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Below should address the most common questions regarding the new work order system.

The questions are divided into four categories.


work order system

Schedule your large item pickup and/or purchase recycling fee stickers for drop-off.


questions for curbside collection

What is this?

Before you set your large items out for pickup, you must submit a work order to schedule your collection in advance.


Will you still come by my house every other week like before? Can I just use the old schedule?

No. You need to submit a work order to guarantee collection.


Why are you doing this?

You can find that answer here.


When do I set out my large items for pickup?

The items need to be at the curb for pickup by the date you selected in the work order.

Do not set them out too early, however. Try to get them out on the date you selected, or even the day before.

If you place the items out days, or even weeks in advance, you will make your neighborhood look cluttered and it could lead to fines.


The set-out date is a Sunday.  Does that mean you are picking it up on a Sunday?

No, your large items will not be collected on the set-out date you selected.

Crews will be by to collect what you have during the normal work week following the Sunday you chose.


I need to dispose of an item that requires a fee. Will I get a sticker?

If the items you are setting out require a fee, you will pay them through the work order system. You will not receive fee stickers in the mail for curbside pickup. 

The stickers are only to verify that an item was paid for, and if you are on our set-out list for curbside pickup, then we know you have paid.

Stickers are still required for items that come to a drop-off site that require a fee, like televisions.


How many times a month will large item collection happen?

Residents will see weekly set-out opportunities most of the time.

Each week has a fixed number of set-outs available, and the number should be high enough for residents to see weekly set-out opportunities. Of course, there will be very busy times but you shouldn't have to wait too long to get on the work order schedule.


When is the deadline to get on next week's set-out opportunity?

The deadline to choose a set-out Sunday is the Friday morning before that Sunday.  Let's use an example because that sentence is a little confusing.  For the below example,

Let's say you have a couch for curbside pickup, and you want it to set it out on Sunday, March 6.

This means you have until the morning of Friday, March 4 to get your couch on the schedule.

If I wait to fill out the work order until Saturday, March 5, that means the earliest date I could choose would be Sunday, March 13.


Why is the deadline the Friday before the Sunday?

In order for us to effectively set up the staffing and vehicles for the volume of stops we have on a given week.


What happens if I forget to set out my items on the set-out date and I miss my scheduled pickup?

You will need to reschedule for the next pick-up for your neighborhood.


How will I know if the item I want to get rid of requires a fee?

The online work order system will let you know if the item requires a fee, and you can check this list.


Do I need to fill out the work order if the items I am setting out do not require a fee?

For curbside collection, yes, you should fill out the form and include all of the items that need pickup, including the ones do not require a fee.  We will use the form to help set staffing for large item pickup.


I bought a sticker a while ago, but never got the item out to the curb for pickup. What should I do now if I want it picked up at the curb?

Call our offices so we can set up your curbside collection.


I have to get rid of two air conditioners. How do I do multiples of the same item?

You will need to add the same item to the order twice. There is a recycling fee for this item, so you will need to pay for both air conditioners.


I have carpet and lumber disposal.  What do I do?   Do I really have to put in a number for each board? What about carpet?

Keep it simple.

In this instance, you should have one entry for carpet and then one entry for the lumber in your work order.

Some items it's obvious you will need multiples, like the air conditioner example above.

Others like carpet, lumber, fencing, construction debris, and other things where you don't really have a single unit or thing, only putting one on the work order is sufficient.


What if I created a work order to have items picked up at the curb, but I change my mind and want to take the items to a drop-off site instead of having them picked up at the curb?

Please contact the Streets Division office that services your home to make adjustments to your work order.


Can I get a refund for a recycling fee if I want one?

No refunds are available for curbside collection.

Refunds will only be granted if you return a fee sticker to our offices. The sticker must be unused.

Since you will not get a sticker for curbside pickup, you cannot get a refund.


I live on a private drive. Where do I put my large items?

The Streets Division does not operate on private property. Some condo complexes and neighborhoods have private roadways that go through these housing areas, and these are roads that the Streets Division cannot service.

Placement of large items in these kind of homes can be tricky.  And a lot depends on the unique situation where you live, and what kind of management exists for these developments. This means there is no one-size-fits-all advice on where exactly these items can be placed for the Streets Division to pick them up. 

Here's some general advice:

    • You will need to book and appointment for the large item pickup from Streets.  Use your address.
    • Contact us for help to determine where you should set your items for pickup if it is not obvious. This will also help us to route the truck where it needs to go to pick up what you have.
    • Since we cannot service private property, be prepared to haul the item more distance because it will need to have the item out to the nearest public street.
    • Check with your building's or complex's management to learn if there is an established place where items should be set out as there may be different rules or preferences unique to your housing.
      • Also, most large apartment buildings have on-site management and use private trash collection services for dumpsters. Large item pickup may be part of the services available to you at your complex.


I go to the work order form and I can't get it to accept my address!  What's going on?

You do have to enter your address a very particular way to get the form to work.

Use this guide to help you

Also, some Madison street names are just don't follow typical naming conventions, and it makes city forms requiring an address difficult to fill out.  Feel free to contact us if you're stuck and we'll help.


questions for drop-off

Do I need to fill out the work order form for items that I am bringing to the drop-off site?

If the item is free, like a couch or just extra bags of trash, you do not need to use the work order form.

If the item requires a fee sticker, like a television or a microwave, you do need to use the form. Here is a list of the items that require a fee.

The work order system is how you will pay for recycling fees whether the item is picked up at the curb or dropped-off.


Will I still need a recycling fee sticker for certain items I bring to the drop-off site?


You should complete the work order for the items you want to bring to the drop-off site that require a fee

Then a sticker will be mailed out to you.

You must have the sticker on the item for them to be accepted.


Do I need to fill out the work order form if the item I am dropping off does not require a fee, like a mattress or a couch?



What if I created a work order to drop-off items, but I change my mind and want them picked up at the curb?

Please contact the Streets Division office that services your home to make adjustments to your work order.


I have to get rid of two televisions. How do I do multiples of the same item?

You will need to add the same item to the order twice. There is a recycling fee for this item, so you will need to pay for both televisions.


Will I be able to get a refund for recycling fees?

Yes, if you return your unused recycling fee sticker to one of the Streets Division offices.

Refunds will not be available for residents scheduling curbside pickup because they will not have an unused sticker to return.


Why do I need to wait for a fee sticker to bring in a television or some other fee item to the drop-off site? I don't like that.

This was debated before the new system went live. 

It comes down to simplicity.

We need something to prove that people paid for items, and also something that cannot be reused over and over again. A digital solution would require us to scan something, maybe a receipt or a bar code from someone's smart phone. Not everyone has access to a printer to print a receipt from home. Also, we worried about scanners working appropriately year-round outside in our drop-off sites.

This all led us back to using the stickers.  Yes, it is inconvenient to have to wait to receive a sticker in the mail after you buy it online, but even the speediest online transactions require folks wait a little bit for a physical thing to arrive.


I go to the work order form and I can't get it to accept my address!  What's going on?

You do have to enter your address a very particular way to get the form to work.

Use this guide to help you

Also, some Madison street names are just don't follow typical naming conventions, and it makes city forms requiring an address difficult to fill out.  Feel free to contact us if you're stuck and we'll help.

Other questions

Why did you do this?

There are a number of reasons why we moved to the new system on June 1, 2021.

Under the old system of the large item collection, large item pickup crews rove neighborhoods looking for items to collect. This uses a lot of fuel and a significant amount of time.

By going to the work order system, and only collecting the stops residents schedule, we save 850 to 900 gallons of diesel fuel each week. The Streets Division already works to minimize the effects of carbon our trucks emit into the atmosphere by using diesel exhaust fluid, but nothing beats not burning the fuel in the first place.

With the new work order system, crews can go stop-to-stop, and is a much more efficient use of resident's tax dollars because we use far less time searching for items to collect, and can go straight to the homes that need our service.

This will also help management assign the right volume of personnel to go after the number of work orders received so our personnel resources are also efficiently deployed.

This also allows us to get better data about what we collect. In time, as more recycling opportunities become available locally, work orders allow us to be more intentional with our collection system. For example, if mattress recycling becomes available once again, we could send a truck out to specifically pickup mattresses to deliver them to the recycler, making for a better process on the back-end so the recyclables won't have to be separated out from the material we can't yet recycle.

Also, the work order system should also practically eliminate missed large item collections as crews will know exactly which houses need pickup.


Will this affect student-move out?

Yes and no.

During the move-out period in August, people who live in the student move out area only need to use the work order form for items that require a fee, like microwaves and televisions.

If the item is free, like a couch or a desk, then no work order is necessary during the student move out period if you live in the student area. (Check out the Moving Days website to learn where and when that is.)

Our collection crews will be roving this area regularly as we have done in previous years.



Why is the student move area treated differently? I don't like that they seem to get special treatment.

August student move out is different. 

During that time of year, we have 20,000 Madisonians all moving out of their homes at the exact same time. It's the equivalent of the entire City of Middleton all deciding to move on the same day - it's a lot of people.

And a lot of trash gets generated. Right around one million pounds of garbage each year is pushed out to the curb during the move out.

With so many people all moving out, and so much stuff that needs to be collected, and with a vast majority of the student housing all clustered together, and all of it happening at the same time every year, it makes the most sense to have the trucks roving these areas during the move out to automatically collect all the items that do not require an extra fee, and empty the collection carts more often, so we can do our best to keep our city clean and welcoming.


What if someone struggles with the online form?

Please give us a call and we can help out.


The form isn't recognizing my address. What is going on?

The most common cause of this is that your street name is being entered incorrectly.  Use this guide to help you

For example, let's say you live at 1501 W. Badger Rd. If you enter that into the online form, "1501" is the Street Number; 'W" is the Direction; "Badger" is the Street Name; and "Rd" is the Street Type. 

Your Street Name does not include the Avenue, Road, Way, Boulevard, and the other similar designations. In fact, you do not need to fill in the "Street Type" part of the form to get it to recognize your address.

Now, there are some streets that do not follow the normal naming conventions and it can still be tricky, so if you just can't get the address to work, give our office a call.


What if I can't find the exact item I have that needs disposal?

We could not list every possible item that can be set out for pickup. Some of the categories are general, like a dresser or a bed frame would go under "wood furniture." There are also some general "other" categories you can use.

Over time, we will add common items we may have left out on the initial large item list.

And, you can certainly call us to get help.


Why can't I select items for my order? Is there a problem with the system?

You may need to turn off your pop-up blocker on your web browser to see the list of items.


Problem situations

My neighbor has large items at the curb for a month. What do I do?

You could talk to them about the new work order system. But those can be awkward conversations.  The best place to call is Building Inspection at 608-266-4551.

Building Inspection has the authority to issue orders for people to take the appropriate steps to get large items picked up, and they can also issue fines if necessary.  Plus, Building Inspection has the ability to see if work orders have been created, too, which means orders and/or fines won't be issued for those who do not need one.


There's an apartment complex near me that has items out all the time that are never picked up. What do I do?

The best place to call is Building Inspection for this, too. Their number is 608-266-4551.


Somebody dumped a large item on my property.  What do I do?

The person who dumped the property committed a crime. Best choice would be contact the police non-emergency or self-reporting unit so they aware of the situation and so you can obtain a case number. After you get the case number, contact the Streets Division with that case number in hand to work out the next steps.

If illegal dumping is a common problem at your property, then you may want to call the police district where you live to perhaps speak with a neighborhood officer or someone else to explore some options to make your property less attractive to people who choose to illegally dump things. It could be something.


My situation is hard to explain.  There's this large item that's been out for a few weeks and I don't know what's going on with it or who put it there or who is responsible for doing the work order or ...

Just give us a call.  Not all situations are straightforward. We can have a conversation with you, do a little digging, and figure out the next steps.