Illegal Dumping – Phoenix Laws, What to Do, & Resources

Whether you're a AZ newbie, or have lived here your whole life, it's important to understand Phoenix's regulations for trash collection, garbage pickup, and illegal dumping.

Here at AZ Junk we like to keep our reading entertaining, however,  sometimes we need to cover topics that are less than interesting but necessary nonetheless. 

With that being said...

According to the Phoenix Public Works Department, "bulk trash" refers to objects that are too large to discard in a normal garbage or recycling container, such as furniture and large appliances. Bulk trash collection only occurs four times a year, as opposed to the regular garbage and recycling collection days, which occur once a week.

However, since large and bulky objects are disposed of on these days, some people take this opportunity to illegally dump items that are not allowed.

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Below is a breakdown of Phoenix's regulations and procedures when it comes to illegally dumped garbage, what is currently being done about it and what you can do.

What to Know About Illegal Dumping

Children reporting illegal dumping activity

Illegal dumping is a concerning issue that affects urban and rural areas alike, causing significant harm to our communities and environment. Here are five key things everyone should know about this problem:


What is Illegal Dumping?

Illegal dumping refers to the act of discarding waste in unauthorized or unpermitted areas, often to evade disposal fees or the effort associated with proper disposal. Common items found at illegal dump sites include appliances, business trash, chemicals or medical waste, construction and demolition waste, furniture, and more. Here are many of the items that are considered harmful to dump illegally and why.


Reporting Illegal Dumping

If you discover a site of illegal dumping, it's imperative to report it. In Maricopa County, for example, dumping outside city limits can be reported online or by phone. Take note of the exact location, closest major crossroads, and, if possible, any identifiers of the person or company responsible. 

If you are able to, the Phoenix Public Works Department encourages anyone who witnesses illegal dumping to call with the following details:

  • Directions to the location of the site of the crime, a description of the size, shape, and other visual aspects of the dumped object. 

  • The date at which the dumping is thought to have occurred-descriptions of any vehicles or individuals that could be related to the dumping incident.
  • The name and contact information of the owner of the property at which the object was dumped.


City Contacts for Reporting

Most cities have designated contacts or online platforms for reporting illegal dumping. Utilize these resources to notify the appropriate authorities and ensure the dumped trash is addressed promptly.

In order to nip bad behavior in the bud, Phoenix encourages its residence to support any suspicious activity they may see to Crime Stop at 602-262-6151 or to the Public Works office at 602-262-7251 (you can, of course, always call 911 for emergencies). Information you give will be held confidential, and you can always ask to remain anonymous if you feel uncomfortable revealing your identity.

See more contact information and related local resources. 


The Role of the City

While reporting is the responsibility of the public, cleanup and health hazard analysis is the job of the city or county. They investigate illegal dumping to protect their residents' health through enforcement of environmental health codes.

Dumping garbage in Phoenix, AZ is a class two misdemeanor, according to the A.R.S. Section 49-791.Depending on the size and contents of the dump, fines can be as high as $15,000 or more for a single illegal dumping violation - not counting other possible penalties if the contents of the illegal dump include any illegally obtained or disallowed objects.


Waste and Recycling Resources

  1. To help fight against illegal dumping, many areas offer waste collection and recycling locations. In Maricopa County, there are plenty of household hazardous waste collection and recycling locations, helping residents reduce the amount of waste deposited in illegal dumping sites. Here at AZ Junk Removal we offer both dumpster rentals and garbage removals for Phoenix to provide you either a DIY option or a done for you service.

What Is Currently Being Done?

1. Increased clean up crews and raised fines

All over Maricopa, there are now more cleanup crews being assigned to clean larger areas where illegal dumpsites have become a big problem for AZ residents. To combat the rise of midnight dumping, the city has further increased fines for those who are convicted of illegal dumping. This has not been an easy task, yet the city has taken further steps to install surveillance equipment in areas that are repeated dumping targets.

2. New HD cameras are being installed

You've seen how bad some video surveillance tends to look, but that's all changing. The breakthrough of 4K video cameras being cheaper to purchase has helped to catch midnight dumpers. The identity of these people caught on cameras also gives authorities more proof in addition to identifying license plate numbers on vehicles that were involved. These images are shared with police authorities and the general public to bring them to justice.

These cameras are also simple to install in spots where repeat dumping offenses have already happened. As more spots are becoming hotspots for dumping, hidden cameras are making it easier to catch them sooner.

3. Introduction of free and low-cost trash disposal services

Maricopa has also announced new initiatives to inform its residents where to find free or low-cost disposal services to reduce the chances of illegal dumping. It's not that local officials are blaming AZ residents for illegal dumping, but the effort to inform everyone how to dispose of their trash is a lot easier. Despite the restrictions that some residents are experiencing due to COVID-19, some alternatives can help those who are struggling.

4. More education programs describing better ways to recycle being launched

Additionally, the launching of programs that help target recycling practices also helps promote better ways to combat illegal dumping. Each of the cities including Scottsdale, Mesa, and Glendale, and many other cities are joining in to further expand recycling programs to inform as many residents to the best methods for dealing with their trash.

What Can You Do About People Dumping Garbage?

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While reporting and clean-up efforts are crucial, prevention and mitigation strategies are equally important in the fight against illegal dumping. 

Engaging community members is an effective way to combat illegal dumping. Here are some practical ways to get involved; from neighborhood clean-up events, reaching out to HOAs, or volunteer programs with local environmental organizations. 

  • Initiating practical efforts against illegal dumping starts with solid waste management education. Schools, community centers, and local events can serve as platforms for distributing informational materials about the environmental, social, and economic impacts of illegal dumping.

  • Establish a neighborhood watch program specifically designed to monitor and report illegal dumping activities. This initiative can deter would-be dumpers and encourage community vigilance.

  • Local businesses can also join in the fight against illegal dumping by adopting waste management best practices and sponsoring community clean-up events. Such activities not only promote a cleaner environment but also build goodwill in the community.

  • Reach out to municipalities, they can employ strategies such as increasing surveillance in known dumping hotspots, installing signage to deter illegal dumpers, and implementing stricter penalties to discourage this behavior. See our resources below.

Combating illegal dumping is a collective responsibility that requires the active participation of individuals, communities, businesses, and local authorities.

Local Resources

If you live within Maricopa County and want to know what your city has to offer for recycling programs and for items you want to get rid of, we've got you covered. But if you've had an experience with someone who has dumped trash next to your home, it should be reported right away. You shouldn't be the victim of illegal dumping, and these links can help get this trash cleared out so you aren't a target for more.

Here are some useful contacts for Maricopa County:


Maricopa County Department of Public Health:

To file a violation report in Maricopa county you can complete this form on the Maricopa County website. 


Maricopa County Environmental Services:

Report illegal dumping incidents by visiting their website, calling them directly at (602) 506-6616, or stopping by their main office Monday - Friday between 8am - 5pm;

Maricopa County Public Health
301 W Jefferson St
Suite 170
Phoenix, AZ 8500


Waste Management and Recycling Facilities:

For information on waste disposal and recycling facilities in Maricopa County, click here.


Don't Trash Arizona Initiative 

See our full review and report on this local community program.


Keep AZ Beautiful Initiative 

Since 1985 'Keep AZ Beautiful' has been working with community members to organize and kickoff cleanup campaigns in efforts to keep AZ one of the cleanest states in the country. See our review here.  


Additional Resources 

Illegally Dumped Garbage Pickups

We won't just sneak out to the boonies and dump it all, we're Sundevils after all, not wildcats.

If you received a notice to clean up someone else’s dump in your alley, we can help.

If your neighborhood has vacant lots that your HOA needs to spruce up, we can help. 

If you have a bunch of those weird items that can’t be disposed of by simply tossing them such as car parts, pint, batteries, propane tanks and everything else, guess what? We can help.

Secure a Place in Our Schedule

AZ junk removal team

We each play an important part in combating illegal dumping and maintaining the beauty and safety of our communities. If you spot dumped garbage, don't hesitate to get in touch with your city to report the problem. Remember, every report counts and helps in the fight against illegal dumping. Alternatively, if you're dealing with a larger scale issue that needs prompt attention, reach out to us at AZ Junk Removal. We're committed to providing excellent service and aiding in the cleanup of illegal dumping sites. Your action can make a difference. Don't let illegal dumping spoil our beautiful environment. Let's work together to keep our cities clean and safe.


What is illegal dumping?

Illegal dumping refers to the act of disposing of waste, such as trash or litter, in an unauthorized area or manner. People often do this with things like tires and car batteries due to the costs associated with disposing them legally.

What are the consequences of illegal dumping?

The consequences of getting caught illegally dumping can include fines, penalties, and criminal charges. And sometimes these fines can be a heavy as $500 to $1500 depending on your city.  Not to mention it can also harm the environment and negatively impact the quality of life in the community.

How can I report illegal dumping in my community?

You can report illegal dumping to local authorities, such as the police or waste management department, although simply dialing 911 is the easiest and fastest way. Your town may also have a special number for you to call, so check that out as well if you have the time.

What are some common items illegally dumped?

Some common items illegally dumped include car tires, household waste, construction debris, electronics, and hazardous waste. These all normally cost money so the person dumping them simply doesn’t want to take on the cost of properly disposing them.

Can I be held responsible for illegal dumping on my property?

Yes, property owners can be held responsible for illegal dumping on their property, even if they were not the ones who dumped the waste. That’s why you should always report the event even if it seems harmless. Toxic materials cleanup can get extremely expensive, and you’ll be footing the bill.

How can I prevent illegal dumping in my community?

You can prevent illegal dumping in your community by properly disposing of waste, reporting illegal dumping to local authorities, and participating in community cleanup efforts. Also, finding places where it frequently happens and changing the environment, like planting bushes, building a shed, or using the space for something that makes dumping more difficult to do is also advised.

Are there any laws or regulations for illegal dumping?

Yes, there are many laws and regulations for illegal dumping, which vary by state and jurisdiction. Penalties for illegal dumping can range from fines to imprisonment and are often taken very seriously!

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About the author
Wordpress Username: azjunk

Brad Thomason is the owner of AZ Junk Removal, a seasoned professional with decades of experience in the moving and junk removal industry. With an acute understanding of how people acquire and dispose of items, he established his company in 2001, serving the Phoenix, Arizona area with exceptional junk removal services. Throughout his career, Brad has witnessed the exponential growth of the city as new communities, businesses, and retail centers continue to develop.

Committed to offering a more personalized approach, Brad operates the company as an owner-operator, actively involved in daily operations. When you choose AZ Junk Removal to eliminate clutter, you can expect to work directly with Brad, one of his close family members, or friends. This level of customer service sets them apart from other franchised hauling companies in the Valley.

With his wealth of knowledge and commitment to providing top-notch service, going with Brad Thomason is the clear choice for all of your junk removal needs in Phoenix, Arizona.


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