Use our Slide Guide to find out how holidays affect your collection schedule.
Supercan, Trash Can and Recycling Can Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the District going to replace my Supercan and recycling can?
Yes! Starting in February 2014 and continuing through roughly July 2014, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will distribute a new Supercan or 32-gallon trash can and a new recycling can to every District household that receives DPW trash and recycling collection services.
2. Why is the District doing this?
You spoke and we listened. Residents told us their Supercans were wearing out. Most Supercans currently in use were designed to last no more than 10 years but are now more than 12 years old. In addition, with fully functioning lids and intact bodies, we expect that the new Supercans and trash cans will help us better control rats and other vermin.
In addition, residents told us their recycling cans are too small for the amount of waste they want to recycle each week. The current recycling cans were introduced into service in 2005 when residents didn’t recycle as much as they do now. And, as part of the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Plan, the District has an ambitious goal of achieving zero waste by producing less waste and capturing value from everything else through reuse, recycling, composting and energy production.
3. What will my current trash and recycling cans be replaced with?
- Residents whose trash is collected once-a-week will receive a new 96-gallon Supercan and 64-gallon recycling can, double the size of their existing recycling cans.
- Residents whose trash is collected twice-a-week will receive a new 32-gallon trash can and a 48-gallon recycling can, 50 percent larger than their existing recycling cans but with nearly the same size footprint as the smaller recycling cans.
4. When will I receive my new cans?
The process of delivering the new cans started in February 2014. It is expected to take approximately six months.
DPW is delivering cans to households with once-a-week collection in the following order:
1. Neighborhoods with Friday collections (Wards 7 and 8).
2. Neighborhoods with Thursday collections (most of Ward 3).
3. Neighborhoods with Wednesday collections (parts of Wards 4 and 5).
4. Neighborhoods with Tuesday collections (parts of Ward 5 and Ward 7).
5. Neighborhoods with Monday collections (parts of Ward 3 and Ward 4).
DPW then will begin delivering new cans to households with twice-a-week trash collection (mostly in Wards 1, 2, and 6). These households will receive new trash cans that are the same size as the cans they currently have along with 50 percent larger recycling cans.
5. What should I do once I receive my new Supercan (or 32-gallon trash can) and recycling can?
When you receive your cans, please put your address on them in a bright color so that they are easily distinguished from your neighbors’ cans. If you have other cans without an address on them, please do the same.
6. The lid won’t close on my new cans. Are they defective?
No, they are not defective. If your lid doesn’t quite close, place the container in direct sunlight or a warm place. This will cause the containers to “relax” and the problem should clear up. The cans are stacked one upon another with the lids open while being stored. They just need a little time to adjust to being closed.
7. Why can’t the Supercans that are wearing out be replaced one at a time?
In the long run, it is much more cost effective and efficient to replace all trash and recycling cans for every household at once.
8. Will I have to pay an additional fee for the new cans?
9. How do I get rid of my old cans once I receive my new Supercan or trash can and recycling can?
Inside the new Supercans and trash cans, you will find an information packet from DPW that will include three “Take Me” labels. Use these labels to classify which can(s) you want DPW to remove. The cans MUST be empty. Then, call 311 or (202) 737-4404 to make a container removal service request. Finally, place the unwanted cans where your trash/recycling are collected and stick the "Take Me" label on the front of the can.
10. What will happen to the old Supercans, trash cans and recycling cans that are taken away?
They will be collected by DPW and recycled.
11. Can I keep using my old Supercan and recycling can and return the new ones?
Yes. Inside the new Supercans or trash cans, you will find an information packet from DPW that will include three “Take Me” labels. Use these labels to classify which can(s) you want DPW to remove. The cans MUST be empty. Then, call 311 or (202) 737-4404 to make a container removal service request. Finally, place the unwanted cans where your trash/recycling are collected and stick the "Take Me" label on the front of the can(s). However, please note that as of February 7, 2014, DPW discontinued repairing the old cans. Hereafter, only the new cans will be repaired.
12. Can I keep and repurpose my old Supercan and recycling can?
Yes. However, please move the repurposed can(s) on to your property so that they do not excessively clutter alleys and streets. Otherwise, you may receive a sanitation citation for having your can(s) on public space outside of your scheduled collections.
13. I currently have two Supercans. Will I receive two replacement Supercans?
No. Only one new Supercan will be delivered.
14. I receive twice-a-week trash pick-up, and I am scheduled to have my 32-gallon recycling can replaced with a 48-gallon recycling can. I am concerned that the 48-gallon recycling can will be too big for my property. Can I keep my existing recycling bin/can?
Yes, you may keep your existing recycling bin/can, but DPW no longer will repair the can or replace the bin. We encourage you to give the new 48-gallon recycling cans a try. They have nearly the same size footprint as the current 32-gallon cans.
15. I am a new resident and don’t yet have a Supercan, 32-gallon trash can or recycling can. Should I wait for my new Supercan to be delivered, buy an old one from DPW, or go out and buy a temporary one on my own while I wait for DPW to deliver my new can? Will sanitation workers collect trash and recyclables from other than DPW-issued containers?
To avoid getting a sanitation citation for improperly containerized trash or recyclables, please acquire a temporary trash and/or recycling can until your DPW cans are delivered. District regulations require that all trash and recyclables are containerized. This means trash that is in plastic bags should be put INTO the trash can. Loose recyclables should be put into the recycling can. While you are not required to use one of our cans, to ensure one’s trash and recyclables are collected in the most efficient manner, DPW encourages residents to purchase the properly sized wheeled container that is used in their collection neighborhood.
16. What is the cost of additional cans from DPW?
Containers available from DPW compare favorably in price to containers offered elsewhere. Additional cans also may be purchased from DPW if you believe additional capacity is required. Below are the costs of the cans by type:
Senior (60 years or older)
32-gallon Trash Can – Used in twice-a-week collection neighborhoods
48-gallon Recycling Can – Used in twice-a-week trash collection neighborhoods
64-gallon Recycling Can – Used in once a week trash collection neighborhoods
Supercan – Used in once-a-week trash collection neighborhoods
17. What if I need a new can immediately?
To avoid receiving a sanitation citation for improperly containerized trash or recyclables, please get a temporary trash and/or recycling can. Please see the response to Question 15 for more details.
18. Will the District issue tickets for trash that is in bags and not containers?
Yes. District regulations require that all trash and recyclables are containerized. Rats, raccoons,foxes and other animals easily get into bags and eat the trash. Please see the response to Question 15 for more details.
19. What will happen if I have already sent a check for a new container to DPW?
DPW has stopped processing checks. Where possible DPW will contact the resident to determine if he/she still wants to purchase or whether the payment should be returned.
20. I don’t have my new Supercan or trash can or recycling can yet and my old can is broken. What should I do?
Please see the response to Question 15. In addition, please note that on February 7, 2014, DPW discontinued repairing the old cans so only the new cans will be repaired.
21. I followed the instructions to have a Supercan and recycling can removed. I called 311, got a service request number, put the “Take Me” stickers on the cans, emptied them and placed them where my trash and recycling are collected. But the cans weren’t removed within the 10 days I was told they would be taken. Why not and when will they be removed?
First, residents who have received their new Supercans and recycling cans voted in huge numbers with their “Take Me” stickers to have their old cans removed. Based on removals made in Ward 8, which is where DPW began distributing the new cans in February, about three times more cans are being removed than DPW anticipated. For example, a one-day removal operation yielded 5,000 cans while 1,500 cans had been expected.
The second factor slowing down removals is that the teams assigned to remove the cans also are part of the snow team. Since they began their work in late February, the District has endured two major snow and ice storms, requiring the drivers to operate a plow rather than remove cans. Another accumulating snowfall is predicted for Tuesday, March 25, which will further delay removal of Supercans because these crews will be clearing snow from the streets.
DPW appreciates residents’ patience with the slower than anticipated pace of this operation. They are taking measures to speed up the removal process.
22. I have more questions. Who should I contact?
If you have additional questions, please call the Department of Public Works at (202) 645-4301.