Bag of rubbish beside bin

Martin Poole

Taking out the trash in La Crosse just became a little more complicated. A new set of refuse and recycling regulations has officially taken effect in the city, making for some significant changes in how residents can discard unwanted materials.

Though technically there’s no grace period, city staff will give people a little time to adjust, city Public Works Director Dale Hexom said. But a homeowner who puts a bag of trash curbside in the next couple weeks might see it left sitting there, he said.

The city recently sent out a mailing with details about the new requirements.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Containers are mandatory — no more putting out bags. The container must be no more than 48 gallons in size, have a lid and two handles and be filled with no more than 50 pounds.
  • Trash cannot be placed out more than 12 hours before collection.
  • Only four large items will be accepted each collection cycle, which is on the same two-week schedule as recyclables. Each item can’t weigh more than 200 pounds. Items with components, such as a table and chairs or mattress and boxspring, count as one; the weight limit, however, applies to the individual components, not the entire ensemble. 
  • The city no longer will be involved in disposing of major appliances. That doesn’t mean appliances won’t be picked up, but arrangements must be made by contacting Harter’s Quick Clean Up Service (the company contracted to pick up the city’s trash) or another waste-hauling company, not the city.
  • Electronics cannot be placed out for collection. That’s actually state law.
  • Scavenging — the practice of combing through garbage for certain items or materials — is not allowed except with written consent of the property owner or resident. Those caught scavenging can be fined.
  • Rental housing with more than eight bedrooms requires a Dumpster, plus separate containers for recyclables. Property owners can seek a waiver from the requirement if they lack space but still will no longer receive city trash collection services. They can share a Dumpster with an adjacent property.
  • Rental housing with fewer than nine bedrooms can have no more than six trash containers.

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