What Belongs in Your Apartment Waste Bin (And What Doesn’t)

Recycling, valet trash, dumpsters, and garbage chutes. There are many ways to get rid of waste at your apartment — but what kind of waste belongs where? Learn the do’s and don’ts of throwing away your garbage when living in an apartment!

Valet Trash

What doesn’t belong in valet trash: loose trash, single-bagged pet waste, trash bags not approved by your apartment’s valet compliance guide.

Valet trash is an amenity built into your rent expense that allows you to set your provided garbage bin outside for valet trash pickup. Apartments with valet trash will transport your waste to the facility dumpsters or off-site, affording you less hassle, more cleanliness, and less interaction with your apartment dumpster.

Valet trash is the perfect solution for general household waste, especially any potent food scraps that could make your apartment smell over time. Each apartment will provide a compliance guide if there are special requirements for trash bags or timelines.


What doesn’t belong in recycling: paper plates, plastic silverware, food containers, plastic bags, any packaging with signs of oil, paint, fuel, poisons, or medical waste.

Recycling is an elective amenity for apartment complexes and can be in the form of a recycling dumpster or valet recycling. Depending on your apartment’s compliance standards, you might need to separate your recycling into plastic, paper, metal, and glass. Remember to only recycle packaging without soils and stains — like pizza oil — on it. Also, be sure to remove caps and lids from all plastic recyclables!

Does your apartment not recycle? To start a recycling program, try creating a petition for a more environmentally conscious community.

Garbage Chutes

What doesn’t belong in a trash compactor: hangers, cardboard, newspapers, used diapers, open cans of paint, large linens such as comforters or blankets, pillows, kitty litter, strand lights, aerosol cans, Christmas trees, and hot coals.

Garbage chutes lead to trash compactors built into your apartment complex. It’s important to remember that any loose trash risks jamming the gears of a compactor or getting lodged in the garbage chute itself. Remember to properly bag your trash and refrain from overfilling it. This can help prevent your garbage from getting stuck in the chute or tearing before it falls into the compactor.


What doesn’t belong in a dumpster: adhesives, soil, cleaning fluids, medical waste, propane or fuels, non-alkaline batteries, paint, and tires.

Dumpsters allow you to control more about your waste management preferences. Overfilled garbage bags? Food scraps that need to find their way out of your apartment ASAP? Dirty diapers or kitty litter clean-up? Get them out on your schedule and into the safety of your community dumpster. If your apartment has specific timelines for trash disposal or additional tenant dumpster rules, they’ll be posted on or near the dumpster and clearly outlined in your lease.

Completely Illegal Trash Items

Each waste management system has its own list of specific no-go items, but did you know some things are illegal to throw away regardless of the trash system? These items include tires, electronics, and motor oil. Cities and municipalities will have information available online for how to take your garbage straight to the landfill to avoid any issues with your waste management system — or your landlord.

Dealing with trash and recycling can be a major pain as a renter. Find an apartment community with waste amenities that meet your needs with ApartmentSearch! Browse apartment communities and filter by amenities, size, rent costs, and more. Start your apartment search today!