Garbage Container Conversion FAQs

If your home shares a 300-gallon garbage container in the alley, it will be converted to a 90-gallon individual cart starting Monday, March 7th, 2022. The conversion takes about 3 weeks. Each home will receive a cart that is tagged to the address. Below are answers to frequently asked questions for your reference. Please also refer to Quick Start Guide for Alley Collection and Quick Start Guide for Curbside Collection.

  1. What day is my garbage collected?

    Please search by address on the Solid Waste Routes Map

  2. What if I have extra garbage?

    Please bag or box extra household garbage and set them out for pick up on designated Mondays of the month. There’s also the option to request additional carts.

  3. How do I request an additional cart?

    An additional container is $3.94/mo. Please contact the Billing Department at (406) 657-8315 and select option #3. Once your account information is updated, a container will be delivered. Each household is allowed 2 carts.

  4. Where do I put the cart?

        a. For the majority, carts will be collected in the alley. Find more details on                the Quick Start Guide for Alley Collection.

            On your Day of Service
            Make sure your cart is in the alley by 7:00 am, on the side where the old 300-gallon            bin was originally located, and 4 ft away from fence and all obstacles.
            On other days
            Keep your cart stored on your property, or along your designated side of the alley.
        b. For streets that have been notified, carts will be collected on the curb for safety          reasons. Find more details on the Quick Start Guide for Curbside Collection.
            On your Day of Service
            Make sure your cart is out front on the curb by 7:00 am; 4 ft away from all obstacles    
            On other days
            Keep your cart stored on your property.

  5. What are the guidelines for garbage collection?

    Please make sure to leave 4 ft of space around the cart. Place garbage in bags. Do not over fill. Only set out extras on designated Mondays of the month.

  6. What about the elderly and disabled?

    If moving the cart is a concern, carts can be left out at the designated location.

  7. What about yard waste?

    Yard waste carts will continue to be collected on the curb. Please do not store or place yard waste carts in the alley.

  8. What do I do with the old 300-gallon container?

    Now that you have your 90-gallon cart, please stop using the 300-gallon container. Those will be removed soon.

  9. What about multi-family and commercial?

    Depending on the circumstance, a triplex or larger may continue using their 300 or metal container. Some areas are currently using 90s for multi-family, we will work with those situations to ensure good service is provided.

  10. Will my bill go down?

    No. Everyone will continue to pay the same rate as other residential customers that have 90-gallon carts.

  11. Why is the change being made?


    Safety is our first concern. The 300-gallon containers often drop into trucks causing injuries to drivers when removing them. Customers have been hurt from the larger lid falling and hitting their hand or arm.
    There will be about 3 times of the 90s as there are 300s, however, the same trucks will be used for collection. The trucks spend more time packing and waiting to be able to dump the next container when dumping 300s as compared to when dumping 90s, thus, the overall collection time is the same.
    A 300-gallon container cost $240 ea. A 90-gallon cart cost $54.50 ea. Significant workers compensation claims have occurred related to handling the 300-gallon containers. The nation as a whole is moving away from 300 services, leaving us with less options to work with for replacement containers and truck maintenance, etc.
    Less Abuse 
    There is much less abuse of waste where 90s are present. The reason we cannot get through the alleys each week is because there is that much more waste on the ground. The abuse of the 300s in the alleys by illegal dumpers, residents, businesses, out of town persons, etc. adds a lot more garbage. We have calculated that there is between 20-25% more garbage in areas where there are 300 for residents compared to 90s for residents.
    Service Consistency 
    There are about 21,000 customers that are currently using 90-gallon carts. They pay for a second cart if needed. All residential customers will have the same level of service after this conversion.

  12. What happens to the 300-gallon containers? Can residents buy them?

    Many of the old 300s need to be replaced and thrown away. The rest will be sold to other cities in Montana. They will not be sold to residents.
  13. The conversion is estimated to cost $1M. How is this conversion paid for?

    No matter what versions of containers are used, they wear out over time. The City has to make the right decision to invest now so that it saves money in the long run. Many of the old 300s need to be replaced and thrown away. The 300-gallon containers cost more money to replace and repair than the 90s. Across the country, fewer municipalities still have the 300s for residential use which means the 300s will cost even more in the future. Replacement of containers is part of the budget. Around 21,000 households in Billings have been using 90 containers and paying for a second cart if needed.
  14. Why are Heights residents being asked to move their containers back to the alley after they were moved to the street a couple of years ago?

    The move to street side for about 600 homes in the Heights was an error. This move back to alleys is to allow the property owners to enjoy the benefits of alley collection. Alley collection is performed using 90-gallon carts in municipalities across the country as a positive attribute to homes that have alleys behind them. After this conversion, the majority of Billings homes will continue to enjoy the benefits of alley garbage collection, while only some streets will have curbside collection due to safety reasons or lack of alley. We do apologize for the confusion.