Rules for Waste Disposal
Dispose of your garbage (ordinary household waste, paper food containers (flattened), unused food and items used in the preparation of food) only in the automated containers provided by the City. Make sure the lid is closed, without packing garbage too tightly. These containers are owned by the City and are assigned to a street address. For townhomes using personal waste containers, City of Chesapeake Code Sections 62.57 and 62.61 allow for no more than four standard 35-gallon (not to exceed 60 pounds), hand-emptied containers or four 35-gallon plastic bags per dwelling unit.
By 7 am on your collection day, place the container as close as possible to the curb or roadside so that it is not blocking the passage of vehicles, pedestrians or drainage. Make sure the container has at least 3 feet of clearance from mailboxes, parked cars, other garbage bins, etc. All containers shall be placed out for collection no earlier than 24 hours prior to 7 a.m. the day of collection. All containers shall not remain out for a period exceeding 24 hours after 7 a.m. the day of collection. All containers shall be placed in a carport or enclosed building or behind the nearest portion of the residence or the building to the street when not set out for collection.
Per City Code 62-58: Normal collection service shall not begin prior to 7 a.m. Read City Code 62-58 online for additional information and guidelines.
Yard waste should be recycled and not placed in the automated container. Construction debris and building materials are the responsibility of the homeowner or tenant and cannot be collected. Soil, rocks, ashes and plaster, as well as tires, automobile batteries and parts must not be placed in a container. It is unlawful to place hazardous waste such as chemical materials, toxins or flammable items in a waste container.
See information about bulk trash collection, including how to request a pickup, eligible items, what is not accepted, and rules for placing items at the curbside.
Household hazardous materials are anything that is toxic, flammable or corrosive, including pool chemicals, brake and transmission fluid, used motor oil, paint, turpentine, paint thinner, spot remover, car batteries, antifreeze, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. Throwing such items in the garbage, down the drain or on the ground is illegal. Call the Southeast Public Service Authority (SPSA) at 757-420-4700 for disposal of hazardous materials.
We appreciate your interest in disposing of light bulbs correctly! Some big box companies in our area collect the bulbs at their service desk. We suggest calling your local store to verify their participation.
For the safety of our employees, the State of Virginia and the Chesapeake Waste Management Office recommends that home-generated sharps (needles and syringes) be placed in a rigid plastic container (such as a Clorox or detergent bottle) and labeled "do not recycle." This container can then be disposed of with your regular garbage.
Burnt firewood and ashes can cause fires in garbage cans and waste management trucks if not disposed of properly. To dispose properly, first submerge ashes and logs in water, preferably in a container with a lid. Let the container sit outside of your house, away from wind and combustible items, for several days. Once the ashes and logs are completely cooled, drain the water (untreated wood ashes can be good for acidic soil). Place the firewood and ashes in a plastic bag and dispose of it in your garbage can.
Residents are responsible for disposing of soil and debris resulting from homeowner (as opposed to contractor) construction, repairs, remodeling, demolition and landscaping. These materials may be disposed of at any SPSA transfer station or at the landfill in Suffolk.
Light yard waste such as leaves, pine straw, and grass clippings placed into clear 35-gallon plastic bags will be picked up with regular collections when placed at curbside. Residents do not need to call ahead for the collection of "bagged" yard waste. Dirt, rocks, mulch, sod, and other heavy yard items are not an accepted yard waste and will not be collected. Bagged yard waste is manually picked up and lifted into the back of rear-end loader trucks. Please keep our employees in mind when bagging your yard waste and keep your bags light.
The number of yard waste bags collected each week is limited to 30 (35-gallon) clear bags per location. In November and December, the number goes up to 50 bags. Rather than bagging your grass clippings, Public Works suggests that residents leave their clipping on the lawn or mulch them. This saves disposal costs and benefits your lawns by returning vital nutrients to the soil.
Leaves & Grass Clippings in Detail
Never rake leaves or grass clippings into storm drains or ditches. This will create blockages and lead to flooding in your neighborhood. It can also cause environmental issues as the leaves and grass clippings make their way to local waterways and cause algae blooms, killing off aquatic life.
The best way to handle leaves and grass clippings is to just mulch them into the lawn using your mower. As the pieces break down, they'll release water and much-needed nutrients to naturally fertilize your lawn.
If you must bag your leaves and grass clippings, place them in clear 35-gallon plastic bags and put them at the curb on your regular garbage day. Residents do not need to call and request collection of bagged yard waste. The limit is 30 clear plastic 35-gallon bags each week, except in November and December when you may put out 50 each week. Please do not include dirt, rock, sod, soil, clay, compacted earth or mulch in these bags, as the weight of these bags pose danger to workers attempting to pick up and place them into trucks, and are prone to tearing and spilling contents. Bags found to contain these heavy materials will not be collected. Public Works will only collect 50 bags per household per week - please do not place more than 50 bags at curbside for pickup.
Other Yard Waste
Non-bagged yard waste (bushes, shrubbery, tree branches/limbs) requires a bulk waste collection request (which can be done online or by calling 757-382-CITY) and must adhere to the following requirements:
- Must have been generated on the resident's property
- Must be bundled/stacked in a pile no larger than 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 6 feet long
- Limit to one 4-foot-by-4-foot-by-6-foot bundle/stack per week
- Tree limbs and tree trunks can be no larger than 6 inches in diameter
- Root balls cannot be wider than 6 inches in diameter or longer than 6 feet (please remove as much dirt as possible)
- Place bundle/stack at least three feet away from any obstruction (mailbox, trash containers, cars) and separate from any household bulk items
- Bundle/stack should not block sidewalks, traffic or the flow of stormwater