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City of Fairfax Answers: Curbside Collection of Yard Debris, Heavy Debris

Post Date:04/15/2019 2:30 PM

City of Fairfax Answers on construction debris

The City of Fairfax and its Public Works Department are proud to offer tremendous services to residents—including curbside collection of yard waste, home-improvement debris and other items.

But during the course of the year—and especially in spring and summer—home contractors and tree-removal companies leave curbside debris that costs the city and its taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.

Here’s a quick rundown of the do’s and don’ts of curbside-debris collection:


Q: Is it OK to bring large tree branches or even drywall, old carpet or other items to the curb if I’m removing these items myself?

A: Absolutely, this is part of the curbside services offered by the city. Debris caused by the work done by a homeowner or renter is fine to place curbside. The types of debris left curbside can be anything from old rugs to discarded wood to a washing machine.


Q: If a contractor does work on my house or cuts down a tree, can he leave the debris at the curb?

A: No. Despite what the contractor tells you about city services, he is obligated to remove these materials and haul them away himself. Contractor debris inflicts heavy costs to the city.

Contractors may also try to place the debris curbside on weekends, so it is less likely that they will be spotted. They sometimes park their vehicles away from where they are working to find a way around (or trick) the Public Works crew.


Q: What if I have other people — family members who don’t live with me or neighbors — help with the contracting work? May I still leave debris at the curb?

 A: If you’re not doing the work entirely yourself, then other people are considered contractors, and you may not leave the debris at the curb.


Q: If I live in the City and am also a contractor, may I leave debris from my jobs at the curb?

A: No.


Q: What if the contractor won’t remove these items?


A: If a contractor won’t remove something, it’s the responsibility of a homeowner to have someone haul it away. Typically, when a homeowner gets an estimate from a contractor, he can request the debris to be hauled away—which may involve an extra fee.


Q: How can I dispose of paint and other liquid materials at the curb?

A: Please do not put liquids in trash or recyclable containers, unless they are dried out. Liquids make a mess on the road and on crews: liquids leak out of trash cans and the trash truck, and stain the pavement.

The city will accept containers with dried-out water-based paint  — mix kitty litter into the wet paint and let it dry completely before putting it at the curb beside your refuse containers. Leave the lid off the can so we know it's dry.

Oil-based paints are never accepted at the curb (wet or dry). They are considered "household hazardous waste," and must be disposed of with other hazardous materials. Click here for more information on household hazardous waste.


Q: Are there some items I cannot leave at the curb, even if I’ve done the work myself? Who can I contact to find out?

A: Household hazardous waste should not be disposed of in the regular trash or poured down the drain. Household hazardous waste refers to used or leftover contents of consumer products that contain materials with one of the four characteristics of a hazardous waste: toxic, ignitable, corrosive, or reactive.

City residents can recycle old or unwanted electronics, including computers (and related equipment), televisions, cell phones, gaming systems, stereos and other household electronic devices and cable. These items can be taken to either of these drop-off centers for free:



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