2023 City Trash Pick-up Program

As we launch our new trash and recycling program please keep in mind some of the positives as we make changes to our daily habits in an attempt to make removing trash and recycling easier. Some of the benefits to keep in mind include no longer needing to buy expensive blue bags; reduced storage and stockpiling of trash in garages, basements, and backyards causing problems with animals and rodents, as well as torn bags and blowing trash.

Requiring trash to be in containers allows for a more efficient pick-up and a more reasonable cost spread across city residents. The new system will also bring reduced truck traffic.

 Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q.           When does the new system take effect?

A.    January 2nd, 2023

Q.           When will I receive the new trash and recycling totes?

A.    Black (trash) and blue (recycling) totes will be dropped off towards the end of December.

Q.           How many totes do I get?

A.    Two, one black tote for trash and one blue tote for recycling per home or apartment unit. An additional tote can be obtained for a fee of $250.00 annually. This price is to discourage excessive waste.

Q.           Are there different size totes?

A.    Yes, while we recommend a larger size as to allow for the “extra trash” weeks, there are smaller sets for the convenience of residents who may have trouble physically handling the larger totes. Please be aware that there are a limited number of small totes available and they are intended for people with limited mobility.

Q.           What are the tote sizes?

A.    Large totes are 29w x 34d x 42t holding 95 gallons, which is approximately 7 kitchen bags. Smaller totes are 25.5w x 28d x 42t holding 68 gallons, which is approximately 5 kitchen bags. Please be aware that there are a limited number of small totes available and they are intended for people with limited mobility.

Q.           How do I get different sized tote?

A.    Click here for on-line form, call the Mayor’s office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org with your name and address and we will put you on a list.

Q.           What should I do if I am not home when totes are distributed?

A.    Ask a neighbor if they can put your totes somewhere after they are delivered, or call the Mayor's office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org with your name and address and we will put you on a list to make other arrangements.

Q.           What if I didn’t receive a tote?

A.    Call the Mayor's office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org.

Q.           What will I do with my old recycling bin?

A.    While recycling must now be done in the blue tote, you can keep your old bin to use for other purposes, or put it out (empty) on your pickup day during the first week in January. DPW will pick up empty old bins the following day and recycle them.

Q.           Can I put trash out in other types of containers, like a trash can?

A.    No, because the truck design is specific to a certain type and size container it is necessary to use the totes provided by the City.

Q.           What do I do if I live in or am an owner of a multi-family residence?

A.    Property owners and tenants of more than 3 units will be responsible for their own trash removal, as having and storing that many totes for most properties can be difficult.

Q.           What if I live in a boarding house or student housing with multiple people?

A.    The maximum for a single family unit would be 2 totes of trash. If more is needed, a private hauler or dumpster service is required.

Q.           Can I opt out or use my own hauler?

A.    Yes. If you wish to opt out of City pickup and use of the totes, please click here for on-line form, call the Mayor's office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org with your name and address and we will put you on the opt out list.

Q.           If I opt out or use my own hauler, do I get a rebate?

A.    No. Pricing is calculated as a bulk rate and included in the City’s general budget.

Q.           What do I do if I am currently using a private hauler and now want to switch to the City’s trash pick-up system?

A.    All residents will automatically be enrolled in the new trash system, unless they specifically opt out.

Q.           Do I pay more for trash service?

A.    No. The trash service has been included in the City budget funded by property taxes. The 2023 tax rate increases by 2% or $21 per $100,000 of assessment. Factors in this increase include elimination of budget deficits and increases in health insurance and other costs.  The overall cost to taxpayers for the trash and recycling program will be less.

Q.           What if I have blue bags left over after the trash system change?

A.    If you haven’t used the trash bags you have purchased, you can use them as long as they are in the trash tote. There will not be reimbursements for bags already purchased.

Q.           Will my trash and recycling pickup day change?

A.    If your pick-up day is currently on Friday, it will change to Thursday. The pickup schedule will remain the same for the Monday-Thursday pick-up routes.

Q.           What if there is a holiday during the week of trash pickup?

A.    In the event of a holiday during the trash week, pickup will be pushed back a day.

Q.           Where do I put the tote for pickup?

A.    As close to the curb as possible. A flat area between sidewalk and curb works best. Otherwise, a driveway entrance will work for snow days, etc. Please note that the truck has arms that can only reach so far. The metal arm on the tote and arrow on top of the tote should be pointed at the street.

Q.           When should I put my totes out?

A.    Please put them out no sooner than 5:00 p.m. the day before pickup and no later than 7:00 a.m. the day of.

Q.           When should I bring my totes back in?

A.    Please remove them from the curb the same day as pickup.

Q.           Can I leave my tote by the road instead of bringing it in each time?

A.    No. Totes should be stored somewhere less obvious to keep our city looking nice.

Q.           What can go into trash containers?

A.    Typical household trash. No paints, chemicals or construction debris is allowed.

Q.           Do I need bags in the totes?

A.    No. Using a trash bag of your choice is recommended to help keep your tote cleaner, bags are not necessary for pickup.

Q.           Why are recycling totes so large?

A.    The blue recycling totes are to allow for cardboard boxes. Please break down boxes as to allow them to freely dump out.

Q.           What can be in recycling totes?

A.    All standard recycling items as per the county website. (https://www.cortland-co.org/278/Recycling). *Please note glass is NOT recyclable and can be put into the trash tote or brought separately to the recycling center at 137 Pendleton Street, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as they have alternative use.

Q.           Does cardboard have to be in totes?

A.    Yes. Cardboard must be broken down and placed in the tote.

Q.           What happens if my trash does not get picked up or it gets tagged?

A.    Your tag should state what the recycling or trash issue was and how to correct it for your next scheduled pickup day. If you have questions, call the Mayor's office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org.

Q.           What happens if the trash hauler damages my tote?

A.    Call the Mayor's office at 607-753-0872 or email trash@cortland.org with your name and address and type of tote that was damaged and we will drop off a new one at no cost. The totes are under warranty.