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CITY OF STERLING HEIGHTS, MEET YOUR NEW CARTS!

In another move to innovate resident services and create a sustainable future for its community, the city of Sterling Heights will be transitioning to a unified cart system and universal curbside recycling for all residents beginning in April 2024.

Sterling Heights City Council recently awarded a new 10-year contract for waste collection and curbside recycling services to Priority Waste, a leading waste management company known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and outstanding service.

Refuse Service Collection map

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Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the City transitioning to cart collection?

  • Cart collection is a best management practice for refuse collection across the country because it removes loose, unsightly trash being placed at the curb and it eliminates potential food sources that attract unwanted rodents. 
  • Collection will be automated and picked up with a mechanical arm returned to the same position. 
  • The heavy carts will not blow around like the light weight containers currently in use throughout the City. 
  • Automated cart collection will only require one-man trucks which is far more cost effective.  
  • Transitioning to cart collection aligns with the City’s guiding principle of having well maintained, desirable and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods and roads, and improves the health and safety of our community by reducing the rodent population. 
  • Cart collection follows the City’s award winning Sustainability Plan 

What if I do not want a 96-gallon refuse cart and a 64-gallon recycle cart?

  • The City Ordinance will state all curbside collection of refuse and recycling shall be collected in a cart.
  • The carts are highly durable and on wheels, making them easy to maneuver, even for children and seniors. This will make the process of taking out the trash much easier and more convenient than dragging a can or carrying multiple bags to the curb. 
  • The refuse tax you pay includes the cost of the carts and service throughout the year. 

What if I have more trash and recycling than my carts can hold?

  • If holding onto the additional material until the following week is not an option, a special pickup of the extra material can be requested, for an additional cost, directly with the City’s refuse vendor. If you expect to continuously have more material than what the carts can hold, you can purchase additional carts from the City’s refuse vendor.

What if I put out trash or my recycling next to or on top of the lid of my cart?

  • It will not be serviced with normal collection and will be tagged for a special collection. If left uncorrected for 24 hours, the material will be collected at an additional cost to the property owner for a special collection.

What if I have bulk materials that need to be collected, like a refrigerator or a mattress?

  • Bulk items will be serviced on the same day as regular collection without an additional cost. A full list of bulk items will be identified in an upcoming public education campaign and are listed below. Items not identified in the campaign language must be broken down to fit into the cart for regular collection, or a special collection may be requested by the homeowner through the City’s refuse vendor for an additional cost.
  • No charge bulk items include appliances, furniture, rolled and tied carpet less than four feet in length, doors, mirrors, drained hot water tanks, mattresses, and branches less than four feet in length and bundled.
  • Special collection requests at a separate charge for the homeowner include things like debris from a home remodel, move outs/evictions, excessively large piles, wood with nails, wet paint cans/oils, refuse bags that cannot fit inside the cart, non-approved containers, dirt/soil, brick/block, and yard waste in plastic bags.

How long will it take to receive my new 96-gallon refuse cart and my 64-gallon recycle cart? 

  • All carts should be delivered during the month of April 2024. Servicing of the carts shall begin May 1, 2024.

What if my cart is broken or damaged during servicing?

  • The carts are warrantied by the vendor and will be repaired or replaced at no cost, so long as homeowner negligence is not identified.

How will yard waste be collected?

  • Yard waste may be placed in brown paper bags purchased from a local hardware store. Homeowners may also purchase a 96-gallon yard waste cart from the City’s refuse vendor. 

What can I do with my old refuse/yard waste container?

  • Priority Waste will collect and dispose or recycle your old container. Simply place the unwanted cart at the curb starting May 1 with a note taped to the cart or a RED X so we know it is okay to throw away. Or you can use the old can in your garage or basement to collect refuse in bags for servicing. For those who participated in the curbside recycling program, your old recycle cart will be collected by the former vendor on your last service date in April.

What if I am a current subscriber of curbside recycling?

  • Your final invoice will be prorated through April 30, 2024 based on your specific billing cycle. There will be no interruption in service to your home. The 10,000 current subscribers to the program will no longer pay a separate $57 annual recycling fee.

What will happen with the recycle center?

  • With the ability to recycle from the curb, the recycle center will be closed, saving over $150,000 annually. 

How do I currently pay for refuse collection? 

  • Residents pay for refuse annually through a special refuse millage in their current property taxes which averages $107 (or $8.92 per month). The new price averages $136 per year (or $11.33 per month). The increase is largely attributable to inflationary factors resulting from the expired contract that was eight years old.  The new service includes a heavy duty refuse cart & recycling cart with weekly curbside collection. The cost is lower than what many surrounding communities are paying for refuse and recycling services.  

Will I be billed separately for this new value added service? 

  • No, the cost of this program is contained in the refuse tax.

Where can I store my refuse & recycle cart?

  • Carts can be stored in your garage or behind the front line of your home, either on the side of your home or behind.

Where can I get more information?  

  • The City will soon begin a public education campaign that will include mailers, town hall meetings, social media, and information in the seasonal City magazine.
  • Contact the Department of Public Works at (586) 446-2440.