, or at the discretion of Streets Division staff.
    • Options for Five or Fewer bags/containers of excess material.
      • Talk to your neighbor and ask if they have room in their cart. If you receive their permission, you may place your excess material into their cart
      • Hold the excess material for following refuse collection week(s)
      • Take the material to a drop-off site
      • Arrange to exchange your smaller cart for a larger one at no cost by calling West Streets (608-266-4681) or East Streets (608-246-4532).
      • Purchase an additional cart by calling the Streets Division that services your neighborhood

Holiday Collection

    • Refer to your collection schedule calendar. If scheduled collection falls on a holiday, collection will be on the following workday with the following exceptions
      • Thanksgiving Refuse Collection
        • Thursday scheduled collection is collected on the preceding Wednesday (along with Wednesday's regular collection.)
        • Friday scheduled collection is collected on the following Monday (along with Monday's regular collection.)