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You must put household trash into leak-proof bins with tightly fitting lids. Bins should be no larger than 55 gallons.

You can also put trash in securely tied heavy duty opaque (non-transparent) black plastic bags, such as yard waste bags. Bags should be at least 1.5 mil thick. Most standard kitchen bags are not heavy duty and should be placed in bins. Do not use blue, red, clear, or any colored bags for regular trash. 

There is no limit to the number of bags you can put out for collection.

Dumpsters must be covered at all times with securely fitting covers or lids. Trash cans must be covered unless all refuse inside is in a securely tied bag.

You must place items at the curb between 4 PM and midnight the evening before your collection day. 

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is proposing to change the usual time for placing trash, recycling and compost out at the curb for collection. The new set-out times would help keep city streets clean and reduce food sources for rats.

Under the proposed new rules, residential buildings would have up to three options, each of which would decrease the amount of time items are left on the curb:

  • Place items out after 6 PM in a secure container,
  • Place items out after 8 PM if putting bags directly on the curb, or
  • If a building has nine or more residential units, the property owner may opt in to a 4 AM to 7 AM set-out window instead. 
    • The opt-in period would run for the month of January each year, allowing DSNY to design quick and efficient routes that take effect April 1.

The comment period and public hearing on the proposed rules ended on November 18, 2022.  After considering the public comments, DSNY will publish finalized rules later this year.

The finalized rules will go into effect on April 1, 2023.

Read the full text of the proposed rules.

American Flag

There are no specific sanitation regulations for disposing of an American flag.

Asbestos

Asbestos cannot be discarded with regular trash. For disposal of asbestos or items containing asbestos, contact a private hazardous/chemical waste company.

Trash or Recycling Container

Throw out metal or rigid plastic trash or recycling containers with your recycling items. Put a label on the container that says "Sanitation, please take this can away" so that the Department of Sanitation knows to take it.

Medicine

Printed materials that come with prescription medication should be referred to for specific disposal instructions.

Most prescription drugs should be mixed with an undesirable substance (such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put in impermeable, non-descript containers (such as empty cans or sealable bags) before throwing them out in the trash.

Printer Ink and Toner Cartridge

You can mail ink and toner cartridges back to the manufacturer or throw them away with your regular trash.

Printer cartridges are not recyclable.

When throwing out broken glass, it should be placed in a cardboard box labeled "broken glass" to avoid bag punctures.

The box should be sealed with tape and placed in a trash can or securely closed trash bag. Small containers of broken glass may be placed directly into a trash can or bag.

Larger cardboard boxes with broken glass inside that are properly sealed and labeled can be placed out for collection next to regular trash containers and bags.

The broken ends of smaller single pieces of broken glass can sometimes be protected with several pages of newspaper taped around the broken end before being placed into a trash can or bag.

Ionization Detectors

Ionization detectors contain small amounts of radioactive material. They should be returned to a manufacturer and not be thrown out with regular trash.

Check the label on your smoke or carbon monoxide detector if you are unsure about the type of detector you have.

Optical Detectors

Optical detectors do not contain any dangerous material and can be thrown out with regular trash.

If you are doing a major construction or renovation project in your home, you need to get a dumpster through a private trash removal service. If you hire a contracting company, it should arrange for private disposal of debris, such as heaters, sinks, and tubs.

If you do repair work in your own one or two-family home and don't hire anyone to help, you can place up to six items (bags, bundles) curbside with your regular trash. Items must be light enough to be lifted by two people and small enough to fit in a garbage truck.

Work on income properties (on 3-family homes and larger), fee for service, and contractor material must be serviced by hiring a private carter or dumpster.

You can't remove items, materials, or bags that other residents have placed out for pickup.

Only authorized employees or agents of the Department of Sanitation may collect them.

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