Solid Waste Management Department
Garbage Collection Tips
Here are a few tips to have your residential garbage collected quickly and efficiently:
Household garbage should be placed inside your city-provided 96-gallon cart. The handle of your container should point toward the residence. (Arrows on the cart should point towards the street). The container should be placed for collection between 6:00 p.m. the day before and 7:00 a.m. on the scheduled garbage collection day. The container must be accessible to the automated garbage collection truck and at least three feet away from other objects such as trees, parked cars, fences, mailboxes, basketball hoops, poles, holiday arches and power lines. Drivers will not move improperly placed containers and may not collect garbage carts in violation of these guidelines. Containers must be removed from the curb by 10:00 p.m. on the day of collection and stored in a secured location.
We also recommend that any dusty, loose material be placed in bags to prevent litter. Place any sharp objects in containers (such as a metal or plastic coffee can) to prevent injury.
SWMD Garbage collection only accepts household garbage. Items that are defined as Tree Waste, Junk Waste, Yard Waste/Trimmings, Household Hazardous Waste and Dead Animals should not be placed for disposal of in your garbage cart.
Unacceptable garbage items include:
- Aerosol Cans
- Computer equipment
- Construction/Remodeling debris
- Dead Animals
- Fluorescent Lights
- Household Chemicals
- Motor oil and other automotive fluids
- Non-alkaline Batteries
- Paint Thinners
- Photographic Chemicals
- Pool Chemicals
- Sheet Glass
Visit each facility website for information about acceptable items.
If you are a new resident to an area that is serviced by the City of Houston, you will be issued a 96-gallon garbage container for your household garbage upon request. To request new residential service, visit the online 3-1-1 service request site here or call 3-1-1 and speak to a representative for assistance.
Houston residents are eligible for garbage service featuring a single 96-gallon garbage container with weekly collection service with no service fee. Should you decide that you need additional garbage collection, you may enroll in the Add-A-Can program where a second or third container will be issued to you for an additional fee that will be added to your City of Houston water bill. A program sticker will be issued along with the cart and must be placed on the front of the additional container(s) in order to be serviced by Solid Waste Management Department crews. To request the Add-A-Can service, visit the online 3-1-1 service request site here or call 3-1-1 and speak to a representative for assistance.
In the event residents should have the need to dispose of extra bags of garbage, the "Tags for Bags" program is available. For a nominal fee, a sticker may be purchased and placed directly on the garbage bag (placed alongside of the container), for collection. Extra bags of garbage will only be collected if they have the Tags for Bags sticker attached.
The Tags for Bags may be purchased at local Fiesta, Kroger, or Sellers Bros. grocery stores or by calling 3-1-1. An online form is available to order Tags for Bags by mail here.
You may download the Tags for Bags form and send your completed form in with your payment.
No, “Tags for Bags” are not required for Yard Trimmings collection. The Yard Trimmings collection is a service provided by the SWMD at no additional fee. Residents may place yard trimmings (grass clippings and leaves) in city-approved compostable bags for collection on the same day as their garbage collection. Once the yard trimmings are collected, they as well as the biodegradable compostable bags are then recycled into mulch.
If boxes are placed out for collection on your scheduled garbage day, you will need a “Tag for Bag” sticker.
If you place your boxes out on your scheduled junk waste collection day, you will NOT need a “Tag for Bag” sticker.
If you place your boxes out on your curbside recycling day, they will NOT need a “Tag for Bag” sticker.
Boxes must be flattened, measure less than than 3 feet on every side and placed under the green bin or inside the 96-gallon green cart.