​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.

Normal Household Garbage is defined as:

Materials and perishable items that would be placed out for collection in your weekly trash container.  These include your everyday household trash items. Normal household recyclables are defined as materials which are capable of being recycled, including newspapers, card-board, plastic containers labeled #1 through #7, and containers made of glass, steel and aluminum. The following are not considered normal household garbage.

Yard Debris (Yard Trash) is defined as:

Vegetative matter including shrubs, palm fronds, tree trimmings, grass clippings, bushes, leaves, twigs or cut up tree branches.

Construction/Demolition Debris (C&D) is defined as:

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

White Goods are defined as:

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.


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

FIRST PRIORITY - Normal Household Garbage

Place in your regular collection cart container or in heavy duty plastic bags, and place where you would normally locate it for your regular weekly collection.


Small quantities should be prepared as for weekly collection, in containers, bags or bundles of less than 50 pounds. Prepare all yard debris in accordance with local collection policies and procedures.

Large quantities of storm related yard debris should be placed alongside the curb, with trees and branches prepared into easily manageable lengths. Do not place near low hanging objects or around mail boxes, water meters or fire hydrants. Large quantities of storm related yard debris may be collected using a mechanical grab that will require room to operate.

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.

THIRD PRIORITY - Construction Debris, Recyclables, White Goods, Bulk Items, Electronic Equipment, Tires and Lead Acid Batteries

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.

Small quantities of C&D:

In many areas, small quantities of C&D materials (less than two (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.

White goods:

Refrigerators, freezers and other appliances MUST be emptied of their contents prior to collection. Refrigerators and or freezers containing food waste or other rotting wastes will not be collected.


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, FEMA, Solid Waste and the Sheriff's Office will be assessing the damage and road conditions to determine when collections can resume.