Trash Procedures

Trash is one of the more sensitive areas of urban living and its success in disposal is often a deciding factor in local political elections. Trash is not merely the disposal of what is in your trash can and the rules and procedures can be very confusing to the average resident. These rules are scattered throughout the website. We have tried to put those rules that apply to our WNA area together and present them here for you. Landlords, please take note, print them out, and give your new tenants when they move into our area. We can assure you they do not know these rules and will subject you to stiff penalties when they are broken.

WNA tries to informally contact offending residents when we can and inform them of these rules. When that doesn’t work, we then report them to the appropriate government agency.

Trash Pick Up Days

  • Green trash cans (regular trash) – 2x/wk. – Tuesday and Friday mornings, so put trash out on Mon. & Thurs. nights.
  • Blue trash cans (recyclables) – 1x/wk. – Tues. morning only, so put can out on Mon. night.

If there is a holiday prior to the first pick-up day, then trash pick-up slides ahead 1 day for the whole week (i.e., pick-up will be Wed. and Sat. mornings), so then put your trash out Tues. & Fri. nights.

Times when trash cans may be out – You can put trash cans out after 6:30 pm on the night before pick-up. Cans can’t weigh more than 50 pounds. You must take your trash cans back into your yard on the same evening after they are dumped.

Green trash cans – for regular trash (no bottles/cans/newspapers/etc.) – You must put your trash in a plastic bag, tie the bag, then put the bag in the green trash can.  Hint – For liquids (like cooking grease), put it in a jar with a lid before you put it in the plastic bag. You should not put yard waste (dirt, tree limbs) in this trash can unless it is placed inside of a trash bag.

Blue trash cans – for recyclable material, such as bottles, cans, newspapers, telephone books, cardboard boxes. You do not need to put these items in a plastic bag before putting them in the trash can.  All boxes must be broken down before being placed in the trash can.  Do NOT put in: Paper/cardboard contaminated w/food such as take-out food cartons or pizza boxes; hardback books, wire hangers, paper towels, yogurt or margarine containers, cat litter, foam pellets or packing material.

Larger items – Break items down to fit in your can. If it is cardboard and still too large for the can after you have broken it down (remember, you must be able to close the lid fully), tie it in bundles no longer than 4 feet and put it next to the blue recycling can.

Tree branches – Tie them in bunches not longer than 4 feet and place them next to your green trash can. Do not put branches in your green trash can.

Very large items – You must call Bulk Trash (simply call “311”). They will give you a date when the City will come and get your item (it will be about a week after you call & they take a max. of 6 items). Do not put the bulk items out until the night before your scheduled pick-up.

Certain odd items – Certain types of trash can neither go in your trash cans nor will the City Bulk Trash pick them up. You must take them to the city dump site at Ft. Totten yourself. These items consist of either construction material or dangerous/toxic/hazardous items, such as: bricks, rocks, dirt, sheet-rock, paint, computers, TV’s, energy-saving light bulbs. At this time, Ft. Totten will take these hazardous items only one Sat. per month (call them to find out what day each month–202/576-6888 or ‘311.’

Obtaining Trash Cans – If you lost your trash can, or just need more cans (either green or blue) you can call “311” and the City will put one in your front yard in about 1 week. The current charge for these cans are about $45.  It is a good idea to paint your house number on your cans to lessen the chance of theft.

Keep trash cans clean – You should periodically wash out your trash cans of any debris. Leaving the debris in your trash cans subjects them to rats that will eat a hole in your trash can to get to it. If you have problems with rats nibbling your cans, try putting a little ammonia in the bottom of your can.

Keep yards trash-free – Keep your front and rear yards free of trash, garbage, weeds, bulk items and non-working vehicles [Note: any unmovable car in rear yard is subject to a fine].

Rat Abatement – If you see a rat hole in your yard, call DC Vector Control, 202/535-2636. They utilize products much stronger than you can purchase to bait the rodents in their outdoor burrows.

Proper trash disposal is the single most effective way that neighbors can eliminate or reduce their rat population. The behavior of each neighbor affects all their surrounding neighbors. Reducing the rat population can be done only by all neighbors working together.

If you have a neighbor or tenant that has not yet learned or adopted these trash procedures, please consider sending a link to this webpage to him or her or print out a copy of this page and give it to them.  If that doesn’t help, you should call “311” and report the violation. Keeping our community free of rats is everyone’s responsibility.

Improper trash disposal subjects you to a $75 fine the first time. Each citation after that doubles the fine.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these procedures, or their enforcement, you may also call WNA president, Lynn Johnson, at (w)202/371-0962; (h)202/232-7751; or email at