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Venice > Special topics > Garbage and recycling

Garbage and Recycling Collection in Venice

If you're staying in a vacation apartment, you'll need to follow the city's rules for recyclables and trash (unless you're willing to risk a fine).

Spazzini with garbage and recycling carts on a Venice bridge.

ABOVE: Spazzini, or sanitation workers, bounce their collection carts over a bridge in Venice's Cannaregio district.

When you rent self-catering accommodation (a.k.a. a vacation apartment), garbage and recycling probably aren't at the top of your "things I need to know" list. But in Venice, not knowing the rules about refuse disposal can lead to an expensive fine for your landlord--a fine that almost certainly will be passed along to you.

Venice's current disposal procedures work like this:

Garbage ("rifiuto residuo")

In the past, you simply left plastic bags of trash outside your door or hanging from a hook on the front of the building. That's no longer the case. Now you have two choices:

  1. Take your garbage to a designated collection point from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and drop it in the bin labeled "Rifiuto Residuo." (These collection points are scattered around the city, and they're always next to canals, since the bins are lifted by crane and emptied into garbage and recycling barges.)

  2. Wait for a spazzino, or sanitation worker, to ring your doorbell--usually between 8:30 a.m. and noon Monday through Saturday, although hours can vary by neighborhood. (Your landlord should be able to give you a rough idea of when the trash collectors arrive at your building.) When the doorbell rings, open the door or run downstairs and hand your garbage and recycling bags to the spazzino.


Recyclables fall into two categories:

  1. Paper, cardboard, and Tetrapak (carta, cartone, e Tetrapak). These are collected on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, during the same hours and in the same way as ordinary garbage.

  2. Glass, plastic, cans, and metals (vetro, plastica, lattine, e metalli). These are collected on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, during the same hours and in the same way as ordinary garbage.

Venice garbage barge on Fondamenta dei Ormesini

ABOVE: If you don't want to wait for the spazzino to ring your doorbell, you can deposit recycling and rifiuto residuo in carts by the nearest trash boat between designated hours.

More things to know:

  • The procedures above apply to central Venice and Giudecca. The rules on Murano, Burano, the Lido di Venezia, and the mainland districts of Mestre and Murano are slightly different. If you're staying in one of the latter locations, ask your landlord or landlady for advice.

  • Package your garbage and recycling neatly. Use paper bags--not plastic bags--for paper. Also pay attention to the rules on what can or can't be recycled. See below for links to official documents, or get instructions from your host.

  • When dumping garbage or recycling at collection points, pay attention to the signs on the bins ("rifiuto residuo" for garbage or a different sign for recyclables).

  • Do not dump household trash or recycling in public waste receptacles (which are now in short supply, in part because too many Venetians were using them as household trash bins).

  • You can get more information about garbage and recycling in a variety of languages, including smartphone apps and how-to PDF files, from the garbage and recycling agency's information page. (The two most useful documents are a leaflet with a map of garbage boat locations and a detailed guide to garbage and recycling rules.)

  • Important: Violation of the garbage and recycling rules can lead to a minimum fine of €167 if you get caught, so it's wise to pay attention.

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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