9 Reasons Why Your Trash Wasn’t Picked Up and What to Do Next

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated October 27, 2021
A man taking out the trash
NickyLloyd/E+ via Getty Images

Garbage collection services have some pretty finicky rules for picking up your trash

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

So, it happened again. The garbage truck skipped your house. It’s rarely done maliciously, but there are several different reasons why the garbage collection team in your neighborhood could be leaving you high and dry. Let’s break them down and help you figure out what steps to take to get your home back on the schedule.

1. Your Bins Exceeded the Weight Limit

While it might feel great to purge your house during a seasonal deep clean, if you dump all that trash into your bins, you may risk being skipped over come trash day. Some cities have strict weight limits for curbside pick-up. New York City, for example, states that bins cannot contain more than 60 pounds of trash. To find out what the weight limit is for trash where you live, visit your local sanitation department’s website. 

2. Your Collection Day Hasn’t Arrived Yet

Not all trash is created equal! Some bulk trash items are only collected on certain days of the week. Even more, some require bulk yard waste to be bagged separately. If those leaves you raked up on Sunday are still there come Monday night, odds are that you missed a key rule or direction. Check your local department of sanitation website for more info on when and how to dispose of uncommon items. 

3. The Collection Service Adjusted Their Calendar

It’s likely that your garbage collection service follows the same holidays as the federal government. If your trash wasn’t picked up as expected, it may be due to a holiday. Most collection services simply adjust their calendar to the following day for pickup. Ask your local sanitation department for an annual holiday schedule so you don’t miss important off days. 

4. There Were Obstructions to the Garbage Truck

Two workers of a garbage collector truck
Pramote Polyamate/Moment via Getty Images

Is your trash still lingering, but your neighbor’s bin is long gone? This could be a sign that the garbage truck didn’t have proper access to your bins. If the truck is blocked by other cars, a basketball hoop, large snow piles, or lawn decor, the truck may skip your home.

5. You Didn’t Position the Bin Correctly

Automated services require your trash bins to face the right direction with the lid on tight. A full can that’s even slightly out of position could be skipped by a truck scoop that can’t access your trash quickly. If this is the case, recheck your company’s loading instructions to ensure you’re following their guidelines.

6. You Put Out Unacceptable Items

Although you may be ready to kick some items to the curb, your garbage collection team may be less willing. In fact, there are a few items that garbage collection services won’t pick up like: 

  • Batteries

  • Hazardous materials

  • Large home renovation items

  • Bricks, cinderblocks, and other large rocks

7. You Put the Bins Out Too Late

Most garbage collection teams work the same route and collect trash at roughly the same time every cycle. The garbage truck will pass you by if your bins are not placed in their position at the proper time.

8. You Haven’t Paid the Bill

If you pay directly for garbage collection, your service may stop or pause until payments are made in full and outstanding debts are resolved. If you believe this to be the case, call your company to pay your outstanding balance and resume services. 

9. Inclement Weather Forced Delays

If you can’t drive your car because of extreme weather conditions, chances are your garbage collection team can’t either. Weather delays can halt services for a day or two, throwing off your pick-up schedule. Be patient in this instance, as services will begin again as soon as it’s safe.

If your company misses your house, and your circumstances don’t match any of the above, it’s time to connect with your local sanitation department and get some answers.

When to Call a Dumpster Rental Company

If you have a significant amount of trash that breaks several of the sanitation department’s guidelines (electronic waste, heavy household trash, or bulk construction items) you can always look into hiring a private dumpster rental company. 

Private dumpster rental costs $380 on average, or between $292 and $481. Most companies charge $200 to $800 per week depending on the dumpster's size. Rental usually includes dump fees, which average $40 to $65 per ton. Compare quotes from local services for the best dumpster rental price.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.