Solid Waste FAQs

Q: How many and what kind of carts should I have at my residence?

A: When our automated system was put in place years ago, residents were initially issued one gray cart for household garbage and if needed, one green cart for yard waste to be collected separately. Since Decatur no longer separates green waste and household garbage at collection points, residents may mix all waste together in gray or green carts provided by the City, regardless of cart labels. You are encouraged to continue to use your carts for small yard debris rather than pile it up for loader truck service, as this will expedite collection. If more than 2 carts per household is needed, an extra cart will be provided at an extra monthly cost as long as the Solid Waste Department has sufficient stock. If you have more carts than you need, please call for the extra ones to be picked up.

Other information about city-assigned solid waste carts:

  • Please follow the law and bag your household garbage. Bagged garbage inside cart means cleaner cart and surroundings, less chance of litter.
  • Call for extra cart if you have frequent excess garbage. A third cart does incur an extra monthly fee.
  • Keep cart lids closed with no protruding items.
  • Keep carts away from buildings, fences, mailboxes, utility poles, etc. when you put them out for service.
  • Never over-pack your carts.
  • Never sit, climb or stand on carts.
  • Never place paints, solvents, flammable or other types of liquids, ashes, dead animals, oils or medical waste in carts.
  • Never fill carts with building materials such as lumber, dirt, concrete or rocks.

Q: When is my garbage collected?

A: Have your carts out by 6:00 A.M. on your collection day with directional arrows pointing to street or alley. If you have street collection, set carts behind curb or on shoulder if no curb… not in gutter line or street. Roll them back to a safe place near your house by 7:00 P.M. You are responsible for the safekeeping and cleanliness of your assigned cart(s).

Garbage Pickup Days:

Q. What about large items (limbs, bushes, and brush too large for cart) and other bulky items, such as appliances and furniture?

A. A loader truck assigned to your neighborhood will pick up this type of refuse in the same location as your cart is serviced. (There are, however, a few areas where garbage collection is on the street but trash is picked up at the alley. Call the Environmental Services office if you are not sure.)

Communication is the key to receiving professional and timely service. If you have questions, please call our office at 256-341-4740 so we may help you determine what can be placed out for collection.

  • Loader trucks do not service both street and alley for your location.
  • Periodic delays may happen due to storm debris and at other times when large quantities of debris are generated throughout the City.
  • Place large items neatly, away from fences, mailboxes, buildings, utility poles, etc. If you do not have alley pick up, items should be placed neatly behind the curb.  Do not block alleyways with your items.

The following items are acceptable for collection but the list is not inclusive:

  • Small cabinets, toilets, carpet and other items from homeowner repairs.
  • Limbs cut to less than 12 feet in length and less than 12 inches in diameter.
  • All types of appliances and furniture.
  • Fencing panels from small repairs (think one to three panels). Note: Excessive fencing from a contractor or homeowner repair will not be collected. Please call 256-341-4740 if you have questions or you are not sure.
  • Small piles of shingles from minor repairs. Again, no shingles from a contractor will be collected.
  • Leaves that are placed behind the curb. Do not put limbs and other debris on leaf piles at curb during “leaf season” when we are using vacuum machines for collection (roughly October – January). Bagging leaves is acceptable and will expedite the removal process. (256) 341-4743
  • Small (think wheel barrow full) piles of brick, rock and other items from the homeowner.

Q: What About Debris From Building Repairs, Remodeling and Demolition?

A: As you make plans for your building repairs or remodeling, please remember to plan for debris removal.  See the above section regarding homeowner generated debris.  We will not pick up contractor debris.

Decatur / Morgan County Regional Landfill disposal rates and hours of operation

Q: What About Debris From Contractors – Trees, Fencing, Shingles, Landscaping Etc?

A: All contractors are required by city ordinance to haul away their debris from work sites. There should be no negotiations between contractor and homeowner based on the assumption that the City will remove it. The Solid Waste Department will not haul it.

Reference: Solid Waste Ordinance Section 19-9, City of Decatur, Municipal Code

Q: How Much Do I Pay for Residential Garbage and Trash Pickup?

A: Garbage fees are billed on your Decatur Utility bill each month as follows:

Effective 2023
Residential Extra Cart$9.52

*Per Ordinance 18-4329:
Each dwelling unit or approved business establishment receiving residential collection or other collection of garbage, trash, rubbish and other refuse by the city using an alley, except for a townhouse dwelling served by either a paved, asphalted, concreted or similar constructed alley, shall be charged the additional sum of five dollars ($5.00) per month to be paid in the same manner as the base service fee.

Questions about your garbage bill should be directed to the Environmental Services Department, (256) 341-4740.

Q: Information On Commercial Accounts

A: The Solid Waste Department provides service to some small businesses which meet location and quantity requirements. A maximum of two garbage carts are allowed. Businesses which generate larger volumes of solid waste are required to contract their needs with a private waste hauler. A $5.00 alley fee may be applied, per ordinance 18-4329.

Call Environmental Services for more information at (256) 341-4740.

Effective 2023
Commercial - (2 garbage carts maximum) $46.15

Q: Removal of Garbage Fees


  • For vacant houses, the owner signs an affidavit that house has been vacant and generated no garbage or trash for 60 days. Call Environmental Services (256- 341-4740) for the sworn statement or click here for the Vacancy Sworn Statement. Please fill out and return the completed form to the Environmental Services Department, 1802 Central Parkway SW, Decatur, AL 35601. Charges will be made inactive after DU receives verification of the vacancy from Environmental Services and carts will be picked up. No refunds will be made for the period of vacancy prior to or during the verification process.
  • For the Social Security exemption, residents must apply annually at the Environmental Services Department, located at 1802 Central Pkwy. Applications are only accepted November and December of each year. Proof is required that the only income that a household receives is Social Security.  The application form is linked here. It must be filled out, signed before notary, and submitted along with drivers license, current utility bill, and proof of income.

Q: How Do I Dispose of Dead Animals?

A: Calls concerning dead animals need to be directed to the Environmental Services Office. Animals should be placed in a plastic bag and placed on the curb for pick up. City workers are not allowed to go onto private property.

Q: Does the City have a leaf collection?

A: The City offers on-street leaf collection, which usually begins in late October or early November. Leaf machines operate Monday through Friday on a continuous, clockwise route. Calls regarding pick-up days can be re-directed to the Street Department by calling (256) 341-4740 Ext. 3.