01 Sep 2017


Living On The Hill: Trash and Recycling

Whether you are new to the Hill or simply trying to remember what resources are available to you, we are here to help! Please enjoy and share our Living on the Hill guides, intended to help you find everything you need while visiting or living on Capitol Hill. We love to be a resource to our neighbors, so please send us a note through social media or to info@thehillishome.com if you have suggestions for additional guides.


The Department of Public Works provides cleaning services for the District. To report a site that needs to be cleaned or to report illegally dumped trash, call the city call center at 311, available 24/7.

Abandoned Vehicles

An abandoned vehicle must have two of the following characteristics: extensive damage, inoperable, rats, vermin or other pests, or a lack of valid tags or registration sticker. Call 311 or submit an online service request here to report an abandoned vehicle. Please include the following information:

  • License plate information
  • Location of the vehicle
  • Length of time at the same location
  • Vehicle color
  • Make and model

DPW will investigate within 3 days and it will be resolved within 5 days on public property and 45 days on private property.

Alley Cleaning

The Department of Public Works cleans alleys on a rotational schedule – approximately every six weeks in Ward 6. However, alleys that are reported or identified by the DPW as dirty have priority. Call 311 for a special cleanup, or submit a request online here. Special requests are investigated within three days and resolved within 7 to 28 days.

Residents and business owners can help keep alleys clean by picking up trash and litter, cutting weeds, and preventing tree limbs from hanging over the alley.

Holiday Tree Collection

During the first two weeks of January, holiday trees, without decorations, are collected by the city. Trees must be on the curb on the Sunday of your collection week. Call 311 for your collection date or to place a service request if you have your tree after the collection period. For more information, call 311 or visit the website.

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping, such as leaving a mattress in an alley or a bag of garbage on the front sidewalk, can be subject to a fine. Fines for dumping can be up to $5,000. Rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a dumper can be up to $500. Call 311 to submit information about illegal dumping.


Between the months of November and January, the city vacuums leaves from each street two times. The cleanup schedule is included in a Leaf Collection Map, which District residents receive each fall. Leaves must be raked to the curb into a pile in the tree box space by the Sunday of the collection week.

Place leaves from the rear of the property where trash and recyclables are picked up. Remember to not pile leaves in the street, park on leaf piles, or block gutters or storm drains. No more than seven bags may be picked up at each address. Call 311 if leaves were missed or there is a special circumstance. Complaints are investigated within 3 days and resolved within 2 weeks. Visit the DPW website for more information.


Contact Animal Services at 202-535-2323 immediately if you see rats near your home. The Department of Health (DOH) may bait rodents on private property, as well as public property. The DOH food protection program will also work with food establishments if needed. If you are using poison on your property, make sure to place it directly in the burrow and cover it with dirt and leaves. Keep poison out of reach of children, pets, squirrels, and birds. There are various ways to discourage rodents including:

  • Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight lids
  • Don’t leave trash outside for an extended period of time
  • Remove debris and weeds near buildings and in yards
  • Store opened food and pet food in sealed containers
  • Inspect your home for cracks and holes, and seal them with mortar
  • Don’t provide hiding places for rodents, such as lumber piles, boxes, and other unused materials
  • Check for burrow entrances in retaining walls, tree stumps, and boxes

Call 311 or visit the DOH website for more information.


The Department of Public Works issues recycling containers for residents and recycling pickups on trash collection days. The recycling schedules can be found here. Call the recycling hotline at 202-645-8245 or the DPW website for a list of recycling “dos and don’ts.” All recyclables are taken to a Materials Recycling Facility to be separated and prepared for market. If you need a replacement or additional bin, call 311.

Trash Cans/ Recycling Cans

Trash and recycling cans are issued to residents in buildings with three units or less. Call 311 or visit dpw.dc.gov to place an order for a can. It will be delivered for free within a week.

Trash Collection

Residents receive regularly scheduled trash collection, provided by the DPW. In Wards 2, 6, and part of 1, collections are twice a week. In Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and a portion of 1, pickups are on Supercan routes and are only once a week. Trash cans should be placed on the curb no earlier than 6:30 pm the night before collection day, and no later than 6 am on the day of pickup.

Place trash on public property, and against the retaining wall is the building has steps. To deter animals, use heavy-duty plastic or metal cans, and pour ammonia or bleach on contents within plastic bags. Between collections, keep trash cans and Supercans on your private property, not the alley or sidewalk. Please inform the DPW if a collection was missed or trash spilled so a supervisor can inspect and a crew can clean up and collect.

Bulk Trash Collection

Bulk collection is available to households with no more than three units. Seven items may be picked up at one time. This includes large appliances, furniture, mattresses, small appliances, and tree limbs cut and tied into bundles. If you are getting rid of large appliances, such as refrigerators, please remove the doors before collection. For more than seven items, schedule an appointment by calling 311 and include instructions for locating the items.

You may also take items to the Fort Totten Transfer Station at 4900 John F. McCormack Drive NE if you don’t have an appointment. Solid waste disposal drop-off is open to DC residents Monday through Friday 1-5pm pm and on Saturdays from 8am – 3pm. Monthly hazardous waste, e-cycling, and document shredding is held every Saturday (except holidays), 8 am – 3 pm (Shredding on first Saturday of each month only), First Thursday preceding the first Saturday of the month (except holidays), 1 pm – 5 pm (HHW/E-cycling Only)

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