Here’s what to do with old furniture instead of putting it in an alley

Posted at 2:26 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 14:37:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. — As the beginning of the school year approaches and VCU students begin moving in and out of their homes, the sight of mattresses piled up in alleyways and old appliances lining the side of the road becomes a norm in neighborhoods with high populations of student.

But contrary to popular belief among student – the dumping of furniture, trash and household appliances on the side of the road or in alleyways without dumpsters is illegal and can result in a misdemeanor charge and possible jail time as well as fines up to $2,500.

In regards to bulk dumping of property and trash, the Virginia Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-152 states,

“It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or occupies property within the city to permit
the accumulation of trash, garbage, refuse, litter, junk, demolition materials or other offensive,
unwholesome, unsightly, unsanitary or unhealthy substances on such property or on any alley,
sidewalk, public right-of-way, grass strips, or street abutting such property”

But if that’s the case – then how should students, particularly those without means of transportation to move furniture – efficiently and legally get rid of unwanted belongings when preparing to move?

For starters, small junk items and pieces of furniture can be placed directly into trash or recycling dumpsters located around the city.  If your junk is over-sized (like a mattress,) it must be put out on your trash collection day, during your recycling week in order to avoid incurring fines.

If you’re crunched for time and can’t wait until your recycling week rolls around, you’ll need to call the Department of Public Works to place a same day bulk collection request at the cost of $100 per request.

If you are fortunate enough to have means of transportation, it may be best to take matters into your own hands and dispose of bulk items at one of two disposal centers:

  • East Richmond Road Convenience Center – 3800 East Richmond Road
  • Hopkins Road Transfer Station – 3520 North Hopkins Road

But the simplest and most sustainable way to free yourself of unwanted (gently used) furniture, kitchen appliances and other home goods is by contacting a donation center or thrift store that will pick up large items right from your home.  This option is both convenient, cost efficient and sustainable – allowing your unneeded belongings to benefit those in need instead of taking up room in a landfill or rotting in an alleyway.

Organizations in Richmond that will pick up your furniture, small appliances, electronics, kitchenware, clothing and more include:

While pickup fees and times vary by organization, it’s best to schedule in advance to ensure that your furniture can be accommodated.