10 Years of Blog Archive

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Garbage Pickup in Cuenca Ecuador

If you live in a house in Cuenca Ecuador you'll need to know about the garbage pickup rules. Garbage pickup is much more efficient here than in the US. At least in our experience.  The garbage truck does not just come around once a week but it comes around three times a week to pickup your garbage! And there’s no need to sign up with any garbage pick up. 

Garbage pickup in Cuenca city limits west side is Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It might be on a different day in other areas of Cuenca. Ask your landlord, he'll know. They even come by and pickup the garbage when there is a festival/holiday in town, on a Saturday! Sometimes it's almost dark before they come by and get the garbage, but I don't believe they have missed a garbage pickup day yet.

It is interesting to watch the garbage truck. It never actually stops, it slowly coasts by your house while one or two guys in blue jumpsuits jumps off the back of the garbage truck and scurries to grab your garbage and then quickly darts back onto the garbage truck while it is moving down the road.

You know these guys are in good shape with all the running they do. You'd probably want them on your futbol team.

Garbage pickup is pretty efficient in Cuenca with only a few rules to heed. You can't put anything out that is not in a plastic garbage bag or they will just leave it.  UPDATE 2014: we were told this, but it is not accurate. We have put old non-working appliances and huge cardboard boxes out and the garbage men take it.

Garbage (food scraps) need to be placed up high in the steel grates that are made just for garbage or all of the stray dogs will find your garbage and you'll have a big mess. This happened to us one time when we didn’t know any better. Most homes come with a steel grate attached to the tall barred gate. You pull it down and set the garbage on it. This way dogs can't get into it. You can't have garbage cans outside your home or they will get taken.

When we first moved here we were told the garbage men would only take your garbage if it was in a big, black, plastic garbage bag. But we have since learned this is not the case. As long as the garbage is in a plastic bag, small, big, medium, shopping bags, the men will pick it up for you. 

Garbage pickup is free in Ecuador. 

UPDATE 2014: garbage pickup is not free it is included in the rent utilities...something I did not know until a few years ago. It works like this, the higher your electric bill the more the city charges for garbage pickup...its really not that much and that's why we didn't know about it until three years after living here. LOL

And that’s just about all you will need to know about garbage pickup in Cuenca Ecuador, that is if you live in a house. The condos and apartment buildings probably have the big dumpsters for you to put your garbage in.  

If there is something else you would like for us to write about, just let us know in the comments or in the email above. If we have any experience in the subject we’ll write about it. To find out more about saving money and living well on a local level, and a bunch of other stuff, when you move here, check out the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide. Hasta Luego!


  1. We will be in Écuador October 21st and we are wondering if it is better to have travellers cheques or cash? Our experience in the US with travellers cheques was that it is a pain in the neck as people will not usually take it the way they used to in the past. Is it the same in Ecuador. We are Canadians by the way and are looking forward to our trip.
    thank you in advance for your answer.
    Lise & Louis-Georges

  2. Cash is best.
    Better yet, bring your ATM cards.

  3. Hi, Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. One of my cousins currently lives in Cuenca Ecuador. So, I am going to share this with her. Hope so she will learn from here about garbage pick up rules. Keep up with good work.


HMFamilyLife and Discover Cuenca Ecuador Comment Policy
We welcome applicable and respectful comments. Off-topic comments may be removed.