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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: trashcans

metal trash can imageTim Dunn
Solid Waste Superintendent, Bureau of Solid Waste Management


We all have busy lives. We devote our precious time to work, kids, community service, hobbies, and any number of other daily activities. For many of us, the last thing we want to think about is trash! In fact, for most of us, all we really want is to place our trash out for collection at the curb or alley and have it disappear.

Unfortunately, there may come a time when the trash doesn’t disappear. In most cases, there is a perfectly logical reason why trash collection does not occur. Following are some of the most common causes of missed trash collection.

Oversize/Overweight Trashcans

Baltimore County regulations require that trashcans are limited to a maximum capacity of 34 gallons and a maximum filled weight of 40 pounds. These regulations are in place to protect the hard-working men and women on the back of the collection trucks. It is not uncommon for a single truck to collect trash from more than 1,500 homes in a day, with many homes placing two or three trashcans out for collection. It’s not hard to imagine the risk of repetitive motion injuries that could result from lifting oversize or overweight cans. Also, the County does not recommend using trashcans with hinged lids or wheels due to difficulty in handling by the collectors and the wheels/lids being prone to breakage.

Late Set-Out

Baltimore County regulations state that trash should be set out after 6:00 p.m. the night before a scheduled collection. Although some collectors arrive at a certain time each week, there are any number of factors (e.g., weather, traffic, holidays) that could cause them to arrive earlier or later than “normal.” It’s never a good idea to “set your clock” by the collector and the best way to ensure collection is to have your trash out the night before.

Unacceptable Materials

Although the collectors make every effort to collect the household trash people set out, there are items that should not be set out at the curb or alley. Bulk items (e.g., mattresses, furniture, appliances, building materials) are too large to be collected. Dangerous items (e.g., chemicals, paint, explosives) can create hazardous conditions for the workers and should never be placed out for collection. Additionally, it is illegal in Baltimore County to dispose of most household electronics (e.g., TVs, computer equipment, VCRs) as trash. For more information on how to properly dispose of all of the aforementioned materials, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste.

Blocked Alleys

Baltimore County Code requires that vehicles parked in alleys must allow at least 12 feet clearance. You can report parked vehicles that prevent access to an alley by trash collection and/or emergency vehicles using the Baltimore County Police Department’s non-emergency line, 410-887-2222.

It’s important to remember the hard-working crews that collect trash from the nearly 330,000 homes in Baltimore County each week. If you get a chance, I hope you join me in thanking these folks for a job well done. Or, better yet, thank them on collection day by following the rules and regulations detailed here and you’ll also be helping ensure that your trash disappears on collection day!


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