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City of Rochester

Refuse Rules and Enforcement (FAQ)

Question/Issue  Answer 
What container do I use for refuse?  The City of Rochester provides residential refuse customers with wheeled refuse containers called toters. Residents are encouraged to use the City-issued container for household refuse, yard waste, and other refuse. The wheeled container must not be overfilled; the top should close securely.
Where should my container be stored?  At the side or rear of a property in a manner that does not create a health hazard or nuisance.
What if my toter is full?  Once the container is filled, extra refuse may be placed at the curb in alternative refuse cans and sturdy plastic bags. The maximum weight limit per alternate container is 60 pounds. The wheeled container is owned by the City, and is to be used solely for the purposes of storage and collection of refuse.
Can I use an alternate container?  Disposable plastic bags which are waterproof, strong and securely tied may be used in addition to the City-issued container for large amounts of residential refuse. However, glass and other objects in refuse that are sharp or that could cause injury shall not be placed in plastic bags and shall be placed in either metal or plastic containers for collection. The total weight of objects placed in plastic bags shall not exceed 30 pounds.
How can I request a new toter?  If it is stolen or broken, the City will fix or replace it. Request it online or call 311 (outside city limits, call 585-428-5990).
When does my toter need to be at the curb?  The refuse container is to be placed at the curb, along with bulk items and recyclable materials, by 6:30 a.m. on the regular refuse collection day. Refuse containers should never be placed out sooner than the night before collection.
When does my toter need to be removed after collection?  All containers must be removed from the area between the sidewalk and curb within 24 hours after collection and returned to their storage area at the rear or side yard of the premises.
Can my neighbor have loose garbage on the lawn?  No, section 305 of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State states that all exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.
What do I do about bulk refuse?  Bulk refuse such as household furniture, bedding and mattresses, large appliances, tree trimmings, and hedge trimmings, may be placed between the sidewalk and curb on collection day. Doors must be removed from refrigerators and other appliances with latches. Loose wood, trees, bushes, and hedges must be tied in bundles. The bundles may not be longer that 4 feet in length, larger than 18 inches in diameter, or weigh more than 60 pounds. All nails must be removed from discarded lumber or bent over and secured so the nail points are not exposed.
What do I do about building refuse?  Building refuse resulting from major repairs or remodeling by the owner of a property may be prepared and placed out for collection. The City will not collect waste generated by a contractor. Contractors must arrange for the proper and legal disposal of waste generated from construction.
How do I dispose of tires?  Only tires originating from a home may be placed out for pickup on the regular refuse collection day. The City segregates tires from the rest of waste stream and transports them separately to the transfer station. Tires originating from automotive related or other businesses are not serviced through residential refuse collection.
How do I dispose of latex paint?  To properly dispose of latex paint, remove and discard the paint can lid. Add clay-based cat litter or other absorbent material to the can and stir. Repeat until the liquid paint is absorbed. Allow the mixture to air dry until hard. Place out with regular refuse.
What do I do about illegal dumping?  Refuse must always be placed out for collection in front of the premises in which the refuse originated. The placement of refuse for collection in front of a premise other than the premise at which the refuse originated constitutes illegal dumping, and is prohibited. View more information on penalties and enforcement. 
Is scavenging allowed?  No individual may remove material that has been placed between the sidewalk and the curb for collection by an owner or occupant of a premise. Such removal constitutes scavenging, and is prohibited.
What kinds of waste are prohibited?  The City does not collect radioactive, volatile, highly flammable, explosive, biomedical, infectious, toxic, or hazardous material.

Additional Questions

To report suspected Refuse violations or to ask additional questions, please call 311 (or outside city limits please call (585) 428-5990) or contact your  Neighborhood Service Center .

Code Specifics

Find out more information on the specific parts of the City Code applicable to refuse.


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