ISSUE: Waste collection guidelines

FACT: ​If you put your garbage out for pickup, but the truck left it, it might not be because they missed your house but because your trash wasn't properly bundled for collection. Not sure what that means? Please, read on.
Waste Management's team of 100 employees in 60 trucks collect trash from 120,000 households every week. That adds up to a million miles driven, more than six million collections and more than 200,000 tons of waste collected. 

It’s a finely tuned operation that is dependent on a number of factors, chief among them is whether or not customers follow the waste collection guidelines. Here's what you need to know:

Curbside Garbage Collection 

lady holding trash bagsDon't overload it:

Since 1986, Virginia Beach has used an automatic collection system - the truck pulls up to the curb, a mechanical arm picks up the can and dumps it. This system is 10 times more efficient that the old method and much safer for the operators.​

But, when something goes awry, it slows the process down and a minute here and there really add up. Most delays can be avoided however. Number one on the list: An overloaded bin. When a container is so full that the lid can’t close, the bin starts to dump before it hits the truck, making a huge mess. Unfortunately, truck drivers aren’t equipped to clean it up and the result is a bunch of trash in the street.  

No loose trash in the bin:
If there’s loose trash in the containers, especially light-weight material, it flies away and into the neighborhood as soon as that lid pops open. So, it's important that all waste is bagged.

Yard Waste

Don't mix yard waste with your regular garbage:

A separate crew comes around to collect bagged leaves and grass as well as small loose limbs. Dirt, wet leaves and grass are heavy and the City is charged by the ton at the collection center. Including yard waste not only drives up costs, but can also damage the truck’s equipment. We also recycle it for re-use by our city’s Landscape Services division. 

Cutting down large trees: 

Call 385-4650 and for a small fee, we’ll bring you a roll-off container. Just fill it, according to the guidelines, and we’ll take it away. 


The City's recycling contractor can’t process certain items, like plastic grocery bags, waxed cardboard and styrofoam. For a complete list of what can and can’t be recycled and our trash collection guidelines, please visit​

To report service problems, please call 385-4650 on your collection day or by noon the following business day.

Waste Collection Guidelines

Contact Information