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'Oops': When Arlington residents can expect tags, fines if they violate new trash cart policies

A gray Arlington trash cart is being emptied in a Republic Services truck using metal arms. A few recycling and garbage carts can be seen behind the truck.
Terry Ip
City of Arlington
Arlington residents can expect to receive orange tags on their doors or trash carts that say “Oops” if they do not follow trash pickup rules during the city's transition to automated weekly pickup.

Arlington residents who are not following new trash collection rules may receive citations in the coming months as Republic Services transitions to automated once-a-week pickup.

Code compliance officers are conducting twice-a-week checks in neighborhoods for trash carts left in public view and people who have not yet started using the 95-gallon trash carts, according to Brian Daugherty, Arlington Code Compliance Services director.

Those out of compliance could receive orange tags on their doors or trash carts that say “Oops.”

Daugherty told city council Tuesday that about 3,300 homes have thus far improperly stored their carts.

Code compliance will not issue citations for cart location until July. If the department receives a complaint about trash carts still out, the department will issue policy reminders on first offense; a notice of violation on third offense; and a civil citation with a fine of at least $37 on third offense.

“We hope to get everyone on the same page,” Daugherty told council. “It gives them time to get a storage requirement if they want an enclosure, or if enough of them talk to you all and you want to revisit storage requirements, that’s also a possibility if it goes that route.”

Republic Services also has “oops” tags of their own.

Two orange tags say the phrase "Oops!" One is from the city of Arlington, the other from Republic Services.
Kailey Broussard
The City of Arlington Code Compliance Services and Republic Services will issue orange notices to residents who do not use their new trash carts or fail to hide them out of public view.

Trash truck drivers will begin placing orange stickers on trash bags that are placed on curbsides starting March 11. People who receive the stickers can call Republic Services and request collection the next day if they place bagged trash inside their carts.

Republic Services will collect trash bags placed alongside full carts as the operator distributes additional trash carts to residents who requested them. That will end in April, when Republic Services places tags on trash bags to indicate which households may need to order additional carts.

Starting the week of March 18, people who are not using trash carts at all will receive violation notices from code compliance. After a couple of notices, code compliance could issue citations that carry fines, Daugherty said.

Republic Services has distributed more than 103,000 95-gallon carts to Arlington homes, according to Nora Coronado, director of asset management. Since the rollout in early February, the city and Republic Services have received around 2,500 calls.

“A lot of it has been clarifying questions and some misses, of course, but they’re being handled,” Coronado said.

Residents who have Wednesday recycling days should begin using their trash carts Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.