Learn all the trash pickup solutions that might be available near you

Missed your regular trash collection day? We've all been there at some point, and luckily, there are tons of quick and easy solutions. You can call your regular trash collection service and ask if they could come back and pick it up, ask your neighbor if you can place your bins next to theirs (if their trash hasn't been collected yet), or load up your car and drive your garbage along with any bulky items you might have to your local landfill or drop-off station. Here, we have all the methods you can use to get rid of your daily garbage as soon as possible.

Things You Should Know

  • Call your trash company or local waste management department and ask them to send out another driver to pick up your garbage the same day.
  • Place your trash in public street trash cans, put your trash in a community dumpster, or ask a neighbor if you can put your trash with theirs if it hasn't been picked up yet.
  • Store your trash in a secure container or bag if you need to wait until the next regular trash pickup day if you don't have a ton of garbage.
Section 1 of 3:

What to Do if You Miss Trash Day

  1. If you forgot to put out your bins on trash day, call your local trash company or waste management department to ask them to send out another driver and get your garbage the same day. You might be charged a small fee for this service, but it’s a quick and easy solution.
    • If your garbage collector missed your house during collection day, call 311 or submit a complaint form with your city or town.[1] However, avoid using this method if you missed trash day—you could get your sanitation driver in trouble.
  2. If you just missed trash collection and your neighbors across the street or the next street over haven’t had their garbage collected yet, ask their permission to place your bins next to theirs. Just make sure to collect your bins back up again later that day and thank your neighbor for helping you out!
  3. If you have a local business nearby or if you live in a neighborhood with your own community dumpster, you may be able to dispose of your trash there.[2] Check with the business or your local waste management department to make sure it’s okay before throwing away your household trash.
    • Avoid dumping your trash in local business dumpsters without their permission. Some cities and towns can fine you for dumping your trash illegally.[3]
    • Some cities and towns might also throw dumpster days where residents can drop off trash and furniture for free. Check to see if your city or town has a program before your next pickup day.[4]
  4. Many cities and towns have trash and recycling drop-off locations (sometimes called convenience centers) that are free for residents to use.[5] In some cases, you can drop your trash off at a landfill for a small fee. If you have a way to haul your trash, this can be a quick and easy way to dispose of your garbage the same day.
  5. Some cities and towns have a local junk dealer that can come by your house and pick up your trash along with any bulky items like mattresses and furniture. This is definitely the most expensive option on this list, but it can be an easy and effective way to get rid of your garbage in a pinch.[6]
    • The cost of these junk removal services varies—some companies might charge $60 to $150 for a single item, while others might charge $1.25 to $2 per cubic foot of truck space.[7]
    • You might be able to get a refund if you missed trash day and paid for a private collection service—call your waste management department ahead of time to see if this might be possible for you.
  6. If you live in an area where there are public trash cans along the street, you might be able to dispose of your trash in those. Most public trash bins get emptied on a regular basis, so you can stuff a few items or small trash bags inside if they need to be taken out immediately.[8]
    • Check your city or town’s local rules to make sure that you can throw away your household trash in these public bins. Some cities may fine you or charge you with illegal dumping.[9]
    • Don't place your trash beside the public trash bins or overfill them. Your trash might spill out and cause littering along the streets, which can bother others living there.
  7. If you don’t already have a recycling service, sort your trash and bring any recyclable items to your local recycling center or set them out for recycling pickup. This can not only help reduce some of the garbage until the next pickup day, but it can also help reduce excess waste and save non-renewable resources.[10] You can recycle:[11]
    • Paper: newspapers, magazines, paperboard cereal boxes, and office paper
    • Cardboard: moving boxes, cereal boxes, and other dry cardboard containers—flatten cardboard boxes so that they take up less room
    • Plastic containers, bottles, jugs, and tubs: liquid soap containers, cat litter boxes, and soda bottles—make sure food containers like milk jugs and yogurt and sauce tubs are clean and dry
    • Metal cans and scrap metal: aluminum cans, steel cans, and clean aluminum foil trays
    • Glass bottles and jars: juice or milk bottles, jam jars, baby food jars, and cosmetic containers—avoid recycling drinking glasses, flower vases, mirrors, or window glass
  8. If you don’t have a ton of trash to dispose of, keep your trash in a secure container or bag and keep it in your garage or inside until the next trash pickup day. Just make sure you keep your bin away from the curb until then—some cities may fine you if you keep your garbage bins out after collection day.[12]
    • If your next trash pickup day is more than a week, consider doing one of the other options to avoid drawing insects and other household pests to your home or garage.
    • Try not to let your garbage container overflow—objects sticking out from the bins might harm the drivers or prevent them from collecting your garbage properly.[13]
    • You can also stick any food waste in containers and freeze them to prevent them from going bad or smelling.
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Section 2 of 3:

Avoiding Missing Trash Day Again

  1. To find your trash pickup day and time in your area, go to your city or town’s website and look for their trash pickup schedule.[14] Or, call or email your town or city, or contact your local collection company to see if they have a schedule available.
  2. If you’re having trouble remembering to take your trash out the morning of collection day, set a reminder on your phone or set an alarm to let you know when it’s time to roll your bin to the curb.
    • You might also be able to set up automatic reminders with your local waste management service if they have them available.[15]
  3. On a whiteboard or calendar in your home, note when trash day is so everyone in your household knows when to put the bin out for collection. Try to make collection day a part of your routine, like pushing the bin out to the corner every Tuesday morning before work.
  4. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember to take out the trash when you can’t see it piling up. Try to place your trash bins where you can frequently see them, like by the side of the garage where you can see them every morning when you pull out for work.
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Section 3 of 3:

Disposing of Trash Properly

  1. Most trash collectors can’t take items like rocks, large tree branches, and hazardous materials.[16] If you have hazardous waste to dispose of, use this EPA tool to find your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency to see what hazardous waste collection facilities or events are near you.[17] Hazardous waste can include:[18]
    • Paints, including spray paints and solvents.
    • Compressed gas tanks like propane and oxygen.
    • Automotive fluids like motor oil.
    • Fluorescent light bulbs.
    • Batteries.
    • Pesticides, bug sprays, and other insect pest control products.
    • Household cleaners like glass cleaners, pool chemicals, toilet cleaners, dish soaps, dishwashing machine pods or gels, and multipurpose household cleaners.
  2. To keep your sanitation workers safe, use “heavy-duty” garbage bags, double-bag any loose animal waste and cat litter, wrap broken glass in newspaper and place it in a box labeled “broken glass,” and place needles and syringes in a hard metal or plastic container with a tight lid.[19]
    • Put dusty materials like sawdust or vacuum cleaner dust and Styrofoam packing peanuts into garbage bags to make sure none of it escapes during the garbage collection process.
  3. To prevent animals and other pests from invading your garbage cans, put your household trash in your outside bin every couple of days.[20] Try to avoid putting your outdoor garbage bin at the corner the night before to prevent animals from digging through your garbage.
    • To prevent pests from invading your outdoor garbage cans, rinse them out once a month.
    • Keep your outdoor garbage cans away from your home to limit indoor insect infestations.
  4. Most trash companies or waste management departments can repair your bin if it’s broken or damaged.[21] If your garbage container is damaged beyond repair, you might be able to have it replaced for free or for a small fee.[22] Contact your trash collection service and ask if they have these services available.
    • If your garbage can is stolen or vandalized, some trash collection services will replace it for free.[23]
  5. Different areas have different rules and regulations on how to dispose of trash safely. If you’re not sure whether they can take something, check your city, town, or county’s website or contact your local waste management department to see what they can and can’t take on collection day.
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About This Article

Cheyenne Main
Co-authored by:
wikiHow Staff Writer
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Cheyenne Main. Cheyenne Main is an Editing Fellow at wikiHow, currently living in Kansas City. She has over four years of editorial experience, with work published in a variety of literary magazines. In 2023, she graduated from Cottey College with a BA in English and History. Now, Cheyenne loves learning new topics and helping to create well-researched, accessible resources for readers. This article has been viewed 5,169 times.
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Co-authors: 4
Updated: October 20, 2023
Views: 5,169