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Marketing & Communications

Posted on: May 5, 2021

Medical Verification To Be Required for Backyard Garbage Collection

Starting July 1, the city will stop providing backyard garbage collection to any household that has not submitted a letter from a medical provider verifying that no one in the house is capable of rolling a garbage cart to the curb.

The letter will have to be dated and printed on the medical practice letterhead.

 Existing exemptions from curbside garbage collection will no longer be in effect. Households that currently have an exemption will have to apply for a new exemption and submit the letter from their medical provider.

The Sanitation Division will be sending letters to the houses that currently have backyard garbage collection, notifying the occupants of the pending change and need to reapply.

This change does not affect backyard recycling collections.

Households that need an exemption from curbside garbage collection should start the process of getting a new exemption soon, to allow time to get the doctor’s statement and submit their exemption request before the change takes effect July 1. 

More information and the curbside exemption application form are posted at CityofWS.org/Sanitation. Residents without access to a computer should call CityLink 311 and ask that an application be mailed to them.

The City Council approved the change in February. The council also approved a new, three-year time limit for curbside garbage exemptions. 

The city established exemptions when it adopted curbside collection in 2010, in recognition that there would be instances when no one in a house would be physically capable of rolling the garbage and recycling carts to the curb.

Currently, 3,525 houses are exempt from curbside collection – 4.3 percent of the estimated 81,600 houses that the Sanitation Department serves weekly. In comparison, other cities in North Carolina with curbside collection have exemptions for fewer than 1 percent of the houses they serve. All these cities grant exemptions for only one or two years before requiring recertification, and all but Durham require a medical letter confirming the need for an exemption. Until the City Council approved the changes, Winston-Salem had neither provision. 


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