City of


Here's a quick reference guide for the rules and guidelines for refuse.

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


  1. 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, and other hazardous materials are banned from the refuse cart. For information regarding more refuse than will fit into your cart, see below section on Excess Refuse.
    • Refuse carts must be put out for collection prior to 7:00am 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.
  2. 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.
      • 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 - however, the carts are still obstructions to other city services and should be moved soon after emptying.
    • 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
      • The best placement is on your driveway after you have cleared it of snow.
      • It can also be placed on a cleared area of your terrace.
      • After your street has been plowed, you place it in the gutter right next to your driveway. Keep in mind carts in the street will interfere with the ability plow your street curb-to-curb when those operations are ongoing
      • 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Mandatory Recycling
  5. Large Item Collection
    • Large items are items considered too large to fit into the refuse cart. Large items include appliances, furniture, carpets, bicycles, swing sets, etc.
    • Large items must be out prior to 7am and be placed free from obstruction. Items out late or inaccessible will not be collected.
    • Large items are collected every other week on the week we do not collect your recycling. Consult your collection calendar to be sure of the dates for your neighborhood.
    • Large item collection is not guaranteed to occur on your scheduled day during holiday weeks, fall leaf collection, winter snow plowing, or other notable events (such as while clean-up for a severe weather event is ongoing). Staff will attempt to work back to make up for lost days when personnel becomes available.
  6. 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.
    • 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 one of the two drop-off sites at 1501 W. Badger Road or 4602 Sycamore Avenue
      • 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.
  7. Building Material from Minor Remodeling Projects
    • Collection of building material is limited to debris from minor home improvement projects done by the resident - not by contractors.
    • There is a maximum amount of building materials that will be collected at any given time. That limit is equal to six (6) 30-gallon containers flush to the top of the container and not weighing over 40 pounds. Building material may be placed in your tan refuse cart.
    • Debris from major remodeling, construction projects, or work done by contractors will not be collected. Removal of this material is the property owner's responsibility.
    • For projects with a value of $20,000 or more, recycling of building material is mandatory. For details, contact the recycling coordinator at 267-2626 and/or the Building Inspection department at 266-4551.
  8. Yard Waste
    • Yard waste is banned from the landfill and if it is put into the tan-colored refuse cart, the refuse cart will not be collected.
    • Yard waste is leaves, grass clippings, plant stalks, flowers, twigs/sticks under 18 inches in length. Yard waste is collected in the spring and in the fall.
    • You can also bring yard waste to a drop-off site.
    • You may also want to consider home composting.
  9. Brush
    • Carts containing brush will not be collected.
    • Brush is woody material between 18 inches and 8 feet long.
    • Brush is collected curbside throughout most of the calendar year. Please consult the brush collection website prior to setting material curbside to ensure timely collection of your material.
    • You can also bring brush to a drop-off site.
  1. Holiday Collection
    • Refer to your Refuse/Recycling collection 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.)
  2. Dog / Cat Waste.
    • Please double bag pet waste, including cat litter. The outer bag should be sealed and waterrproof.
    • Place in tan refuse cart
    • Do not put pet waste in corner litter containers. Please dispose of it at your home.
  3. Hazardous Materials, Liquid Paint, Flammable Materials, Other Chemicals, or Infectious / Medical Waste
    • This includes paint, varnish, stains, thinner stripper, drain cleaners, paint remover, pesticides, gasoline, and all hazardous household chemicals. This material will not be collected by the Streets Division
    • Please contact Dane County Clean Sweep for information regarding this material.
  4. Medication
  5. Medical Needles / Syringes / Lancets or Other Sharps
    • Streets Division will not collect these items. Do not place them into the carts. Many area pharmacies and clinics dispose of used medical needles for their patients. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have a program for the proper disposal of medical needles. There are many medical needle disposal sites within the city of Madison.
  6. Ashes, Sawdust, Vacuum Cleaner Dust, Remodeling / Construction dust, etc.
    • Ashes, Sawdust, Vacuum Cleaner Dust, Remodeling / Construction dust, etc. all pose a health hazard to our operators. To protect them, all material must be double-bagged in sealed weatherproof bags and placed in your tan-colored refuse cart.
    • Ashes must be cold prior to disposal or the bag may start a fire in the cart or in the truck.
  7. Broken Glass, Mirrors, etc.
    • Broken Glass, Mirrors, etc .can be placed into your tan-colored refuse cart.
  8. Deer Carcasses
    • Must be double-bagged and placed in the refuse cart.
  9. Explosives / Fireworks / Ammunition
  10. Fluorescent Bulbs / Tubes
    • Do not place these into your cart. Streets Division will not collect these items.
    • City and County ordinances require that retailers who sell fluorescent bulbs / tubes take back old lights / tubes from their customers and recycle them. Some may charge a small fee. There are several locations in the area that will accept them
  11. Dried Paint
    • Cans of dried paint can be placed in your tan refuse cart. If the solid paint can be removed, you may place the solids into your refuse container and recycle the empty can in your green recycling cart.
    • Empty paint cans, including empty aerosol paint cans can be placed in your green recycling cart.
  12. Waste Motor Oil
  13. Vehicle Batteries (lead acid).
    • Batteries can be recycled at the City drop off sites. Details
  14. Contaminated Cardboard Cardboard
    • Cardboard contaminated by grease, oil, or other contaminants should not be recycled. For pizza boxes, consider ripping the lid off to recycle that piece while the bottom, food-stained half would be refuse.
    • Prior to putting it in the tan-colored refuse cart, follow cardboard recycling guidelines. Wet cardboard can be placed in your green recycling cart.
  15. Propane Tanks and Pressurized Gas Containers
    • Empty containers can be taken to the drop-off sites. These will not be collected curbside.
  16. Gas Cans
    • Will be collected as a large items if the cans are empty and left open at the curb.
    • Gas and oil/gas mixtures must be taken to Dane County Clean Sweep.
  17. Smoke Detectors
    • Put in your tan refuse cart. The minute amount of radioactive material does not pose a hazard in the landfill. We cannot recycle smoke detectors.
  18. Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    • You can bring CO2 detectors to our drop off sites and recycle them in our Electronics Recycling Program or you can put them in your tan refuse cart.
  19. Household Batteries (AA, AAA, D, etc.)
  20. Solid Waste Collection
    • For information call East (608) 246-4532 or West (608) 266-4681
Revised: Feb. 2016