Trash Pickup in San Antonio: Guide to Making the Most of Your Service

Last updated on April 8, 2024

Harness the full potential of San Antonio’s trash pickup program, by understanding schedules, regulations, recycling principles, and best practices to keep the city clean and green.

Key takeaways:

  • Understanding the schedules and regulations of San Antonio’s trash services.
  • Tips for maximizing residential trash pickup.
  • Tailored commercial trash services to meet business needs.
  • Guidelines for bulk trash pickup for both residential and commercial customers.
  • How to lower your collection fee and the importance of recycling.
1of 11

How Do San Antonio Trash Services Work?

San Antonio’s trash services function as a weekly curbside collection for residential customers, managed by the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD). They ensure the city remains clean by efficiently managing garbage, recyclables, and organic materials. As residents, you’re provided with three carts, each for a specific purpose: blue for recycling, brown for garbage, and green for organic waste.

Commercial services, on the other hand, hold contracts with private companies for their waste removal, with negotiations on the frequency and volume of trash pickup tailored to business needs.

For streamlined management, residents are assigned a specific collection day, with the only exceptions being on observed city holidays, where makeup days are scheduled. Understanding your collection schedule is critical, as is placing your carts out by 7 a.m. on your designated day to ensure smooth pick-up. It’s also essential to maintain a five-foot clearance between your carts and any obstacles to grant service trucks unhindered access.

The SWMD also extends specialized services for brush and bulky items a few times a year— accommodating larger items not suited for regular trash bins.

Furthermore, it’s encouraged to lower your waste footprint and collection fee by composting organic waste and reducing overall trash volume, signifying the city’s commitment to sustainability.

Overall, the system is designed to be accessible, encouraging participation in keeping San Antonio clean and environmentally responsible.

2of 11

Residential Services

San Antonio residents can rely on regular curbside trash collection services as part of the city’s waste management program. Each household is provided with a brown garbage cart, which should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on your designated collection day. It’s important to note that carts must be removed from the curb no later than 10 p.m. on the day of collection to maintain neighborhood cleanliness.

To ensure smooth service, homeowners should leave at least three feet of space between their trash cart and other objects like mailboxes, cars, or additional recycling and organic carts. Additionally, avoid overfilling the cart; the lid should close completely to prevent debris from spilling.

Remember that trash pickup operates on a consistent schedule, but it will be adjusted for city-observed holidays. You can check the city’s solid waste management website to find your specific collection day and stay informed about any schedule changes during holiday periods.

3of 11

Commercial Trash Services

Businesses in San Antonio have diverse needs, and the city adapts to this variety by offering tailored commercial trash services. The primary consideration is frequency; commercial entities typically require more frequent pickups than residences due to higher waste generation. Container sizes are also variable, ranging from standard bins to large dumpsters, ensuring that businesses of all sizes can manage their waste effectively.

Additionally, businesses have unique considerations for location and space – some may have ample room for large containers, while others in tighter urban spaces might need smaller, more frequent pickups. To accommodate this, the city provides different service levels that can match the pace and volume of waste production in a commercial setting.

The key is to properly sort and manage waste to avoid contamination which could lead to additional fees or service disruption. By staying informed on what can and cannot be picked up through regular commercial trash services, businesses not only adhere to local regulations but also contribute positively to San Antonio’s overall waste management efficiency.

Lastly, for materials unsuitable for regular trash, such as electronics or hazardous waste, businesses must utilize the city’s specialized disposal services to ensure safety and compliance with environmental standards.

4of 11

Bulk Trash for Residential and Commercial Pickups in San Antonio

Navigating the intricacies of bulk waste can be a breeze with a few key pointers. In San Antonio, residents are permitted to set out larger items, which regular trash collection doesn’t cover, for monthly bulk pickup. This usually includes furniture, appliances, and non-contractor construction waste. Importantly, to ensure a smooth process, always check with the city’s current guidelines as they can vary by district and may have specific volume limits.

For large commercial entities, arrangements differ slightly; businesses need to contract with private companies who specialize in larger-scale waste management solutions. These services are tailored to the unique needs of businesses and typically offer more frequent pickups. Remember to separate your bulk waste from regular trash and place it neatly at the designated spot the night before your assigned collection day. Being mindful of banned items like hazardous materials is non-negotiable, both for safety reasons and legal compliance. By adhering to these guidelines, you contribute to efficient waste management and a cleaner San Antonio.

5of 11

Holiday Schedule

San Antonio residents should note that during national holidays, there may be adjustments to the regular trash pickup schedule. Typically, if a holiday falls on a weekday, collection for the remainder of the week will be delayed by one day. For example, if the holiday is on a Thursday, the regular Thursday collection will occur on Friday, and Friday’s collection will move to Saturday.

It’s important to keep track of these changes to ensure that trash is put out on the correct day. The city often provides a calendar of holiday adjustments or notifications through local news, city websites, or social media platforms. Planning ahead and being aware of these scheduling shifts can prevent accumulations of waste and maintain neighborhood cleanliness. Remember, this only applies to city-observed holidays; regular schedules resume the following week.

6of 11

How to Use the Brown Cart

Proper use of the brown cart—your gateway to efficient disposal of non-recyclable household waste—is vital to keeping San Antonio clean. Here’s how to optimize it:

1. Placement: Set your cart on the curb with the wheels against the curb, leaving at least three feet of space on either side and above to ensure trucks can access it.

2. Bagging Trash: Always bag and tie your trash before placing it in the cart to prevent spillage and control odor.

3. Cart Capacity: Avoid overfilling the cart; the lid must close completely otherwise, the trash may not be collected.

4. Weight Limit: Keep the contents light enough to be easily handled by the automated collection system—a maximum of 175 pounds.

5. Non-Allowables: Don’t place hazardous materials, construction debris, or bulky items in the brown cart. These require special disposal procedures to safeguard the environment.

6. Yard Waste: Small amounts of yard waste like grass clippings can go in the brown cart, but for larger volumes, consider composting or check for separate yard waste collection days.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure your trash is picked up efficiently and San Antonio stays beautiful.

7of 11

Unaccepted Items

It’s crucial to be mindful of what doesn’t go into the brown cart. Tossing the wrong items not only disrupts the efficiency of trash collection services but can also harm the environment. Here’s a quick rundown of materials that should be kept out:

  • Hazardous waste, such as paint, batteries, and motor oil, poses a significant danger to sanitation workers and the ecosystem.
  • Construction debris like bricks, concrete, and lumber takes a different processing route and shouldn’t mix with regular household trash.
  • Electronic waste, including cell phones and computers, contains valuable materials that can be reclaimed through e-cycling programs.
  • Bulky items like furniture and appliances require special pick-up arrangements and can often be donated or recycled instead.
  • Yard waste has its place in the city’s green recycling program and helps create valuable compost.

Remember, respecting these guidelines ensures a safer environment and a cleaner San Antonio!

8of 11

Lower Your Collection Fee

Reducing your waste output can have a direct impact on your wallet, thanks to tiered service options in San Antonio. Downsize your brown garbage cart; smaller bins come with lower fees.

Embrace recycling and composting to minimize trash. If you consistently produce less waste, consider requesting a volume-based collection service, potentially lowering your bill even further.

Always ensure your cart is only put out when full, and educate your household on waste reduction practices to maintain a leaner, more cost-effective disposal system.

Take advantage of the city’s ample recycling programs to avoid unnecessary charges for excess garbage. By being mindful about waste generation, you not only contribute to environmental preservation but also benefit from financial savings.

9of 11

Recycling Services

Embracing San Antonio’s recycling program is key to reducing landfill waste and conserving resources. Residents are provided blue carts for recyclable materials, which are picked up on the same day as trash but on an alternating week schedule. These carts accept a variety of items such as paper, cardboard, plastics labeled #1 – #7, aluminum and steel cans, and glass containers.

To streamline the process, it’s important not to bag recyclables, as these can tangle in sorting machinery. Remember that clean items are crucial; residue can contaminate entire batches. For larger items, such as electronics and appliances, scheduled drop-off events are organized by the city, diverting harmful components from landfills.

While curbside recycling is convenient, some items require special handling. For instance, batteries, oils, and chemicals can’t go in the blue cart; they’re hazardous. San Antonio has dedicated drop-off centers for these materials, ensuring they’re disposed of safely.

Participation in the city’s recycling initiatives not only supports environmental sustainability but also contributes to the local economy, creating jobs and reducing the cost of waste management. By staying informed and adherent to recycling guidelines, San Antonians can make a significant impact.

10of 11

Hazardous Waste Disposal

Managing hazardous waste requires special attention to ensure environmental safety and public health. In San Antonio, residents can safely dispose of products like batteries, paint, chemicals, and electronics through the city’s household hazardous waste program.

To use this service, you should:

  • Identify your hazardous items: Check labels for terms like “toxic,” “corrosive,” “flammable,” or “reactive.”
  • Package safely: Store items in original containers when possible, and ensure they are sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Check drop-off locations and times: The city provides designated drop-off centers and mobile collection events. Stay updated by visiting the city’s waste management website.
  • Separate for safety: Keep electronics separate from chemicals and other hazardous waste to facilitate proper sorting at the collection site.
  • Follow quantity guidelines: There may be limitations on the amount you can dispose of at one time, so it’s important to adhere to these rules for safe handling.
  • Consider alternatives: Research local programs that recycle items like e-waste or repurpose paint to minimize the amount of hazardous waste requiring disposal.

By properly disposing of hazardous materials, you contribute to keeping San Antonio clean and environmentally friendly.

11of 11


Who picks up trash in San Antonio?

In the city limits of San Antonio, weekly garbage and bi-weekly recycling services are provided by the city, along with two annual bulk trash pick-ups.

How to get another trash can San Antonio?

To acquire an additional trash can in San Antonio, one can make a request by contacting 311 Customer Service either through dialing 3-1-1 or 210-207-6000, but should bear in mind that extra brown garbage carts entail an additional monthly fee.

What are the specific recycling policies in San Antonio?

San Antonio uses a single-stream recycling system, accepts various materials like paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass, but restricts other items including plastic bags, foam, and dangerous substances like batteries and chemicals.

How is electronic waste managed in San Antonio?

Electronic waste in San Antonio is managed through specialized e-cycling facilities, community recycling events, and designated drop-off centers.

Does San Antonio offer curbside composting programs?

Yes, San Antonio offers curbside composting programs through its organics recycling initiative.

Related reading:

Read more

Read more

Read more

Read more

Read more

Read more

Table of Contents