Garbage & Yard Waste

proper setout examples

Garbage & Yard Waste Guidelines

The City of Cincinnati Department of Public Services (DPS) provides weekly garbage collection and scheduled bulk items collection for residential buildings that meet the definition of "dwelling," as adopted by Ord. No. 41-2013.

From spring to fall, DPS also provides a bi-weekly yard waste service concurrent with the recycling service. The Office of Environmental Quality provides bi-weekly recycling collection for The City of Cincinnati. Each resident is assigned a collection day (Monday to Thursday) and a recycling-yard waste week.

  1. Who Receives City Garbage & Yard Waste Collection?
  2. What to Place Garbage In
  3. City-Approved Cart
  4. Cart Exemption
  5. Set-Out Time
  6. Holiday Collection
  7. Bulk Item Collection
  8. Examples of materials that can be placed in the cart
  9. Examples of materials that can be set out next to the cart
  10. Items not accepted
  11. Tires
  12. Yard Waste
  13. Street (Corner) Cans
  14. Citations & Fines


The City of Cincinnati Department of Public Services (DPS) provides weekly garbage, bi-weekly yard waste and scheduled bulk items collection for buildings that meet the following definition of "dwelling," as adopted by Ord. No. 41-2013:

"Dwelling" as used in Chapter 729 shall mean a building that contains no more than four "dwelling units" and shall include an attached single-family dwelling. "Dwelling" does not include any of the following: (i) a building that contains any combination of business and residential uses other than a business use that is a home occupation as defined in CMC* Section 1401-01-H3 and that meets the requirements of CMC Section 1419-17; (ii) any building owned by a political subdivision of the State of Ohio or a federal or state agency, regardless of the number of dwelling units contained in the building; or (iii) buildings within a residential complex as defined in CMC Section 729 1-R1.

"Dwelling unit" means one or more rooms with a single kitchen designed for occupancy by one family for living and sleeping purposes. (CMC Section 1401-01-D15). "Attached single-family dwelling" means a dwelling unit that is attached to one or more dwelling units, each with independent exterior access and each with no less than two exterior walls. Attached single-family dwellings include cluster housing. (CMC Section 1401-01-A12).

All other dwelling units are considered commercial entities. All commercial entities are required to enter into a contract with a City of Cincinnati registered waste hauler for the disposal of their waste. Proof of such contract (also known as "certificate of commercial waste collection contract") need to be provided upon request by the Director of the Department of Public Services or his designee.

Garbage must be placed in a City-issued or "City-approved" cart. A "City-approved" cart is one that is compatible with DPS lifting equipment and registered with the City. These carts must have a lift pocket and a steel lower lift bar for fully automated and semi-automated collection systems. Garbage in carts is not to exceed 75 lbs. DPS is not responsible for damages to cart due to normal collection operation. The City of Cincinnati will not collect garbage in a cart that is not compatible with the City's lifting equipment and not registered with the City of Cincinnati.

If residents need additional carts in addition to or to replace a City-issued cart, they will have to purchase additional carts compatible with DPS lifting equipment. These carts must have a lift pocket and a steel lower lift bar for fully automated and semi-automated collection systems. Each cart will need to be registered with DPS, by calling 513-591-6000 or filling the new cart form at (click on Cart Registration.) The City of Cincinnati will not collect garbage in a cart that is not compatible with the City’s lifting equipment and not registered with the City of Cincinnati.

After registration, DPS will send the resident a City sticker to be placed on the cart for collection. The sticker identifies the cart to DPS crew as a cart eligible for residential collection. Stolen carts, broken carts, missing carts and carts for new residents are all the responsibility of the home owner/landlord to purchase.

Exemption from using Carts can be granted for a variety of reasons, including disability, topography (access through long stairs), or lack of storage space for the cart. To request an application for a "Cart Exemption," please call 591-6000 or go online to (click on Cart Exemption). Residents with cart exemptions are asked to set out their garbage the day of collection by 6 a.m.. An exemption allows residents to use up to 8 plastic bags. Plastic bags have to be heavy-duty (3 mil.) and weigh less than 25 pounds when full. Cardboard or paper containers, light-duty plastic bags, and grocery bags are not proper containers.

Garbage carts, yard waste containers, scheduled bulk items and recycling carts should be placed at the curb no later than 6 a.m. on collection day but no earlier than 6 p.m. the previous day. Please avoid placing the carts around any obstructions, mailboxes, low-hanging wires etc., and avoid parking in front of cart on collection day. Residents with cart exemptions (see above) are required to set out their garbage the day of collection by 6 a.m. Residents are responsible for potential mess caused by wildlife and vandalism when garbage is set out improperly, or when setting out garbage under the cart exemption clause.

Garbage carts must be removed from the curb within 24 hours of collection.

During a holiday week, all garbage days scheduled before the holiday will be collected on the regular scheduled day. The day of the holiday and every day after will be collected the following day. See list of City Holidays affecting garbage collection.

Up to 5 bulky items can to be scheduled for collection by phone only with Customer Service at 513-591-6000. Only locations eligible for garbage collection from the City (i.e. NON-commercial entities) are entitled to use the bulk items program. No online requests are accepted due to a limited number of items that can be collected daily from residences that are eligible for City collection. Any buildings that are not eligible for City collection are considered commercial and will need to contact a City of Cincinnati registered waste hauler. Bulk items will be collected on the scheduled day which will be the regular collection day for the location or on Fridays. If too many locations are scheduled a given week, DPS may need to collect the items on Saturdays.

Items must be placed by the curb in a place accessible for automated collection (no obstructions, low-hanging wires or branches, parked cars etc.) When possible, the items should be placed on the driveway apron for ease of collection. Items should not have garbage or others items stacked or leaning on them. No more than 5 bulk items can be collected per scheduled collection; if more than 5 items are set out, the property owner will be cited for illegal set-out. If bulk items are set out more than 24 hours prior to the scheduled collection time, the property owner will be cited as well for illegal set-out, regardless of the amount of items.

TOILETS: If bulk item is a toilet, the tank must be separated from the bowl

  • Household garbage
  • Sawdust (only if placed in a sealed bag)
  • Hypodermic needles and sharps (only if placed in a rigid container with lid before it is placed in the cart and marked "sharps")
  • Paint cans that have the lid removed and the paint dried out.
  • Carpet can be placed in the cart if it fits inside the cart with the lid closed
  • Up to 3 items that do not fit in the cart that are less than 40 lbs. and no larger than 3' x 2' x 2' can be placed next to the garbage carts for collection by the crews. If the item exceeds these dimensions. it must be schedule for bulky collection. See below for items that can be placed outside the cart
  • Plastic furniture
  • Plastic children's toys (play houses, sandboxes, wading pools etc.)
  • Coffee tables, kitchen chairs and small wooden furniture
  • Fish tanks, small televisions (under 25"), microwaves, small appliances
  • Carpet must be cut down to 3' lengths and rolled and tied into a max diameter of 24". Rolls can be placed inside or next to the garbage cart. A maximum of 10 rolls per week will be collected. All tack board and pieces of carpet or padding that have nails or staples protruding must be placed in the cart.

NON-hazardous (for these items, contact City of Cincinnati registered waste hauler):

  • Car parts
  • Construction debris
  • Automotive, truck, car, motorcycle or lawn mower parts
  • Pianos
  • Wall/Kitchen cabinets
  • Concrete items
  • Windows and siding
  • Construction debris which includes nominal lumber (1x2s, 2x4s, 2x6s, 4x4 etc)

Hazardous (for these items, contact Hamilton County Solid Waste):

  • Car batteries
  • Liquid paint
  • Acids
  • Motor oil
  • Household chemicals
  • Hazardous or infections waste
  • Propane or other pressurized gas tanks

Tires at residential locations are collected by a separate truck and need to be scheduled by calling Customer Service at 513-591-6000. Up to 4 tires can be collected upon request. Commercial automotive garages and tire shops are required to register with the City and provide proof of proper disposal of used tires to the Director of the DPS upon request.

Yard waste is collected bi-weekly on the same Green and Gold weeks as recycling. Yard waste should be placed in clearly marked cans with handles; paper bags designed for yard waste; or, bundled with heavy twine or cotton rope. Yard waste containers and bags exceeding 25 lbs. in weight will not be collected. Yard waste placed in City garbage carts, recycle bins or plastic bags will not be collected.

Loose yard waste such as grass or leaves should be in containers that have lids or in bags that are closed to prevent blowing. Sticks and branches may be tied into bundles of no than 3' lengths and 2' in diameter. No tape, plastic rope or metal wire may be used to bundle. Branches with stickers, spines or other hazards must be placed in bags or cans to avoid injuring collections personnel. Branches must be no thicker than 6" in diameter.

Separated yard waste collection ends Jan. 9, 2015.

Yard waste not accepted:

  • Yard waste mixed with garbage or in plastic bags
  • Logs or stumps thicker than 6" in diameter
  • Dirt, rocks, sand or concrete
  • Treated or processed wood of any kind
  • Animal feces

The City of Cincinnati provides Street Cans (also known as Corner Cans) in some areas with high pedestrian traffic. These cans are for pedestrian garbage only, defined as garbage generated while walking. Disposing household or business garbage in these cans is strictly prohibited and could result in fines.

Citations and fines will be issued to residents and businesses violating the garbage guidelines as described below:

Violation CMC Section Proposed First Offense Proposed Second/Subsequent Offenses Criminal Abatement Costs
Using improper waste container 729-5(a) $100 $500    
Early or late set-out of garbage for collection 729-7 $50 $100    
Dumping 729-30 $2,000   M1- $1k fine and up to 180 days in jail Collection from violator authorized
Improper use of corner cans 729-37 $50 $100 second offense $200 subsequent offenses    
Failure to obtain certificate of commercial waste collection contract 729-60 $100 $200    
Improper set-out of personal property 729-71 3 or fewer items/ garbage truck: $100 4 or more/garbage truck: $500 1 item/special equipment: $200 2 or more items/special equipment: $1,000     Lien or standard collection fee
Improper set-out of yard waste 729-89 $50 $100    
Setting out "unacceptable waste" for collection 729-89(c) $50 2nd offense: $100 Subsequent offenses: $200    
Setting out construction debris 729(d) $200 2nd offense: $500 Subsequent offenses: $2,000    
Failure to register and report disposal of tires 729-94     M1- $1k fine and up to 6 months in jail