Commercial Waste FAQs

What is commercial waste?

Commercial waste is all waste generated by a commercial establishment, which is any building that does not constitute a dwelling, as defined by CMC Section 729-1-D1. Effective Oct. 7, 2013, commercial establishments will include residential buildings with 5 or more dwelling units, as well as commercial buildings and buildings with a mix of residential and commercial uses ("mixed-use buildings").

Commercial waste does not include construction and demolition debris, infectious waste, or hazardous waste. Commercial waste does not include recyclable materials, food waste materials, or yard waste materials unless those items are taken to a landfill.

What are the new requirements for commercial waste collection in Cincinnati?

Owners of commercial establishments, residential buildings with 5 or more dwelling units, and small businesses must have their solid waste collected by a commercial waste hauler who has a franchise agreement with the City. The City established the commercial waste collection franchise system as part of a larger package of amendments to the solid waste provisions of Cincinnati Municipal Code ("CMC"). See CMC Chapters 729 & 730, as amended by Ordinances No. 489-2012, 463-2012, 41-2013, and 64-2013.

Why is the City going to discontinue trash service to apartment buildings and small businesses?

Eliminating City service to commercial buildings and residential buildings with 5 or more dwelling units will allow the City to provide trash collection more efficiently, save costs on annual worker's compensation claims, save money on tipping fees paid to the landfill, and promote a cleaner environment by regulating trash receptacles and set-out procedures. Additionally, the new program provides an equitable manner of solid waste disposal for all citizens and clear, consistent regulations for commercial operators within the City. The establishment of a commercial waste franchise system will ensure quality service for commercial waste customers and will encourage commercial waste collectors and their customers to reduce the amount of recyclable and yard waste materials that are unnecessarily transported to area landfills.

Will a list of the authorized franchisees be publicly available?

Yes, the City will make the list of authorized commercial waste franchisees available on our website in early May. The City may have up to 8 franchised commercial waste service providers.

What is the deadline for me to find a franchised waste hauler?

If you are a business owner and have an existing contract with a private company to collect your commercial waste, the waste collection company must have a franchise with the City by May 1, 2013 to continue collecting commercial waste in the City. After October 7, 2013, the City will no longer service commercial buildings, mixed use buildings or buildings with 5 or more dwelling units. The City will notify owners regarding elimination of service. Affected owners will need to select a franchised waste hauler before October 7, 2013.

Do I hire them, or does the City?

Building owners must hire a franchised commercial waste hauler.

Can I take my own trash to a dump?

You must follow all state and local laws regarding proper disposal of solid waste, including disposal in state permitted or licensed solid waste management facilities only. If you take your trash to a licensed solid waste facility, you will have to pay all applicable fees.

I already have a contract with a private waste hauler. Will my rates go up?

Beginning May 1, 2013, authorized waste haulers collecting commercial waste within the City will pay a 10% franchise fee to the City. The new commercial franchise program does not impose a fee on building owners; however, haulers may choose to pass this cost along to their customers as a rate increase. Building owners are encouraged to review their existing contracts regarding rate increases.

Do I pay the City or my waste hauler?

The waste hauler is responsible for payment of all franchise fees as part of their franchise agreement with the City. The City has not imposed a fee on building owners.

Will the commercial waste franchisees offer curbside trash collection, or do I have to get a dumpster for my building?

Several of the commercial waste franchisees will offer curbside collection. If you are placing your trash at the curb for collection by a franchised hauler, the container will have to meet certain minimal requirements and bear the franchisee’s name. Pricing and container options may vary between franchisees.

Will the City still collect my recycling?

If you currently have a City-issued recycling cart, service will continue.

How will the City enforce unlicensed commercial waste hauling?

The Public Services Department will enforce the commercial waste franchise system. A person performing commercial waste collection services in the City without an authorized franchise will be fined.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

A person who violates a provision of commercial waste franchise system is liable for a civil fine for a Class D Civil Offense, with an initial fine of $500.