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. (NOTE: Roll-out carts from the Recycling Department are brown and are serviced only at the street.)

Other information about city-assigned solid waste carts:

  • Record the serial number of each cart for future reference. If one comes up missing, you may be able to find it without much effort.
  • Always contain your garbage to prevent scattering. Bagged garbage inside cart means cleaner cart and surroundings, less chance of litter.
  • Call for extra cart if you have frequent excess garbage.
  • 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 6:00 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 will pick up this type of refuse generally on the same day as cart service but on a 2-week schedule and in the same location. (There are, however, a few areas where garbage collection is on the street but trash is picked up at the alley. Call the Street & Environmental Services office at (256) 341-4740 if you are not sure.)

  • Place large items neatly away from fences, mailboxes, buildings, utility poles, etc.
  • Limbs should be no longer than 5’ lengths.
  • 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.

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.

  • Owners are responsible (even if they do it themselves!) for the proper disposal of construction debris by private means.
  • The City of Decatur will not remove this material which includes scrap lumber, plaster, roofing, carpet, sheet rock, concrete, brick, dirt, and rock.

Reference: Solid Waste Ordinance Section 19-7, City of Decatur, Municipal Code

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 10/1/17
Residential$16.76 *
Commercial$37.55 *
Residential Extra Cart$7.55

*Per Ordinance 17-432 and effective November 1, 2017:
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 a concrete 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 Street & 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 17-432.

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

Effective 10/1/16
Commercial - (2 garbage carts maximum) $36.96

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 Sanitation/Street & 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 Street & Environmental Services Department, 1802 Central Parkway SW, Decatur, AL 35601. Charges will be made inactive after DU receives verification of the vacancy from Street & 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 to the Morgan County Health Department at 3821 Highway 31 South (256-340-2113). Proof is required that the only income that a household receives is Social Security.  The application form is available at the Health Department.  It must be filled out, signed before notary, and submitted along with proof of income and Decatur Utilities account number to the Health Department.  Applications are only good for the calendar year and must be renewed each December to be continued.

Q: How Do I Dispose of Dead Animals?

A: Calls concerning dead animals need to be directed to the Street & 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-leaf street 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 & Environmental Services Office.