Frequently Asked Questions


No.  Yardwaste must be placed in paper yardwaste bags, placed loose in 32-gallon trash cans, or bundled with string/twine.

    1. Yardwaste is collected year around.  During the winter months all yardwaste is collected with garbage.  During the rest of the year, yardwaste may be collected separately.

As of April 6, 2020, the City and Waste Management agreed to a limit of four 32-gallon cans or paper yardwaste bags.  This limit will be in effect until further notice, and is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

    1. At any time yardwaste may be collected separately so it may be composted.   For that to occur, it must be prepared properly. Also, your garbage collection is limited to five containers, while yardwaste is unlimited.  The collection contractor must be able to identify the yardwaste so it doesn’t count against the five container limit for garbage.

The first goal of the City and collection contractor is to pick up all material on the day of collection.  Currently, the collection contractor has not been able to hire enough qualified drivers to complete separate collection of yardwaste citywide on the day of collection.  It is lawful for yardwaste to go the landfill used by the City. The Pheasant Point landfill generates electricity for OPPD from the decomposing garbage and yardwaste increases that electricity generating capability.  The collection contractor is compensating the City for the cost of the increased tonnage going to the landfill.

The Cooperative Extension can help you understand your landscaping and maintenance options, but here are four brochures to get you started related to reducing the amount of grass you collect.

Your choice.  Remove the pot and it’s yardwaste.  Pot and all, it’s garbage.

No. You must empty the leaves out of the pumpkin bags and into either paper yardwaste bags, or loose into 32-gallon trash cans.

If the bales are still in good shape so that someone else could use them, place them on the curb with a sign that says FREE. If not picked up in a couple days, be a good neighbor and dispose of them this next way.

Properly prepare the material for yardwaste collection. Because the bales are likely too heavy, you will need to break apart the bales of straw for collection. Put the straw in paper yardwaste bags, or loose in a trash can.

During the few weeks following Christmas, there are Christmas tree collection sites.  Haul the tree to these sites the same way you got the tree to your home. For more information about the Christmas tree drop-off sites, click here.  Once these sites close, or if you choose at any time, you may prepare the tree for collection as yardwaste by trimming the branches and either bundling or placing in paper yardwaste bags or loose in trash cans.  Be aware that the trunk may be too large for yardwaste collection.

No.  We consider those things household garbage because they have a lot of wire, twine and other decorations incorporated into them.  

No.  We consider those things household garbage.


Yes. We offer recycling service to all home owners in Omaha. Your recycling is picked up once per week, the same day as garbage and yardwaste is collected. Omaha uses a system called “single stream” which means that you can combine everything into one bin. To prevent litter we ask that paper items be put in a paper bag. It’s very easy and is offered as a service to household paid for by property taxes, sales taxes and other revenue sources.

Due to budget restrictions, we no longer deliver recycling bins. Recycling bins are still free, however now you must pick up bin from one of five locations. For a listing of locations click here.

Curbside recycling is picked up every other week, the same day as garbage and yardwaste collection. Recycling, garbage, and yardwaste will be picked up at separate times on that day and may occur any time from 6AM until 7PM.  To determine which week is recycling week for you, look up your address here, and follow the calendar for A or B collection group posted here.

Recycling is collected every other week on the same day as garbage collection.  To give an accurate answer we’ll need to look up the address. You may do so by clicking here or call 402-444-5238 for assistance in determining your collection day and whether you are in the A group or the B group.  Then follow the calendar posted here.

A complete explanation is available when you click here or you can jump directly to our recycling chart.

To put it simply you may place the following in your green recycling bin:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel cans
  • Plastics bottles and packaging 1, 2, 3 and 5 (check the bottom of the bottle for number inside a triangle set of arrows)
  • Milk cartons, juice and soup boxes
  • We don’t accept glass in the bin. Glass can be recycled at the drop-off sites.

Put the following in a paper bag so you don’t cause litter and then place in the bin:

  • All clean paper including newspapers, magazines, junk mail and cardboard.

The city switched to a new and easy way of recycling called “single stream” to make it even easier for our residents to participate. You don’t need to cut boxes down or sort paper any longer. Just place your recyclables like cans and plastic bottles in your green bin and your paper materials in a paper bag or small box to help prevent litter and you are done! It’s O! so easy. The new system is also more economical to collect and process, helping us become more efficient so we use taxpayer dollars wisely.

Omaha switched to single-stream recycling collection to make recycling even easier but single-stream recycling is collected in a compactor truck that would break glass. This meant that Omaha had to remove glass from the system because it can be dangerous for the recycling workers and contaminate other materials such as paper. You can still recycle glass by taking your glass to one of the Omaha area drop-off sites. The list of drop-off sites is available by clicking here.

Six holidays are observed by the collection contractor and affect the collection schedule of all material, recycling, garbage and yardwaste. When holidays occur during the work week collection is delayed by one day for the remainder of that week, with the regularly scheduled Friday collection occurring on Saturday. View our holiday schedule » An e-mail reminders service about the holiday collection schedule is available. To register click here.

Visit our website at Also watch your mail for our publication WASTELINE that is mailed out several times per year. To look at back issues, click here.

Omaha’s recycling program offers an easy and convenient way for you to do good, all from the comforts of your own home. Recycling is O! So Easy. By placing your recyclables in your green recycling bin, you can help divert materials from the landfill and help preserve natural resources. Each year residents of Omaha recycle around 15,000 tons of materials. That equates to half a million dollars in energy resources saved each year.

Recyclables are picked up once per week in Omaha. Deffenbaugh Industries, our collection contractor, uses packer trucks, commonly called garbage trucks, with large yellow RECYCLING signs on the side to collect and transport the recyclables. The recyclables are taken to an indoor, semi-automated, processing facility operated by Firstar Fiber. Firstar Fiber separates the different materials, compacts and bales the material for shipment to various companies to make new items. By using recycled resources to make new items, companies save billions of dollars each year in energy costs.

Here is an example of the process: an aluminum can that is recycled in Omaha, will be shipped to an aluminum plant where it is melted and used to make a new can that is then back on store shelves in as little as 60 days. That is called closed loop recycling and it starts right in your kitchen when you choose to recycle that can!

We offer recycling to all the single-family households in Omaha and also the apartment buildings where the property owner has registered to recycle solid waste collection from the City of Omaha. For apartment buildings that we don’t provide service to, we do encourage you to use any of the Omaha drop-off locations. A listing of drop-off sites is available by clicking here.

Yes, you need to use the green recycling bin. The collection drivers are looking for the green bin to know there are recyclables to collect. Always use the green recycling bin and you may use a box or paper sack to hold additional recyclables.

To dispose of a broken recycling bin, you need a bright orange label that we can either mail you, if you call the solid waste help line at 402-444-5238, or ask for a bin disposal label when you pick up a replacement recycling bin at one of the recycling bin distribution locations that are listed by clicking here.


No, the limit is still 5 containers.

Each crew picks up the waste from over 2,000 households per day. The 45 pound limit is a federal guideline to protect the workers from injury. They are very experienced and will give the benefit of the doubt to the resident unless it’s grossly over weight.

The weight limit on cans is 45 pounds. The containers will need to be less than 45 pounds to be collected next week. To avoid this situation in the future, we suggest using trash cans with lids or switching to bags instead.

Your next day of collection.

The contractor is not responsible for litter in the area prior to their arrival.

The contractor is not required to dig out trash that is stuck in the bottom of the can. It is not safe for the collector to reach into a trash can. To avoid this problem, you could use plastic bags for garbage and the special paper yardwaste bags.

Branches need to be securely bundled to avoid this. The crew is not responsible for picking up branches that are not bundled securely.

This is considered theft of City property and should be reported to the non-emergency police number at 402-444-5600. It helps if you have a good description of the person, their vehicle and license plate number.

The City’s municipal code and our contract with Deffenbaugh prohibits the use of black bags however it is the discretion of the contractor to risk penalties at the landfill if unauthorized items have been discarded in a black bag.

Six holidays are observed by the collection contractor and affect the collection schedule of all material, recycling, garbage and yardwaste. When holidays occur during the work week collection is delayed by one day for the remainder of that week, with the regularly scheduled Friday collection occurring on Saturday. View our holiday schedule » An e-mail reminders service about the holiday collection schedule is available. To register click here.

Our contractor doesn’t want to mistakenly dispose of a trash can that you want to keep and repair so you must follow these instructions. To dispose of a trash can, call 402-444-5238. The clerk that answers will take down your name, address and the number of trash cans you need to dispose. Instructions and labels that must be applied to your unwanted trash cans will be mailed to you.


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