February 11, 2022

Trash Talk

From household waste to yard debris, here are the ins and outs of how the city handles your trash.

Truck colecting trash

Trash is the unfortunate byproduct of our daily lives. It needs to be dealt with, one way or the other. The City of Virginia Beach makes disposing of waste easy, whether it’s weekly pickup of household trash and bi-weekly pickup of recycling or getting rid of bulky items and yard debris that aren’t meant for regular-sized containers.

Proper disposal is good for the community, the environment and the bottom line.

Trash and household waste are collected weekly in 95-gallon black trash containers that can be purchased from the Public Works Waste Management division by calling (757) 385-4650. They cost $75 each, which includes free delivery. The containers come with a 10-year warranty; coverage doesn’t include fire damage or theft, however. Blue recycling containers are also available for free upon request.

Public Works Waste Management services about 30,000 households per day, collecting the contents of black trash containers with an automated collection vehicle. Help keep the process neat and tidy by not overfilling your trash container and securely bagging household waste and loose, easily windblown items in the container. Trash is then offloaded at the SPSA Landstown Transfer Station and then taken to a waste-to-energy facility in Portsmouth that generates steam power.

The process works best with everything in its place: recycle only acceptable recyclables in the blue container and avoid comingling anything in the black bin that can create costly issues down the line, such as yard debris, building material, oils, fertilizer, cleaners or combustibles like propane tanks and rechargeable batteries.

The city’s Landfill and Resource Recovery Center offers residents a free and convenient way to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) and scrap metals, such as metal bed frames, lawn furniture, grills, yard ornaments, fencing and more. See how to safely dispose of your household batteries.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

The city-provided 95-gallon blue recycling containers makes disposing of recyclables easy. Recycling is collected every other week on your scheduled trash day. Paper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, metal cans and food and beverage cartons are all items that should go into your blue container. Do not bag these items, they go directly into your recycling container. Avoid overfilling the container and be sure to empty and wipe out cans and bottles.

The collected recycling is taken to processing facilities where it’s sorted, bailed and then transported elsewhere to be used to make new products. The city also has recycling drop-off locations at the Landfill and Resource Recovery Center and West Neck Recycling Center for large boxes and overflow recyclables. Remember: just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean it’s recyclable, plastic bottles only! Also, no wet or greasy cardboard, household or yard waste, ceramic or ovenware dishes, Styrofoam, or packing peanuts.

Download this nifty recycling guide to print out and place somewhere visible to remind yourself and your family what can and cannot go in your blue recycling bin. Find out when your trash and recycling are collected.

Shedding the household bulk

Disposing of furniture and appliances may feel overwhelming, but the city picks up bulky items by request, which can be submitted any time online. It may take up to 72 hours for the department to respond to your request, so be sure to factor that into your planning. Once you receive confirmation, put your items just behind the curb line in front of your home no earlier than 5 p.m. the day before pickup or 7 a.m. the day of.

Be a conscientious neighbor by not allowing your bulky items to block the sidewalk or street and be sure to avoid putting your items too close to things that might impede them from being safely collected. Do not place items within 3 feet of trash/recycling containers, mailboxes, fences or walls, water meters, telephone connection boxes, parked cars, fire hydrants, utility poles, or traffic signs. Do not place items under power lines or low-hanging tree limbs, in an alley or in front of a vacant lot or business.

Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to put multiple bulk items out all at once, rather than request multiple pickups.

There’s a long list of things that should not be put out for bulk item pickup, such as carpets, cabinets, doors, sinks and toilets, as well as concrete, rocks, paint, tires and more. If you’re not sure if the items you want to dispose of qualify for pickup, just call Waste Management, (757) 385-4650.

When the to-do list includes yardwork

Grass clippings, leaves and bits of landscape prunings are picked up weekly on your regular trash day and require no special request as long as they’re collected in manageable amounts. Grass, leaves and other small yard debris should be contained in no more than 25 clear plastic bags per week. Pruned limbs up to 4-feet long and 6 inches in diameter can be stacked in up to two, small piles no higher, wider or longer than 4 feet. These items are manually loaded by city operators so make their job easier by keeping the bags light (25 pounds or less) and the bundles well-stacked.

For bigger – but not contractor big – yard projects, roll-off yard debris containers are available on a first come, first serve basis and can be requested online. The containers measure 13-by-7-by-5 feet and cost $40 for weekdays and $75 for weekends. Morning and afternoon deliveries are available, but containers delivered on Friday will be picked up Monday. An adult’s signature is required upon delivery, but you need not be home when the container is picked up. Restrictions on what can go into the container apply, including root balls, concrete, sod, hazardous waste, stumps, firewood, dirt, bricks, landscape timbers and more. Call Waste Management Customer Service, (757) 385-4650, to see if a container is right for your yard project.

Ways you can help reduce waste – and costs

There are ways you can help reduce waste as well as costs, which can also help the environment. When it comes to yard debris, consider mulch mowing leaves and​ grass clippings instead of bagging them up and dragging them to the curb. Recycling in place is better for your lawn, as is starting a compost pile, where you can incorporate those clippings and leaves with common kitchen waste (non-animal food scraps such as fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds, etc.) to improve the soil in your flower beds and gardens.

Before discarding your items in your black can or taking them to the landfill, consider alternative recycling resources and drop-off locations. Is that piece of furniture still in good condition? Local charities are a great place to donate unwanted clothing and household items. Help keep thousands of pounds of waste out of landfills by dropping off unwanted plastic materials like grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves and much more at participating retailers and grocery stores. No matter the condition (working or not) of your outdated electronics, here is a list of resources to donate or recycle or your items.

When a regular pickup won’t do

The Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center accepts a wide range of waste materials, which must be delivered in a privately owned, noncommercial automobile, station wagon, passenger van or minivan, unmodified low-sided pickup truck. No dump trailers or trailers longer than 10 feet are allowed entry. Proof of Virginia Beach residency is required.

Items that can be placed in your blue carts for curbside pickup are accepted at the Recycling Drop-Off Center. Breakdown all cardboard boxes before placing them in the bins, and all containers must be emptied.

Recycling and household waste

Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center
1989 Jake Sears Road
Hours: 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.​Tuesday – Saturday

Recycling drop-off only

Municipal Center
2500 W. Neck Road (between Nimmo Parkway & North Landing Road​)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday

Waste Management Customer Service: (757) 385-4650; wastemgt@vbgov.com

Contact Information

Waste Management Customer Service

Contact Information

Public Works Operations

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