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There’s nothing worse than seeing your waste bins piled high with days-old, stinking trash at your otherwise tidy apartment community, or noticing debris that has made its way out of the bin to the trash enclosure floor. As someone in community management, you know it’s a major dampener on curb appeal and is sure to frustrate residents. It may cause you and your residents to wonder: Who picks up my trash? Is trash pick-up cancelled? (To figure out the first question, check out our blog post: Find Out Who Your Trash Hauler Is. But the likely answer to the latter is no. Trash pick-up is probably not cancelled. But there are a number of reasons your trash might be getting missed. These are the 6 most common reasons your trash hauler isn’t picking up your trash.

1. The trash levels are too high.

The most widespread reason trash is not hauled at multi-unit residential communities is because the trash levels are too high. Trash haulers will not empty trash that exceeds the top of the bin. In fact, you’re likely to receive a charge for any bins even one plastic bag above “level full.” If your bins are consistently left behind due to overflowing standard, green or recycling waste, and you’re having to pay fines, it’s probably time to make a change. Your property may require more frequent pick-ups, a new pick-up schedule, redistribution of trash, waste compaction or some combination of these.

Of course, you may not want to shell out more money for additional, finicky hauler services. And even if the issue of excess trash is solved, your hauler will still not pick up straggler pieces that have fallen out of the bin and dirtied the enclosure floor. Essentially, trash haulers will only remove a waste bin that is in near perfect condition and nothing more. A better solution to this problem would be to hire a vendor that offers a trash enclosure tidying service, which can monitor for missed pick-ups, sweep up littered waste and redistribute overflowing content.

2. The trash is contaminated.

Another problem that causes interruptions in pick-up is trash bin contamination. If the recycling contains non-recyclables, or organic waste bins have regular trash mixed in, your hauler will not empty them. Educating your residents on proper disposal of all waste categories can help reduce how often bins are skipped because of contamination. (Download our recycling flyer to post at your enclosures.)

3. There is infested or hazardous material in the enclosure.

If your trash enclosures are housing large items invaded with bed bugs, cockroaches or fleas, your hauler might be hesitant to empty bins for fear of spreading infestations. So you don’t run into this problem, make sure the team that handles pick up of your bulky items knows how to wrap and remove infested furniture, mattresses, etc. in a safe and efficient manner, so further contamination is unlikely.

Other risky materials can include bio-hazardous waste like blood or feces. Whether it’s in or around the bin, your hauler could be wary of these kinds of items and feel the trash can’t be hauled safely. Some porters and trash maintenance businesses offer feces removal and other janitorial services to help community management deal with these hazards, so they don’t delay trash pick-up service.

4. Something is blocking the enclosure.

Motorcycles, cars and trailers parked in front of trash enclosures will prevent the hauler from accessing your bins. Consider sharing the pick-up schedule with your residents, so they know when the hauler is coming, and posting signs at the enclosures clearly stating that parking is not permitted in front of the enclosure doors or gates.

5. The bin is in a hard-to-find spot (the enclosures are not numbered).

Sometimes, drivers will miss inconspicuous bins. Unless the trash enclosures are clearly marked, drivers might not know where to find every enclosure and will give up after some time. You can call to request a return for a missed pick-up but remember to provide the hauler with precise locations (like street names and identifiers) or a map of the bins to ensure that nothing is missed a second time. Better yet, number your enclosures for easy reference.

6. The hauler is delayed or not coming.

It’s an unfortunate truth. Especially during busy seasons, pick-ups can be delayed by one or two days or not happen at all. Holidays can cause a several-day setback, and recent driver strikes have also contributed to heavy delays. This can put communities in quite a bind. It takes persistent communication with the trash hauler to get someone out to remove the trash as promised. Monitoring and reporting missed pick-ups can be tedious, so having a team of professionals that stays on top of it for you can be a huge time saver.


Dealing with overflowing trash is a headache and an eyesore. While there are things that can be done to reduce hiccups in service, there may still be times your pick-ups are not fulfilled. In our next blog post of this series, we’ll talk about how to call the trash hauler to request a change in schedule or a return pick-up to help you handle your hauler services.



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