Solid Waste Management Department

Curbside Garbage Information

SWMD Garbage Collection

The City of Houston provides residents with city services with a 96-gallon automated garbage cart. The SWMD provides weekly garbage and yard waste collection service to about 390,000 residential units and small commercial establishments.

Automated trash collection is cleaner, safer and more efficient than traditional manual collection. In the past, the department has incurred as much as $4 million in workers' compensation costs each year using manual garbage collection. The automated system has reduced injuries, especially back-related injuries, which are common in garbage collection.

The containers used for automated garbage collection are manufactured using 50% recycled materials.


  • City-provided containers must be placed at the curb between 6 p.m. the day before and 7 a.m. on the scheduled collection day.
  • Place the container on the curb facing the street with the handle facing the house.
  • Containers must be accessible and not blocked by obstacles, including parked cars, trees, mailboxes, fencing, etc. Blocked containers will not be emptied.
  • Leave at least a three (3) feet space between garbage and recycling containers to allow the truck to safely operate.
  • Remove containers from the curb line and/ or public view by 10:00 p.m. on the day of collection and stored in a secure location.

Do NOT put the following in your BLACK GARBAGE container: Household chemicals, computer equipment, yard trimmings, hot ash/coal, dead animals and construction/ demolition remodeling debris.

*Chemicals and hot ashes cause truck fires.

Yard Trimmings Recycling

Houston residents receive once a week yard waste collection of grass, leaves and small branches as part of their solid waste services package. Yard waste collection happens on the same day as garbage collection. Per City ordinance yard waste must be placed in a City Approved compostable bag for collection. The City currently has two approved bags: Biobag USA City of Houston Lawn & Leaf Bags; and Waste Zero City of Houston Approved 100% Compostable Lawn & Leaf Bags. Look for these two bags for sale at your local grocery or hardware store retailer.

The yard trimmings collection service is offered to all citizens who receive the automated garbage collection service. Yard trimmings make up approximately 30% of the total residential waste stream in Houston. Recycling yard trimmings saves the city in landfill costs and extends the life of landfills.

Grass clippings, small branches, and leaves must not be placed in the automated garbage cans. They must be put in city-approved compostable bags, not weighing more than 50 pounds, and placed at the curb 3 feet away from the automated container for separate yard trimming collection.

Small branches may be put in bundles as long as each bundle is less than 4 feet in length, 18 inches in diameter, and not weighing more than 50 pounds.

Yard trimmings mixed with paper, plastic or any other type of waste will not be collected.

Extra Capacity Garbage Collection

Do you often have more trash than one garbage container can hold? Do you need to have an extra garbage bag that needs to be collected? The SWMD offers options to meet your extra garbage collection needs. Learn More >>

What Goes Where?

Enter the item you wish to dispose of into the web tool to find the proper disposal methods and locations, including recycling options and drop-off centers.