How to Use Dumpsters in New York City

Dumpster usage rules are strictly enforced in New York City.
Dumpster usage rules are strictly enforced in New York City. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The largest city in the United States, New York City is home to an estimated 20 million people. With this many people on the island of Manhattan, sanitation matters must be strictly regulated and enforced. Whether you have a temporary dumpster for a construction project, or a permanent dumpster adjacent to a commercial enterprise, the New York Department of Sanitation and the Department of Transportation are the two agencies who set the guidelines for proper usage.

Apply for a permit. If you are using a dumpster for a construction project, a permit must be obtained from the New York City Department of Transportation's Bureau of Permit Management and Construction Control. Prior to applying for the actual dumpster permit, you must complete a permittee registration application. Both the permittee registration and dumpster permit applications are accessible online through the NYC311 website at A fee will be required.

Store the dumpster properly. Permanent commercial business dumpsters must be stored in the rear of the premises. If the dumpster is temporary for a construction project, sidewalk or street placement is permissible, as long as you apply for and are granted a permit. However, you cannot block a street or sidewalk with it.

Follow Operation Dumpster guidelines. According to the New York City Department of Sanitation Operation Dumpster enforcement guidelines, if the garbage service picks up trash during the day, refuse must be placed outside within two hours of collection time. If the scheduled pickup is after closing time, refuse should be out an hour before the business closes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact the New York City Sanitation Department at 212-219-8090 for more information.
  • To find a reputable dumpster rental service, contact the New York City Better Business Bureau
  • Never leave refuse outside over the weekend: This is a violation of NYC sanitation codes.

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