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No one wants to think too much about garbage, but it’s actually pretty important, especially when you move into a new home. That’s because without the right equipment and without knowledge of your town’s rules and regulations regarding collection, you can end up with uncollected trash, and a smelly situation.

Know the schedule: Your local township’s website should let you know when garbage pickup is in your neighborhood. It’s best to put everything out the night before, in case your sanitation workers come very early in the morning. Also find out which holidays affect pickup, and when the makeup day is.

Recycling regulations: Virtually all municipalities have some sort of system involving recycling. Chances are you’ll have to separate glass, cardboard, and newspaper, but you’ll need to find out if your town provides receptacles for these or if you need to get your own.

Other rules: Most towns have standards regarding putting your garbage out. For example, if Monday is your trash collection day, you may not be allowed to put your garbage out earlier than, say, 3 p.m. on Sunday.

In the fall, find out when leaf collection is, and if leaves need to be bagged or simply raked to the curb. There also may be limits on the size and weight of garbage cans, and restrictions on the collection of items such as electronics and pool chemicals.

Buy the right garbage can: This may seem simple, but there are a lot of options out there. Obviously, you need a garbage can because putting bags out at your curb is an invitation for animals to invade your trash for food. But wind can knock over cans or blow the lid off, which creates the same situation. Invest in a quality garbage can that is sturdy and isn’t easy to tip over, and which has an attached lid.

Special pickup: Let’s say you take on a home improvement project, such as installing a new floor or renovating your bathroom. This is likely to create a large amount of trash and debris that cannot be placed in cans. Your town may have regulations as to how to prepare these things for collection, or you may need to rent special bins or receptacles. Otherwise, you may be responsible for carting the materials to your local municipal dump.

Following local trash collection regulations can make your life easier, and help you become a good neighbor.

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