Around this time last year, the Streets Division changed the method for large item collection from the curb. Rather than City staff roving around looking for items needing to be picked up, crews are now dispatched directly to the homes of residents who have arranged for large item collection by submitting a work order.

The goal of the change was to make large item collection more timely, efficient and environmentally friendly by reducing travel and fuel consumption for collection vehicles.

Looking back at the first year of new system, has it worked? Are there savings and efficiencies?

Yes. A resounding yes.

Large Item Savings

Thanks to the large item collection system, collection vehicles travel half as many miles now than when crews roved neighborhood streets.

In one year, that’s roughly 50,000 fewer miles traveled by Streets Division trucks.

This reduced diesel fuel use by more than 7,000 gallons.

This reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 157,000 pounds a year.

The new large item collection system is another example of how data-centered decision-making creates positive results for our climate and our community.

Fewer Reports of Missed Collections

Thanks to the work orders informing operators where to go and which items to collect, reports of missed collections have practically disappeared.

From 2019 to 2020, the Streets Division received an average of 243 reports of missed large item collection every six months.

Nearly six months into 2022 and the work order system, there have been only 39 missed collection complaints – most of them coming from a now-fixed technical issue with the work order software, or from items that were likely set out late.

Prevent Cluttered Neighborhoods – Follow Large Item Guidelines

Thanks to your participation in the new system – we received over 8,500 work orders in 2022 alone - we were able to make these significant savings and efficiencies.

However, we do hear concerns from residents who say their neighborhoods feel more cluttered than before.

You can help with this and keep our neighborhoods tidy by following these two important guidelines:

  • 1. Make the work order BEFORE setting items out for pickup.

There is a limit to the number of work orders that can be scheduled in a single week.

If you set the items out and then make the work order, you may miss the next upcoming collection opportunity.

This could result in your items sitting out at the road edge for longer than necessary.

  • 2. Set large items out on the date you picked in the work order.

When you submit a large item work order, you are choosing the date when you should set items out for pickup.

You are not choosing the date when the items will be collected. Collection will occur during the work week following the set-out date you selected.

If you set the item out early, it will remain on the curb too long. And if you set it out late, you may miss your collection opportunity.

More Information about Large Items

To learn more about large item collection, including the work order system, go to

To make a large item work order for your home, go to

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.