News Flash

Refuse and Recycling

Posted on: June 12, 2019

What is Bulk Waste?

bulk waste bad idea

Mattresses, sofas, shelves and exercise equipment (the things that don't fit in the trash container) … people go through a lot of them! It’s what we call “bulk waste.” But why can’t you just set it all out with the trash on trash day?

While everything seems the same at first glance, several factors need to be taken into consideration when scheduling collection of bulk waste including size, weight and type material that you want to dispose of.

The first thing to take into consideration is that all trash trucks have a standard width and height off the ground. Items placed into the truck need to fit into the "hopper" so they can be compacted. All items must be light enough to lift straight up approximately four feet straight up to make it over the lip of the truck and into the hopper.

  • All standard furniture including sofas, dressers, etc. are collected as standard bulk waste and usually go into the trash truck for disposal at the landfill.
  • The City is charged $35 for every single mattress that is collected for disposal. Many retailers offer a mattress collection service. If you are ordering a mattress, you can keep disposal costs down and recycle your old mattress by using their service.
  • Refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers and humidifiers all contain Freon, which is a household hazardous waste. These items require special collection and disposal and cannot be sent to landfill. They are collected with a separate truck and sent to another location for recycling.
  • All types of electronic waste present a challenge for recyclers, but televisions and monitors are particularly difficult to deal with. Older models contain a cathode ray tube (CRT), which is the large triangular glass contraption that makes up the bulk of the monitor. The glass in a CRT can contain up to 8 pounds of a lead, layers of other dangerous heavy metals. Safe collection and disposal are required by law.
  • Certain outdoor items made of metal like standard grills are light and small enough to fit into the hopper and can be easily compacted. Heavier metal items like cast iron stoves, swing sets, basketball hoops, awnings and flag poles that cannot be lifted four feet up to make it over the lip of the truck and cannot be compacted cannot be taken to the landfill by our contractor.
  • Items with hazardous residue including paint, weed killer, propane and gasoline can be dangerous to collect at curbside. Once the item is deposited on the trash truck the heat and pressure of compacting can cause an explosion
  • Large quantities of construction debris including decking, tiles, lumber, insulation, shingles and wood panels are not collectable at curbside.

Residents can schedule collection of 3 items of bulk waste every week, all year long. But having this additional service does require a bit of organization … and when it comes to trash collection … timing is very important. Call (703) 257-8252 to schedule your bulk waste collection at least 24 hours before your collection day. By scheduling bulk waste collection residents can make sure that what they are setting out can be collected by the City and that their bulk waste is collected quickly – keeping our streets clean and safe.

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