Refuse disposal tips for odds and ends

Holiday Clean-up

As you begin to wrap up your holiday festivities, we ask that you please keep in mind a few simple dos and don’ts while disposing of your tree and other decorations!

For the 29th year, the City is recycling Christmas trees left at the curb by 7 a.m. on residents’ normal trash day! This program, which runs January 2 through February 2, allows the trees to be turned into wood chips and returned to the earth in an environmentally friendly manner.

All ornaments, tinsel, hooks and decorations, as well as any plastic bags used to carry the tree outside, must be removed in order for the trees to be picked up.

Trees placed at the curb after February 2 will be picked up with the regular trash and placed into a landfill.

GFL asks that you do NOT place the following items into your recycling bin:

  • Christmas/holiday string lights – This item will tangle and create problems in the machinery.
  • Holiday yard decorations – such as candy canes, blow up displays – think snowman or Santa, reindeer, extension cords, bows, etc.
  • Tissue paper
  • Artificial Christmas Trees
  • Ornaments and hooks of any kind
  • Anything with glitter – if a card or wrapping paper has glitter on it, it has to go in refuse collection.
  • Bows, ribbons, gift bags with glitter or fabric

Most wrapping paper can be recycled, but if paper has glitter, woven strings or foil, than it must be placed in regular refuse collection. Most wrapping paper can be recycled, but be aware that some specialty papers are not.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Department of Public Works at (586) 446-2440.


Rules for disposal of bulky & other refuse:

Refuse which cannot be placed in containers MUST BE tied and bundled or duct taped in lengths not exceeding four feet and weighing less than 50 pounds.  Remove all nails, screws and protruding objects.

Medical Syringes:

Sharp needles cannot be disposed of unless contained in heavy containers (such as plastic liquid detergent bottles or metal coffee cans). Please close cap tightly and seal with duct tape. 

White Goods/Appliances Disposal:

Large appliances should be placed with regular refuse.  The law requires that doors be removed on any refrigerator or freezer in order to protect children.  A separate truck will pick up the white goods on your scheduled collection day for recycling. 

Paint Disposal Tips:

If you can’t save, use up, donate, exchange or recycle leftover paint, as a last resort, you need to properly dispose of your leftover paint. Liquids are banned from landfills.

Oil based paint, paint thinner, adhesives, and print shop chemicals should be brought to a hazardous waste event.

Oil-based paints should not be discarded with the normal trash. They could pose a hazard to the hauler or the landfill. Instead, save it for a special paint collection or a household hazardous waste program in your community. 

Latex based paint is non-hazardous and should be dried out and disposed of in the regular garbage. 

Latex paints should be mixed with kitty litter or commercial product to solidify them and place them into your regular trash. Make sure the lids are off. Dried paint must be contained in a trash bag, cart, or can. 

NEVER pour paint (latex or oil) down a sewer, sink or toilet connection. This can cause environmental damage in storm drains, can plug or add toxic vapors to septic systems and sanitary drains, and pollute local surface and ground water that may supply your drinking water.

Yard Waste

Separate Yard Waste Curbside Collection Requirements:

Place yard waste into an acceptable 32-gallon trash can marked with an official Yard Waste decal or use yard waste paper bags (which do not require a Yard Waste decal). Not to exceed weight limits. 

Place yard waste at the curb (not in the street) for pick-up on your regular trash day prior to 7 a.m.

Yard waste should be set several feet away or on the opposite side of the driveway from regular trash to distinguish it for separate collection.

Do not mix yard waste in any containers containing regular refuse. Yard waste in improper containers will not be collected. 

Branches under 4 foot in length, under 2 inches in diameter can be bundled and tied with twine, not to exceed 50 pounds can be put with yard waste collection. 

Yard waste accepted at your curb are:

  • Grass clippings and leaves
  • Flowers and other "soft" material
  • Branches/brush less that four feet long, securely tied up and bundled (no roots).


  • SOD, DIRT, LARGE STUMPS, SAND, GRAVEL, ANIMAL FECES, DEAD ANIMALS (dead animals-call Animal Control for pick up).