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Collecting trash, recycling, and yard waste from the 36,000-plus households across Dearborn is a big job. City of Dearborn staff follow a set schedule to collect trash, recycling, and yard waste and clean residential streets across the entire city every weekday. These days are called Public Service Days and are assigned by neighborhood. 

As City of Dearborn Department of Public Works crews begin the 2024 Public Service Days and yard waste collection season this March, residents are reminded of how to properly dispose of trash, recycling, and yard waste so that City staff can easily pick them up each week. 

How to use trash and recycling carts in Dearborn 

Every residential home in Dearborn is issued two 96-gallon carts: one for trash collection and one for recycling. The gray cart is only to be used for household trash, whereas the green cart is intended for items that can be recycled. The lids on both carts should always be closed in time for collection.

Properly placing your trash and recycling in the correct carts is the best method to ensure the City and its contractor, GFL, pick them up on the scheduled trash collection day each week.

Residents are responsible for properly filling their trash and recycling carts each week and placing them on the easement or curb of their property no sooner than 5 p.m. the day before their trash collection day. Carts must be moved off the easement by midnight on each regularly scheduled trash collection day. 

This means that you may place your filled trash and recycling carts on your easement as early as Tuesday at 5 p.m. if your scheduled trash collection day is Wednesday. In this example, you would then be required to remove your trash and recycling carts from your easement by midnight on Wednesday.

What can be pitched in the gray trash cart? 

  • Household trash
  • Styrofoam of any kind, including packing materials
  • Wood
  • Clothing, shoes, cushions, pillows, or other fabrics or materials
  • Plants and organic seasonal decor such as hay/straw bales, pumpkins, squash, gourds, corn stalks/shucks, and other natural decorations

To be picked up by the City and GFL, garbage must be collected in a bag or disposable container inside the trash cart. Trash can’t be loose in a trash cart.  

Under City ordinances, residents must obtain an additional gray trash cart if they repeatedly generate more trash than will fit in one gray cart. 

What can be recycled in the green recycling cart? 

  • Junk mail and paper bags
  • Newspapers, magazines, and catalogs
  • Steel, tin, and aluminum cans
  • Plastic jugs/bottles 
  • Household plastic and metal
  • Plastic bags
  • Glass
  • Cardboard 

Note that cardboard boxes that do not fit in the green recycling cart must be broken down or cut up and tied in manageable bundles to fit inside the green recycling cart after it is emptied once by the automated arm on the recycling truck. The only way for cardboard to be picked up and placed in the recycling truck is to be inside the green recycling cart. If the cardboard is not bundled to be placed inside the cart for reloading and picked up by the automated arm, the cardboard will not be collected from the curb.

Regular trash placed in the green recycling carts can result in a violation and a ticket under City ordinances.

How to properly dispose of yard waste

Starting Monday, March 18, 2024, the City will begin collecting yard waste in properly marked containers on Public Service Days during trash collection. Yard waste must be contained in paper yard waste bags or 20-30 gallon containers that clearly display a yard waste sticker from the City of Dearborn. 

Residents can pick up free yard waste stickers at the Dearborn Administrative Center and all Dearborn Public Library branches, or by calling 313-943-2150.

Bagged and contained yard waste should be placed on the property easement on the area’s scheduled trash collection day for pickup. Yard waste bags and containers must be kept out of the street at all times. 

What to do with special pickup items

Excessive quantities of trash and large or heavy bulk items, such as furniture, carpet, and some appliances, require a special pick-up. Excessive bundles of brush and yard waste also require a special pickup. 

A service fee will be charged for each special pickup coordinated through the City. 

To arrange a special pickup or for more information, call 313-943-2150.

The City also hosts seasonal Shred Days to provide residents with a free option to dispose of paper products. Dearborn residents can take advantage of Shred Day at the DPW Yard, 2951 Greenfield Rd, from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the following days: 

  • Spring Shred Day on May 11, 2024
  • Fall Shred Day on Sept. 14, 2024

How to get an extra trash cart 

Those who routinely generate more trash for collection than what the standard gray trash cart will hold are required to order an additional trash cart through the City. A one-time charge of $60 will be due at the time of ordering an additional cart. However, there is no extra charge for weekly pickup.

To order a trash cart, call 313-943-2150. 

Why is it important to properly pitch trash and recycling?

Mixing trash with recycling materials can result in contamination. If contamination occurs, the City’s recycling service center can’t accept recycling loads and will send the materials to landfills, meaning the once-recyclable materials become trash and create other hazards for residents nearby. 

“Landfills can generate contamination, odors, and greenhouse gases that hurt our community and neighbors,” says Samir Deshpande, Environmental Health Manager for the City of Dearborn Department of Public Health. “Diverting materials through reduce, reuse, and recycling is an easy step we can all take to save salvagable materials, keeping our rivers clean and air breathable.”

Wayne County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events

Wayne County's Department of Public Services hosts four Household Hazardous Waste Collections per year for residents of Wayne County. See the locations, dates, and times for the 2024 HHW Collection Events.