Frequently Asked Questions

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Fees

How much is the solid waste services fee (i.e., trash fee)?

Per Ordinance #68698, passed in July, 2010, the fee is $11 per month per dwelling unit. City solid waste services are comprehensive and include twice weekly collection of solid waste, weekly collection of yard waste during "yard waste" season, and monthly pickup of bulky items (furniture, appliances, tires, waste motor oil, car batteries, etc.). In the coming months, we will be phasing in single-stream recycling throughout the City-when we do, one of the weekly "solid waste" pickups will become a "recycled solid waste" pickup. So solid waste will still be picked up twice per week, but one of the pickups will be for solid waste that can be recycled.

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What services do I get for this fee?

The City has a comprehensive solid waste services program that provides citizens with an exceptional residential trash service at a low cost. City solid waste services include twice weekly collection of solid waste, weekly collection of yard waste during "yard waste" season, monthly pickup of bulky items (furniture, appliances, tires, waste motor oil, car batteries, etc.). There is NO extra charge for any of the above services-all are included in the Solid Waste Services Fee of $11 per month per Dwelling Unit. In the future, we will be phasing in single-stream recycling-when we do, one of the two weekly solid waste pickups will become a recycling pickup, so you will have one (1) "regular" solid waste pickup and one (1) pickup of "recyclable" solid waste per week.

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Will this fee change the way the trash is collected?

City solid waste services are comprehensive and include twice weekly collection of solid waste, weekly collection of yard waste during "yard waste" season (all months of the year EXCEPT December, January and February), and monthly pickup of bulky items (furniture, appliances, tires, waste motor oil, car batteries, etc.). The only change we anticipate is that, in the coming months, we will be phasing in single-stream recycling-when we do, one of the weekly "solid waste" pickups will become a "recycled solid waste" pickup. So solid waste will still be picked up twice per week, but one of the pickups will be for solid waste that can be recycled. We will let you know when single stream recycling is scheduled for your area.

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When is bulk waste picked up?

The schedule for bulk pickup varies by neighborhood. Call CSB at 314-622-4800 for the schedule.

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Can I pay less if I don't use all of the above services?

The solid waste services fee is a flat fee for a comprehensive package of City solid waste services. The City supplies quality and comprehensive trash service: we provide twice weekly collection of solid waste, weekly collection of yard waste during "yard waste" season, and monthly pickup of bulky items (including furniture and tree branches, as well as appliances, tires, waste motor oil, and car batteries that are hazardous and hard to throw away). Although the City now charges for this trash service, City solid waste services are still one of the best values in the region: the new City fee is lower than fees charged in most areas surrounding the City, and includes more frequent and varied trash/refuse, yard waste, and bulk waste services. The flat fee is the most efficient approach.

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How is the City authorized to collect this fee?

Ordinance #68698, passed in July, 2010, established the fee.

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Who is responsible for paying the solid waste services fee?

The customer and property owner are both responsible for paying the solid waste services fee. Since the City assumes that if your dwelling unit(s) has active water service the unit(s) is capable of being occupied, we have designated the entity that pays the water bill as the customer, and this customer will receive one billing statement that includes both water service fees and solid waste services fees. If the customer does not pay these fees, the property owner is responsible.

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Do I have to pay the fee if I rent?

It depends. If the water bill is in your name, the solid waste services bill will also be in your name. If your landlord pays the water bill, the solid waste services bill will also be in the landlord's name. If so, it is likely that the landlord will pass the solid waste services fee along to you as an increase in rent-if so, you will in effect be paying the fee.

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Do I have to pay the fee if I live in a condominium?

If your condominium uses City solid waste services, someone has to pay the City solid waste services fee with respect to your condominium. In some situations, if your condominium association pays the water bill for all of the condominium units in the property, the condominium association will pay the bill-but since you pay condominium assessments in effect you are paying the fee.

In other situations, if you receive a separate water bill for your condominium, you will also receive a bill for and must pay the solid waste services fee. If, as many associations do, your condominium association contracts with a licensed private hauler that provides adequate solid waste services, neither you nor your condominium association needs to pay the City's solid waste services fee.

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Do I have to pay the solid waste fee if my property is vacant, one unit is vacant, or I haul my own trash away?

If your property has an active water service, the City assumes that your property is habitable and is producing solid waste that requires collection and disposal. So, yes, you do have to pay the fee. The Refuse Division will entertain appeals with respect to this assumption but in order to "win" such an appeal you will have to demonstrate that the property is not producing solid waste that is collected or disposed of by the City. Typically all properties, even vacant properties, produce solid waste-the grass must be mowed, and this generates yard waste that is picked up by the City unless you have a private hauler, and as tenants move in and out of dwelling units they and their landlords generate solid waste. If, however, you are an owner-occupant of a two-family dwelling unit, and you are the only occupant of that building and can demonstrate that one of the units is permanently vacant, it is likely that the City will look favorably upon your appeal. For information on how to appeal, please contact the Citizens' Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.

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Are there discounts from the fee? Is there a discount for seniors?

No discounts are offered under the current ordinance. We believe that at $11 per dwelling unit, the City's undiscounted fee is lower than the discounted fees charged in the jurisdictions surrounding the City.

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I am going away for a long time and will not be using my trash service. Can I put a hold on or "suspend" my trash service?

Trash service can only be discontinued if (a) you are gone for more than 90 days; and (b) you turn off your water service while you are gone. To turn off your water service, you may call 314-771-2255. But please note that you will have to pay a fee to reconnect your water service when you return. And, if you have a service that takes care of your yard while you are gone, the service will not be permitted to use the City's yard waste dumpsters if you are not paying for City solid waste services. You may decide it is more economical to leave your water service on and continue to pay the City's relatively modest fees for trash service during your absence.

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Will I have to pay extra for recycling?

When we have phased in single-stream recycling in your neighborhood, you will not have to pay an extra fee for recycling but you cannot opt out of recycling and pay a lower rate. The new fee of $11 per month covers the cost of collection service (trucks, fuel, drivers, collection containers, etc.) for both "regular" solid waste that cannot be recycled and for recyclable solid waste. The fee cannot be broken down into separate services. We are instituting recycling as part of the City's new approach to solid waste services because we want all of our residents to recycle: we are working hard to become a more sustainable city, and recycling is a big part of that initiative. Until the City phases in recycling in your neighborhood, you may choose to continue and pay for the curbside recycling service that you now pay for. The City is prioritizing areas with heavy use of curbside recycling for early implementation of single-stream recycling.

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I don't have trash-I take it to work, recycle everything.

If you choose to use private trash collection service of any kind, even if that means disposing of your trash in your employer's dumpster or at a home outside the City, you must provide proof to the Refuse Commissioner. If you "bring your trash to us," the City must still pay landfill costs and operate a transfer station, so this will not relieve you of the charge. If you believe you can prove you take all of your trash to a county address or to your employer's disposal facilities, or that you do not produce any solid waste that must be collected/disposes of, we would be happy to review your proof.

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What if I have private trash service? Is there an alternative to paying or being charged the fee?

You may contract with a private company that is licensed to haul and dispose of solid waste in the City. The contract must comply with Refuse Division policy and the Refuse Division must determine that the services included in the private contract are adequate for the collection of all solid waste. Once the City is satisfied that you do in fact have adequate private solid waste services, you will no longer be billed for the City's services. However, if you do not maintain the private services, the City will resume its services and you will be billed. A licensed haulers list is available from the Refuse Division.

A request to cancel City services due to a switch to private services should be submitted as soon as possible prior to the requested cancellation date. The request and an originally signed contract with a licensed private hauler must be submitted to the Refuse Commissioner-call the Citizens' Service Bureau at 314-622-4800 to request an application. The request must include the building's physical address, the name and address of the owner of the property, the requestor's mailing address if different from the owner's address, the total number of residential units in the building, and the date intended for private solid waste collection and disposal services to commence. The contract must confirm the date on which the private hauler will begin collecting residential solid waste from the property and a description of the services that will be provided by the hauler. The Refuse Commissioner will review the contract to determine its adequacy. When the City provides single-stream recycling, an acceptable recycling plan will also be required.

The City will inspect the property when private service is scheduled to commence to confirm that appropriate equipment is in place to store the solid waste until it is collected, and will also inspect the property thereafter to confirm that the waste is in fact being collected. Once the City verifies that solid waste equipment and services are place on the property, the customer will receive confirmation that City services have been cancelled and the customer will receive credit in the next billing cycle for any full month during the billing period in which services were privately provided. Thereafter, the customer will not be charged for City solid waste services for the property unless the City determines that private services are no longer being provided to the property or that dwelling units at the property otherwise are continuing to use City Services.

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Why do I have to pay for yard waste service that I don't use/need-bulk/automotive battery, motor oil, appliance, tires?

You are paying $11 per month for a comprehensive solid waste collection and disposal service. The fee being charged by the City is less than the cost of providing this comprehensive service. All dwelling units typically produce solid waste although the types of waste will naturally vary from dwelling unit to dwelling unit. While you may produce less yard waste than your neighbor, you may produce more regular or recyclable solid waste than your neighbor-and the amounts of each type of waste that you and your neighbors produce will vary from week to week. And while you may not have bulk waste each week, it is likely that at some point each year you will have something-an obsolete appliance, a broken piece of furniture, or a lawnmower that won't run. The City of St. Louis provides one comprehensive service that will address all residents' needs.

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I own a business/commercial property. Can I contract with the City for waste removal?

No. The City only provides services to residential customers.

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What if my property has both commercial and residential uses?

The City does not provide Solid Waste Services for non-residential uses. Any property used in whole or in part for non-residential purposes that generates solid waste of any must have private solid waste collection and disposal services and is prohibited from using City containers for solid waste disposal from the non-residential uses. If a property has a mix of non-residential/residential uses, the City suggests that residential tenants be instructed to use the private hauler's container. Once residential tenants are told to use the private container, property mangers/owners should notify the Refuse Division (see "What if I have private trash service?" above). If the Refuse Commissioner determines that the arrangements made with the licensed private hauler are adequate, City services for the residential dwelling units at the location will be discontinued and charges will cease unless the City determines that private services are no longer being provided to the property or that the property's residential dwelling units are continuing to use City services. It is the customer's and property owner's responsibility to ensure that residential tenants of mixed use properties use the services of the private licensed hauler and not City Services.

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Billing and Payment

When will I get the new bill? How often do I receive a bill? When is payment due?

Solid waste services fees and your water fees will be on the same bill. The bill will clearly and separately state solid waste services fees.

Water service fees are billed in "cycles" and solid waste services fees will also be billed in cycles. You will receive your solid waste services fee bill at the same time as you now receive your water bill.

Cycles 1, 2 and 3 include residential "flat rate" water customers, and bills are sent on the first of the month. These cycles include most buildings that are single-family through four-family residences. If you do not have a water meter, you will be in Cycle 1, 2 or 3. Payment is due, with the payment for your water service, 15 days after the billing date.

Because solid waste services fees will be due for all months including and after July, 2010:

September (Cycle 3) bills will include fees for two (2) months of solid waste services.

October (Cycle 1) bills will include fees for three (3) months of solid waste services.

November (Cycle 2) bills will include fees for four (4) months of solid waste services.

Thereafter, you will receive a bill once each calendar quarter, and the bill will include fees for the preceding three (3) months of solid waste services.

The other cycles include customers with water meters. Payment is due, with the payment for your water service, 15 days after the billing date.

The charts on the following page show the locations and timing of the cycles.

Residential "Flat Rate" Cycles
Cycle Area Included in Cycle Cycle Bill Dates
1 South of Arsenal Street, from mississippi River west to City limits. January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, October 1st.
2 Mississippi River to City Limits. Southern boundary line is Arsenal St. Northern boundary line is Cass Avenue, west to Prairie, west to Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, west to City limits. February 1st, May 1st, August 1st, November 1st.
3 City north of District 2. March 1st, June 1st, September 1st, December 1st.
"Metered" Cycles
Cycle Area Included in Cycle Cycle Bill Dates
12 Northeastern City from North of Downtown. January 20th, April 20th, July 20th, October 20th.
13 South of Arsenal street, Mississippi River to city limits. February 2nd, May 2nd, August 2nd, November 2nd.
14 South of Downtown to Arsenal Street, Mississippi River to City limits. February 15th, May 15th, August 15th, November 15th.
15 Downtown, Midtown, Mississippi River to City limits. March 2nd, June 2nd, September 2nd, December 2nd.
16 North and Northwest City. March 15th, June 15th, September 15th, December 15th.

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How/where can I pay the fee?

You can pay your solid waste services fees at the same places and in the same ways as you pay your water bills. A listing of your payment options can be found at http://dynamic.stlouis-mo.gov/collector/general-information.cfm. These options are the following:

  • By mail/check -- be sure to include the payment stub from your bill!
    Mail check to:
    Gregory F.X. Daly
    Collector of Revenue, City of St. Louis
    PO Box 66787
    St. Louis, MO 63166-6787
  • Via direct deposit: Call 314-622-4179 to make arrangements. Customers who are already enrolled in the direct-payment program do not need to re-enroll. These customers should have received a letter from the Collector about how to authorize additional direct-payment. There are no additional charges or enrollment fees for the refuse bill direct-payment program.
  • By credit/debit card: Visit the Official Payments website http://www.officialpayments.com, use Jurisdiction Code 3512, or the payment kiosk in the Collector of Revenue's office in City Hall—Room 109. There is a 2.75% transaction fee for credit cards.
  • In person: At the Collector of Revenue's Refuse Fee Department Room 109—City Hall (SW corner of Tucker & Market Streets).

The payment options listed above are the preferred payment options. You may also pay your water services fees and solid waste services fees at SOME local Schnuck's and Dierberg's stores, but the store will charge an additional fee—contact your local store for details.

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What happens if I don't pay my solid waste services bill/pay late?

If you do not pay your refuse bill or do not pay your bill on time, the City will take all necessary and appropriate legal actions to force you to do so. Typically, these legal actions will begin ninety (90) days from the day your bill was due. Solid waste collection and disposal services are a very important part of keeping our neighborhoods clean and healthy.

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How can I report a problem with my bill?

Questions about payment (how do I pay, where do I pay, my check hasn't been cashed, my payment was applied to my account incorrectly, etc) should be directed to the Collector of Revenue's Refuse Fee Department at 622-3532, Room 109 City Hall.

Questions/corrections regarding name, mailing address, service address or water service charges (including switching solid waste and water services to your name when you buy a new home) should be directed to the Water Division Customer Service Dept at 771-2255.

Questions about the solid waste service fees (number of units billed) should be reported to the Citizens' Service Bureau (CSB) by calling 314-622-4800. CSB will report your question to the Refuse Division and the Refuse Division will contact you to respond. If a correction made to your bill results in a credit to your account, the credit will appear on your next quarterly statement.

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Services -- General

Who do I call if my trash does not get collected as scheduled?

Please call Citizens' Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.

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When is my trash scheduled to be collected?

Your collection schedule depends on where you live. Please call CSB at 314-622-4800 or look up you schedule on-line at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/data/address-search/

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How do I know which dumpster is for trash/yard waste/recyclables?

"Regular" trash dumpsters are dark brown in color with signs indicating that they are used to collect solid waste. Yard waste dumpsters are green in color with signs indicating that they are ONLY for collecting yard waste (e.g., grass, leaves, etc.). Your new single-stream recycling dumpster will be blue. The City will contact you when it's time for single-stream recycling to be implemented in your area. When single-stream recycling is implemented, you will receive one (1) "regular" trash pickup and one (1) recyclables pickup per week.

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Will I still be able to use the drop off trash/yard waste/bulky/automotive batteries, motor oil, appliances, and tires at City collection sites?

Yes. At this time, there are no plans to make any changes to our drop-off trash sites. For details on drop off trash locations, hours, and materials accepted, please visit our website at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/street/refuse/resident-dumping/.

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Who will monitor to make sure people are using the trash/recycling/yard waste dumpsters properly?

Proper use and monitoring of trash/yard waste dumpsters is the joint responsibility of City residents and Refuse Division employees. It is illegal for businesses and commercial trucks to use the City's residential trash, recycling or yard waste dumpsters, and it is illegal for anyone who is not paying the City solid waste services fee to use these dumpsters. If you see anyone that you believe is not a legitimate user placing items in the City dumpsters or if you see items in your dumpsters that you think were illegally dumped, please call the Citizen's Service Bureau at 314-622-4800. If you see a commercial truck that is illegally dumping, get the license plate number, the description of the vehicle, and call 911. The City's Trash Task Force will investigate and prosecute instances of illegal dumping. If the information you provide results in the conviction of the suspect, you may be eligible for a $100 reward.

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What if people place trash items in the wrong trash/yard waste/recycling dumpsters?

This is where we need your help, please let us know and we will do everything possible to educate your neighbors. If residents are depositing trash in yard waste dumpsters/yard waste in trash dumpsters/waste that cannot be recycled in recycling dumpsters, please report this type of activity to the Citizens' Service Bureau (CSB) online at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/csb/ or by phone at 314-622-4800. Please provide as many details as possible. The Refuse Division can provide residents, neighborhood associations, and community groups with educational materials about how to properly use our trash/recycling/yard waste services.

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Where can I learn more about Refuse Division services?

Details about all Refuse Division services are posted on our website at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/street/refuse/

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Services -- Recycling

When will my alley get single-stream recycling services?

The City will phase in single-stream recycling services over the coming months, beginning with those areas that heavily use the City's pilot curbside recycling programs. We will provide you with additional information when we are ready to implement single-stream recycling in your neighborhood.

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What is my recycling pickup schedule? What days are the recycling containers picked up?

We will provide you with additional information when single-stream recycling is phased into your area. Generally speaking, we expect that the day that is currently your 2nd regular solid waste pick up of the week will become your recycling pick up day.

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In the alleys that have the new recycling containers, will the solid waste container get picked up once or twice a week?

When recycling containers are used correctly, they will free up space in the solid waste containers. When recycling containers arrive in your neighborhood, "regular" solid waste will be picked up one day per week and "recyclable" solid waste will be picked up one day during the same week. So you will have solid waste collections twice per week, but when single-stream recycling is implemented one of those collections will be for recyclable solid waste.

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What if I have a roll-cart, how will I recycle?

If you have a roll-out cart, you will receive a companion single-stream recycling cart similar in size to your existing rollout cart when single-stream recycling is implemented in your area.

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How many recycling dumpsters will be in my alley?

This will depend on the length of your alley and the number of homes that use the alley. As single stream recycling is implemented, our refuse foremen will survey each alley and develop a comprehensive "dumpster plan" for each alley.

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My alley has no room for more dumpsters. Where will my recycling dumpster(s) go?

Our foremen will work with residents on each block to find solutions for these types of issues. Solutions may include replacing a solid waste dumpster with a recycling dumpster and/or increasing the size of the dumpsters at specific locations.

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How do I know which dumpster is for recycling?

Recycling dumpsters will be blue in color. They will also have signage noting that they are for collecting recyclables.

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Are you taking away any of the dumpsters we now use for "regular" trash?

Initially, we do not anticipate removing any trash dumpsters from any alleys. But if, as we phase in single-stream recycling and see how it works, we find that we need fewer "regular" trash dumpsters in the future, some will be removed to provide more space in the alleys. In these instances, a larger "regular" trash dumpster may be provided, depending on need.

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If the trash dumpsters in my alley are constantly full and/or overflowing, will more be added?

We will make adjustments to the number and location of all types of dumpsters as single-stream recycling is phased in. As we educate our residents about the benefits of recycling, we anticipate that "regular" trash dumpsters will become emptier, since almost half of our waste can be placed in recycling dumpsters to be recycled.

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Will I still be able to use the drop-off recycling sites?

Yes. At this time, there are no plans to make any changes to our drop-off recycling system, although some (not all!) of our drop-off sites may be closed in the future as more people use the new, more convenient recycling services. For details on drop-off recycling locations, hours and materials accepted, please visit our website at http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/recycle/locations.htm.

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Is there any limit to how much trash or recycling that I can put out per week?

There is no limit on the amount of household items you can dispose of or recycle per week, provided it fits in the proper dumpster or cart. We encourage you to recycle as much as possible. Recycling is better for our environment and also helps the City avoid paying fees for taking solid waste to a landfill. Everything must be placed into the correct dumpster or cart. Nothing will be picked up outside of these containers or off the ground, unless it is placed out for bulk pickup during a scheduled bulk pickup week.

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What if all my recycling doesn't fit in the container?

If you have a large one-time quantity of recyclable waste, you may also take it to one of the drop-off sites. The City will continue to maintain several drop-off sites even after the single-stream recycling program is fully implemented. Otherwise, you have to hold on to your recyclables until after the container is emptied.

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Does this mean I have to recycle?

Waste management is each resident's civic responsibility. Recycling is good for the environment and good for enhancing our City's sustainable image. Over time, it is also our hope that recycling will save the City money by reducing landfill costs. We believe the single-stream recycling system will make it easy for you to recycle. So, we strongly encourage you to recycle but recycling is not mandatory at this time.

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What materials can be placed in my recycle bin? What items cannot go in the BLUE container? Why not?

Details on single-stream recycling are posted on our website at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/street/refuse/recycle/materialsaccepted.cfm. This site currently refers to our pilot recycling programs but the pilot single-stream "permitted materials" description will also apply to the new single-stream recycling initiative. As your area receives its recycling bins, the bin will have a larger version of the sign below that details what materials you can place in it. Generally these materials are recyclable paper, recyclable plastic, and metals. The graphic on the next page provides more details on what can and cannot be placed in the recycling container.

Single-stream diagram
View full size image

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Do I need to clean items before putting them in the BLUE container?

To avoid pests while recyclables are stored and processed, we ask that recyclables be rinsed where applicable before you put them in the containers.

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How big will the single-stream recycling container be?

The recycling containers will be similar in size to the solid waste containers currently in your alley. If you have a roll-out cart, you will receive a companion single-stream recycling cart similar in size to your existing rollout.

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Will the Curbside Bin Recycling Cost-Sharing Pilot Program continue?

No, the Curbside Bin Recycling Cost-Sharing Pilot Program will be discontinued at as we phase in single-stream recycling. You will receive further notification when this program is scheduled to stop. We are prioritizing placement of the single-stream recycling containers in those areas with the highest participation in the Curbside Recycling Pilot.

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My recyclables were not picked up. Who do I call?

For missed pickups, contact the Citizens' Service Bureau (CSB) online at http://stlouis.missouri.org or by phone at 314-622-4800.

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Will you provide me with a recycling bin to store materials to take to the dumpster?

The City will not provide indoor recycling bins. It is your responsibility to store your recyclables until you take them out to the dumpster, just like it is your responsibility to store your "regular" trash until you take it out to the dumpster.

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How will you prevent people from placing the wrong items in the recycling dumpsters if you don't know who's doing it?

We have designed a special lid for these dumpsters to help control what goes in them. We will provide educational materials and will be working with neighborhood organizations to help our citizens use the recycling dumpsters properly.

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Where can I get more details about the City's recycling programs/services?

Details and options for reducing, reusing, and recycling are posted on our Recycling Program website at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/recycle/.

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