Automated Garbage Collection 2016-11-07T10:28:16+00:00


One 96-gallon cart is provided free to each resident  This cart should hold all your weekly household garbage.  If needed, additional carts may be obtained for a fee from the Public Works Department by calling (931) 520-5249.
The Sanitation Department will only pick up the 96-gallon roll-out cart that is assigned to your particular residence by the Public Works Department.  All other bags, cans, containers or carts will not be picked up.


Automated collection is a technologically advanced system of refuse collection. The system is called “automated” because a special truck, equipped with a mechanical/robotic Arm, automatically lifts and empties special trash containers without the driver ever leaving the cab of the truck. This is a system designed to improve efficiency, make the task of putting out garbage easier and cleaner for the residents, improve the appearance of the Town and greatly reduce the injury potential for town employees. The new automated system is safer, more efficient and requires less labor to collect solid waste. In addition, because the mechanical arm performs all the lifting, there is no risk of injury to the operator. This system reduces labor and will allow us to keep up with growing demand without adding routes.

The cart is to be placed near street edge by 7:00 AM on the morning of collection and must be removed from the street before 7:00 PM on collection day. Carts are not to be left at the street all week.

Need to know what day your pickup is?
Residential Pickup List


  • Please place the cart at least 4 feet from any tree, pole, mailbox, fire hydrant, etc, and at least 10 feet away from any cars parked in the street.

  • If you lean anything against the container, it can not be lifted for dumping.

  • Remember to place the arrows on the lid of the container toward the street and the handle toward the house.

  • Do not drag the cart when moving it. Tilt and roll it with the lid closed.

  • Keep lid closed at all times.

  • Store the cart in the backyard, garage, or other convenient location.

  • Do not store it near a fireplace, furnace, grill or other heat source.
    Clean the cart periodically with water.

  • Do not place hot ashes, solvents, paints, or other flammable liquids in the cart.

  • Do not use the cart to hold hazardous materials such as: dead animals, chemicals, oils, liquids and medical waste, exposed needles, used bandages, etc.

  • Do not place dirt, rocks, limbs, or building materials in the cart.

  • Do not overfill the cart to the extent the lid will not fully close. If the lid is not closed, garbage will spill to road so the container will not be emptied.

  • Do not allow children to play in or on the cart.


Each cart belongs to the City of Cookeville and has been embossed with a serial number which is assigned to the street address.  The cart remains with the address in the event of a move.  Residents may write their address with a permanent marker on the cart if they so choose.

If your cart is damaged or stolen, notify the Public Works Department at (931) 520-5249 for a replacement or repairs provided by the City.


Why is this AUTOMATED COLLECTION better than the traditional manual method?

  • The most important feature of the automated system is that it allows one operator to collect 30% more garbage than a three-person manually operated vehicle.

  • Automated Collection eliminates the need to manually handle the garbage cans, thereby reducing the opportunity for job related injuries.

  • The curbside, 96-gallon cart is maneuverable and easy to roll.  Each one is extremely durable, features a close-fitting lid, will hold as much household garbage as three (3) regular garbage cans and one cart is supplied to each house, free of charge, by the City of Cookeville Public Works Department.

What if my cart is damaged or stolen?

  • The carts are the property of the City of Cookeville and each one is assigned an address and serial number.  All reports of damage or theft will be investigated by calling the Public Works Dept Office at 520-5249.  Repairs or replacements will be made as needed.

May I use refuse containers other than the 96 gallon cart?

  • No, the automated truck can ONLY pick up the city’s 96-gallon containers.

What kinds of refuse can I put in the Automated Garbage Container?

  • All household refuse/garbage items may be placed in the cart. It is also recommended that garbage items be bagged and tied, then deposited in the cart. This practice will keep your cart cleaner. It is recommended that cardboard boxes be broken down so they take less room in the cart.
  • Yard waste may be placed in the carts but we recommend that they be bagged and tied. If you have several bags of yard waste and cannot get them into the cart, you will need to call 520-5201 or 520-5249 for a special pick up.

Does the city provide assisted and / or rear door collection with the automated garbage container?

  • Yes, when residents provide us with a doctor’s statement informing us that a resident is unable to take their garbage to the street.  Once we have received that statement, we will begin your assisted service.

What if one cart is not enough for our weekly garbage?

  • Additional carts may be purchased for a fee.  This is a one-time user fee and the cart remains the property of the City.  If a resident moves to another location within the city, the extra purchased cart may be taken, otherwise, the cart stays at the current address and the city will pick up.

If I purchase an extra cart, where do I place it for pick up?

  • If you set out more than one cart for pick up, the carts must be placed at least 3 feet apart.