​When your County has been included in a Disaster Declaration

Hurricanes can inundate Southwest Florida with millions of tons of debris, including normal household garbage, household chemical waste, appliances, construction / demolition, and yard debris. Segregating this debris is critical in assisting in the recovery efforts for your community.

To help ensure that debris is collected in the most efficient, safe, and timely manner, we recommend that you follow these simple guidelines when clearing debris from your property after the next big storm hits.  Businesses and owners of vacant lots are required to make their own arrangements for debris clean-up.

First Priority

Normal Household Garbage

Normal Household Garbage is defined as materials and perishable items that are placed out for weekly collection in your trash container.  These include your everyday household trash items.  Place in your regular collection cart container or in the heavy duty plastic bags, and place in the normal location for your regular weekly collection.

The items below are not considered normal household garbage.

Second Priority

Normal Household Recyclables

Normal household recyclables are defined as materials capable of being recycled, including:

  • newspapers
  • cardboard
  • plastic containers labeled #1 through #7
  • containers made of glass, steel and aluminum

Yard Debris (Yard Trash)

Vegetative matter including shrubs, palm fronds, tree trimmings, grass clippings, bushes, leaves, twigs or cut up tree branches.  Small quantities should be prepared the same as for weekly collection, in containers, bags, or bundles of less than 50 pounds.  Large quantities of vegetative storm debris can be piled at the curb for mechanical collection.

Do not place near low hanging objects or around mailboxes and utility equipment, including power poles, power lines, electric meters, fire hydrants, etc.

Collection crews will not enter private property to collect debris.

Third Priority

Construction/Demolition Debris (C&D)

Materials directly relating to construction or demolition of buildings, such as cement, glass, drywall, insulation, concrete block, etc. 

White Goods

Large discarded appliances including refrigerators, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers, water heaters, freezers, microwave ovens, and air conditioners.  All items must be empty of all contents.  Refrigerators and freezers containing food waste or other rotting wastes will not be collected.

Bulk Items
Electronic Equipment

You will be notified through media when collection of these items will take place.  Disposal rules for small quantities of C&D materials vary by location, so look for media notices for specific guidance as to how best to dispose of these materials in your respective areas.


There will be separate collections for each material and they will be picked up according to priority in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Only yard debris directly generated from the storm event will be collected.  Land clearing and landscape improvement activities are not eligible for collection.  Debris from these activities will require removal and disposal to be arranged by the property owner at their expense.

There will be no collection of large quantities of yard debris on private roads or in gated communities unless properties in these locations are included in a FEMA declaration or where an immediate threat to  health and safety exists.

Small quantities of C&D

In many areas, small quantities of C&D materials (less than 2 cubic yards) may be allowed to be placed at the curb alongside of normal household garbage. These materials would generally be containerized and/or bundled, weighing less than 50 pounds each and not exceeding six (6) feet in length.

These materials may be collected with the normal household garbage provided that the materials are appropriate with your local collection policies and ordinances.


As the storm approaches and in the immediate aftermath, look out for special notices in the local newspapers, special bulletins on your local government website, local radio and television channels, and other communications media. 

During the first 72 hours after the storm has passed, Lee County Dept. of Transportation, Law Enforcement, and other responders will be assessing the damage and road conditions to determine when collections can resume.