Trash collection for the City of Columbus is managed by the Department of Public Service, Division of Refuse Collection. The City collects trash from more than 320,000 households using trucks with mechanical arms to pickup and empty collection containers. This makes trash collection safer for collectors, faster for residents and more cost effective for the City.
The mission of the Division of Refuse Collection is to deliver in a timely manner a comprehensive, cost-effective, environmentally sound, and technically reliable residential solid-waste collection, disposal and reduction system for residents of the City of Columbus.
Refuse Collection Vision:
- To become a leader in municipal solid-waste management by exploring and utilizing new collection methods and technologies for greater cost effectiveness and operating efficiencies without sacrificing service to the public.
- To accomplish our mission statement through commitment and teamwork.
- To appreciate, understand and respect the needs of our customers.
- To foster and respect individual differences as to one's opinions, beliefs, values, and life goals.
- To advocate open, honest and productive communications throughout the Division and community.
The Division of Refuse Collection has served Columbus for more than 100 years. Visit the Refuse Collection History Page to learn more about our Division's interesting past.
The city of Columbus Division of Refuse Collection picks up trash from 330,737 households (as of January 1, 2013) every week
- 96 gallon households: 180,866
- 300 gallon households: 44,722
- Multi-family households: 105,149 (Multi-family households include 94,274 dumpsters and 10,875 compactors)
- Total number of households serviced by the Division of Refuse Collection: 330,737 (as of January 1, 2013)
- In 2012, the city of Columbus began to implement a citywide residential recycling program. The five implementation phases were completed on February 1, 2013.
- Each household that is eligible for the citywide recycling program is given one blue 64-gallon recycling cart free of charge
- Residents who want to obtain a second blue 64-gallon recycling cart may purchase a second cart by contacting the City’s Customer Service Center at 645-3111 or online at www.311.columbus.gov
- As of February 1, 2013, a total of 187,042 blue 64-gallon recycling carts have been distributed to Columbus households
What Should Not Go In With Regular Trash?
What cannot be thrown in regular trash?
- Yard waste
- Furniture or pieces of furniture
- Construction materials
- Household Hazardous Waste (See Household Hazardous Waste section below for list of materials)
- Tires, car batteries and other automobile parts
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
- Non refrigerated appliances
- Refrigerated appliances (refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, heat pumps, water coolers and air conditioners)
- Dead animals
- Bowling balls
- Cooking oils and grease
- Residents can contact the City’s 311 Customer Service Center at 311 or 645-3111 to find out their bi-weekly yard waste collection day or visit www.311.columbus.gov
- Bi-weekly yard waste service is provided to approximately 227,000 single-family homes
- Yard waste should never be mixed with regular trash
Yard waste includes organic waste generated during regular household gardening and landscaping activities, including:
- Grass clippings
- To prepare yard waste for pick-up:
- Place yard waste in biodegradable (paper) bags or rigid containers marked "Yard Waste"
- Cut branches to less than four feet in length
- Tie the branches into bundles with string or twine
- Each bundle should not be wider than two feet
- Residents should contact the City’s 311 Customer Service Center to schedule bulk items by calling 311 or 645-3111, or online at www.311.columbus.gov
Bulk items include, but are not limited to:
- Non refrigerated appliances
Household Hazardous Waste
- Never put Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) in with your regular trash
- Dispose of HHW at Household Hazardous Waste weekend drop-off events held in the area
- The City of Columbus, in cooperation with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), holds at least one of these events annually. For more information on these events, call (614) 871-5100 or visit www.swaco.org
- You can also drop off HHW, free-of-charge, at the Hazardous Waste drop-off location at 1249 Essex Avenue, Columbus, at the corner of E. 8th and Essex Avenues
Household Hazardous Waste includes, but is not limited to:
- Car Batteries
- Gas cylinders
- Insect killers
- Lighter Fluid
- Motor Oil
- Paint Thinner
- Pool Chemicals
- Rat Poison
- Strong Chemicals
- Weed Killers
Dead Animal Collection
- The Division of Refuse Collection collects dead animals in the public right-of-way
- One person, using a specialized pick-up truck, provides this service
- For collection of a dead animal on a city of Columbus street or sidewalk, call 645-5966
- Dead animals cannot be collected from within your house, basement or garage, or anywhere on your property
- Please contact a private company animal control company for animal removal from private property
- Veterinarians and some local funeral homes will accept dead animals
- You may arrange to drop-off a dead animal by calling the Capital Area humane Society (614) 777-7387, extension 208
- For the collection of dead animals on county roads or highways, contact the Franklin County Department of Highway Maintenance at (614) 462-3072
Proper disposal of trash and use of Refuse containers
- City Code requires regular trash to be placed in a bag before it is placed in a Refuse Collection container
- Please use plastic garbage bags for regular trash
- City Code Section 1307.01. item B (“Acceptable Waste Collection Procedures”) states:
“Use of Plastic Bags Alone is prohibited. Acceptable waste generated at residential units placed into plastic bags alone shall not be considered contained as required in this title. To be in compliance with this title, all acceptable waste generated at residential units, other than bulk and white goods, must be placed into plastic or paper bags and then disposed of in the appropriate container for the applicable collection method. Yard waste shall be placed into a lawn or leaf bag or plastic or galvanized metal containers that are no more than thirty-two (32) gallons in size and not more than fifty (50) total pounds weight with a tight fitting lid and handles.”
- Trash on the ground around a Refuse container to be picked up by the property owner and/or the occupants of the property
- City Code Section 1303.021, item F (“Duties of the public—Storage and disposal of waste”) states:
"Duty to Keep Collection Area Free of Debris and Spillage. It shall be the duty of the property owner and/or occupant(s) to keep the designated point of collection and the surrounding area free from debris, spillage, and other overflow pursuant to Sections 705.03 and 707.03 of the Columbus City Codes."
- On their designated recycling collection day, residents should place their filled 64-gallon blue recycling cart where their trash is collected, either at the curb or in the alley. Please make sure the recycling container is placed at least 3 feet from trash containers.
- Recycling is collected bi-weekly, alternating weeks with yard waste collection. Residents must use a separate rigid container or biodegradable bag, not in the blue cart, to dispose of yard waste.
- City of Columbus residents living in a single family home or in a building with four attached units or less that is not part of a complex are eligible for the residential recycling program. The service is provided at no additional cost to residents.
For apartment and condo complexes that do not receive the 64-gallon blue recycling carts:
- Locations where residents can drop off their recyclables for free are in place
- After the start of the new recycling collection services, the City will continue to review options for possibly including apartment and condo complexes that initially will not receive 64-gallon blue recycling carts
Benefits of recycling include:
- Preserves the environment, making Columbus cleaner and greener
- Saves millions of dollars in fees paid to dump at the landfill
- Reduces the trash buried in the landfill
- Creates and saves jobs
City of Columbus Refuse Collection Exemption Service
- The Exemption Program: For residents who are handicapped or physically unable to put their Refuse out at the point of collection on their collection day
- Residents who qualify for the exemption service can apply by contacting the City’s 311 Customer Service Center at 311 or 645-3111 or online at www.311.columbus.gov
- Residents who apply for the Exemption Program will be sent a questionnaire and a doctor's statement to fill out and return to the Division of Refuse Collection
Public Litter Receptacles
- There are approximately 645 wrought iron litter receptacles placed in the downtown business district and along neighborhood commercial revitalization (NCR) strips throughout the city that are serviced on a regular basis
- The Division of Refuse Collection has one Solid Waste Inspector who addresses illegal dumping in the City of Columbus
- This inspector also supervises litter cleanups conducted by Community Service Workers
- Residents can help stop illegal dumpers by calling the Environmental Crimes Task Force (formerly Nail-A-Dumper hotline) at (614) 871-5322
- When you call the hotline you will be asked several important questions that will help us :
- Address of where the dumping took place
- Township or municipality where the dumping occurred
- A description of the dumper, including gender, race, age and approximate height and weight
- License plate number and description of the vehicle
- A description of what type of material has been dumped
City of Columbus Division of Refuse Collection Stats
Tons of trash the city of Columbus disposed of at the Franklin County Landfill
- 2012: 293,433 tons
- 2011: 314,110 tons
- 2010: 307,661 tons
- 2009: 310,668 tons
- 2008: 328,339 tons
- 2007: 327,500 tons
- 2006: 338,749 tons
Tons of yard waste collected and diverted from the Franklin County Landfill
- 2012: 31,719 tons
- 2011: 32,622 tons
- 2010: 32,402 tons
- 2009: 32,585 tons
- 2008: 42,183 tons
- 2007: 34,259 tons
- 2006: 33,070 tons
Tons of materials recycled in the city of Columbus and diverted from the Franklin County Landfill
- 2012: 27,572 tons
- 2011: 20,175 tons
- 2010: 19,614 tons
- 2009: 20,600 tons
- 2008: 19,332 tons
- 2007: 17,475 tons
- 2006: 15,031 tons
Division Administration Office: 2100 Alum Creek Drive Columbus, OH 43207
Questions about Refuse Collection or other City Services? Call (614) 645-3111
Refuse Collection Administration Fax: (614) 645-7296