Refuse Collection

The City of Alexandria collects trash from its residential customers once a week on a designated collection day, Monday through Thursday. Residential customers are charged a Solid Waste User Fee on the residential tax bill on a bi-yearly basis.

Page updated on Feb 4, 2021 at 4:24 PM

Refuse Collection main image

General Curbside Trash Collection

The City generally provides one 64-gallon trash can, free of charge, to households that receive City-provided trash collection (except in Old Town). Trash cans are City property and must remain at your residence if you move. Another City-issued trash may be purchased if needed, but remains the property of the City of Alexandria.

Collection in Old Town  

If you live in Old Town Alexandria or in a town home community with limited access, your location may prevent the use of the 64-gallon trash cans. Please use approved trash containers to store bagged trash outdoors.

Set Out Times  

Set out trash and recycling containers no earlier than 5 p.m. the day prior to collection, and no later than 6 a.m. on collection day:

  • Holiday "Slide": If a City-recognized holiday is observed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, trash, recycling, and yard waste collection 'slides' one day later that week (except for Thanksgiving when trash and recycling crews provide a Thursday collection on schedule). View the  Holiday Collection Calendar.  
  • Inclement Weather: If there is a delay for inclement weather, residents will be notified through the City Website and eNews.
  • From May 1 through September 30, all refuse and recycling materials should be placed for collection prior to 6 a.m. This time change allows collection crews to avoid the heat of spring and summer by starting pickup operations an hour earlier.  

Collection Day  

Please refer to the online map to determine your collection day.

Set Out Placement  

In most single family neighborhoods, City crews collect household trash, recycling, and yard waste at the curb. In most Old Town neighborhoods, collection takes place in alleys. If you are unsure where to place your trash, please call the Resource Recovery Division at 311 or 703.746.4311.

Backdoor Services (Walk-Out Services)

For elderly and physically-challenged residents, collection crews will remove trash and recycling from separate containers at the door. Yard waste collection is not offered. Residents can request this service by mailing a completed Walk-Out Service Request Form to:

Resource Recovery Division
RE: Walk-Out Service Request
2900-B Business Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22314
311 or 703.746.4311

How to Prepare Materials

General Items: Please consider donation before disposal, when possible

  • Always bag trash before placing it in the trash can.
  • For the safety of our crews, trash cans, bags and large items cannot weigh more than 75 pounds each* .
  • Set your trash can close to the curb but away from your recycling bin, tree limbs, parked cars, and mailboxes.
  • Please fill the trash can before placing extra bags alongside the container. Up to six (6) additional bags are allowed.

Special Items: Batteries, Brush, Bulky Items, Glass/Mirrors, Hazardous Waste, Helium Tanks, Knives, Metal Items, Needles/Syringes, Paint, Prescription Drugs, Propane Tanks, Rugs, Smoke Alarms, TV's/Computers, Welding and other pressurized tanks and Yard Waste.

Ineligible Items: Ammunition/Explosives, Construction/Building Materials, Radioactive/Biological Materials, Rocks/Dirt/Sand, Stumps, and Thermometers/Thermostats.  


Brush Items: Brush is collected separately from refuse.  See the Yard Waste page for preparation instructions.

Bulky Items: Such as couches, tables, furniture, etc. can be donated, or set out with your regular trash. *Please see weight limitations.  

Glass or Mirrors: Must be wrapped with several layers of newspaper or cardboard, taped at the edges and labeled as "Glass" and then placed in the refuse. Broken glass should be disposed of in a hard plastic container and then placed in the refuse.

Hazardous Waste: Residents are encouraged to bring their household hazardous waste to the City's household hazardous waste collection site.

Helium Tanks:  

Knives: Should be placed between two pieces of cardboard, taped together and then placed in the trash.

Metal Items: The City collects metal items by special request (these items are recycled as scrap metal). Call 311 or 703.746.4311. Acceptable items include metal fencing, grills, small appliances, exercise equipment, and lawn mowers (drain gasoline and oil). Residents are charged a $20 fee per item to collect the following (a bill will be sent to you in the mail):

  • Stoves
  • Refrigerators
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Hot water heaters
  • Freezers
  • Dish Washers

*Residents may bring recyclable metal items (except those that contain refrigerant) to Covanta free, once a week. Please see more information below.  

Needles/Syringes*: Should be disposed of in a hard plastic container, such as a detergent bottle, capped securely, and labeled as "Sharps, then placed in the refuse." Needles and Syringes should never go into the recycling bin.

*What about medical waste generated by medical care workers in your home? Medical waste produced by health care workers (physicians, nurses, home health aides, etc.) as a result of providing medical care in the home is not home generated medical waste. It is Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) and must be disposed of by a licensed RMW disposal company. The responsibility for the proper and safe disposal of regulated medical waste rests with the health care provider providing services in the home.

Paint: Paint must be dry in order to be eligible for trash collection (add kitty litter or sawdust to the paint to speed up the drying process). Paint in liquid form can either be saved for touch ups or brought to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Site .

Prescriptions Drugs: Never flush down a toilet or place in the sink! Return to the pharmacy or follow these instructions:

  1. Keep the medicines in their original container. This will help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
  2. Cross out your name and prescription number for safety.
  3. For pills: add some salt water to start dissolving them. For liquids: add something inedible like cat litter, dirt or ash.
  4. Seal the container and secure with duct or packing tape.
  5. Place the container in the trash as close to pickup time as possible. Do not place in the recycle bin.

Propane Tanks:  

  • Propane Tanks 20 gallons or more - Return to your supplier
  • Propane Tanks 5 gallon or less -  Dispose with regular trash; if full or partially full, then bring to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection site.
  • The City does not accept helium tanks in curbside or drop-off recycling or at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Site.  

Rugs: Must be no longer than 6 feet in length, rolled up and secured closed. Set out on regular trash collection day.

Smoke Alarms: May be thrown away in the trash if it contains alkaline batteries or sent back to manufacturer. Remove any lithium-ion or rechargeable batteries and safely dispose at City's Household Hazardous Waste Collection site.

Televisions/Computers: Unusable televisions and computers, as well as, other unusable electronics can be brought to the City's e lectronics recycling drop-off collection site or can be set out with your normal trash. *Please see weight limitations.

Welding Cylinders/Tanks: Welding cylinder tanks containing oxygen, acetylene or helium should be returned to the gas/welding supplier. The City does not accept these tanks for residential collection, the drop-off location is at the Household Hazardous Waste Site.  

Yard Waste:  

  • On-site composting -- Leaves and grass clippings can be grass-cycled or composted in your backyard.
  •  Yard waste such as grass, sticks, brush, dead plants, and leaves are collected separately from trash.  See the Yard Waste page for preparation instructions. 

Ineligible Materials: Where to Take Them

The following items are NOT ACCEPTABLE for curbside collection:

Ammunition/Explosives: Residents should call the Police Department's non-emergency number for disposal; 703-838-4444.

Construction/Building Materials: Includes Asphalt, Brick, Cement, Ceramic, Cinder Block, Concrete, Drywall, Marble, Porcelain, and Slate. To recycle the materials, use MWCOG Builder's Recycling Guide for local recycling facilities for a specific material. These materials can also be brought to local solid waste disposal facilities.

Radioactive/Biological Materials: Contact private disposal company, e.g.: Clean Harbors, 540-977-3181; Clean Venture, Inc., 757-543-0185 or Potomac Environmental, 804-288-5043.

Rocks, Dirt, & Sand: To recycle the materials, use MWCOG Builder's Recycling Guide for local recycling facilities for a specific material. These materials can also be brought to local solid waste disposal facilities.

Stumps: These materials can be brought to local solid waste disposal facilities (several are listed below).

Thermometers and Thermostats: Containing mercury, bring to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Site.

Local Solid Waste Disposal Facilities

Please call local disposal facilities to learn more about acceptable materials, how to prepare materials, and the cost of disposal.  

Covanta Scale House DirectionsCovanta Waste-to-Energy Facility*
5301 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA
Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Materials NOT accepted as Trash: Stumps, rocks, dirt, sand, pressurized cylinders/tanks, metal items*, construction and building debris, hazardous waste, ammunition/explosives, regulated medical waste and radioactive/geological materials.

Refrigerators and Dehumidifiers No Longer Accepted for Disposal at Covanta Waste to Energy Facility  

Appliances that contain a refrigerant are no longer accepted for disposal as scrap metal at the Covanta Waste to Energy facility, located on Eisenhower Ave. If you receive disposal services from the City, please call the Resource Recovery Division at 311 or 703.746.4311 to make an appointment for curbside collection pick up. Residents who do not receive City refuse collection services should visit for disposal instructions.  

*Alexandria residents can drop off small amounts of trash and debris, as well as, metal items for recycling once a week, (limit 500 pounds) free-of-charge at Covanta. Upon arrival, check in at the scale house for instructions. 

Other Local Solid Waste Disposal Facilities

Please call local disposal facilities to learn more about acceptable materials, how to prepare materials, and the cost of disposal.  

Alexandria Waste Recovery Facility
625 Burnside Place, Alexandria, VA

Potomac Landfill
3730 Greentree Lane, Dumfries, VA

Public Trash and Recycling Containers

The Resource Recovery Division is responsible for maintaining all City-owned trash and recycling containers located throughout the City for use by the general public. These containers are located along public thoroughfares and in parks for the convenience of residents and visitors.  It is against the law to dispose of household or business trash in these containers. The crews maintain approximately 800 public waste collection containers throughout the City.

Update:  Public trash cans located in City parks are being moved to park entrances and parking areas.

To improve aesthetics, safety, and efficiency, many trash and recycling cans have been relocated to park entrances and parking areas. This change echoes the National Park Service's philosophy that park visitors should "leave no trace; pack it in, then pack it out."   

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why move the trash cans to entrances and parking lots when park-users and their trash are located near playgrounds and ball fields? 

  • The City's trash collection vehicles pose a danger to park-users when these vehicles are driven on pedestrian sidewalks and trails. 

  • Collection vehicles damage lawns and turf when driven "off-road".

  • Remote trash cans located away from entrances and parking areas must often be serviced "on foot" and are hard to see from a distance which extends collection time even when many trash cans are empty. 

Will recycling containers be located near playgrounds and ball fields?

  In many locations, a recycling collection container will be paired with a trash can at park entrances and ball fields. 

Will the City be expanding recycling in parks?

Over the next six months, staff will be monitoring to determine additional opportunities to expand the recycling program throughout the City.

Especially on weekends, I have seen trash cans over-flowing; won't moving these cans just make things worse?

By moving trash cans to a location that is more accessible to collection vehicles, the City plans to increase the frequency of collection.

What if people just throw their trash on the ground? 

Research shows that few people litter and that most people are willing to take a few extra steps to keep our City clean and beautiful.  City staff will continue to pick up litter in the parks.

What if this change doesn't work?

City staff will be monitoring this change and will review the situation after six-months.  If changes are needed, they will be made at that time.  Your feedback is always welcome by calling us at 311 or 703.746.4311 or online at