Hurricane Debris Removal

Debris Collection on Big Pine Key Dec. 2017-W

After a hurricane in Monroe County, FEMA eligible hurricane-related debris will be picked up free of charge by Monroe County contractors in unincorporated Monroe County, the City of Layton, and the City of Key Colony Beach. The City of Key West, the Village of Islamorada, and the City of Marathon also have contractors who will pick up hurricane-related debris free of charge.

Hurricane-Related Debris Pick Up

  • Stack your hurricane-related debris on the County right-of-way, or road shoulder, in front of your home. It must not block the road or driveways.
  • Do not put debris on vacant lots or other private property. It will not be picked up.
  • In areas with vacuum sewers in Key Largo and Tavernier, do not to stack debris near sewer system breathers, which are in the right-of-way. In the Upper Keys, they look like small concrete pillars.
  • Keep debris away from fire hydrants and utility poles.

Hurricane-Related Debris MUST Be Separated

You must separate your hurricane-related debris into six groups:

  1. Regular household trash needs to be disposed of during the regular collection of garbage. Contents of refrigerators need to be thrown out in the regular trash that is picked up by regular garbage collection.
  2. Construction debris, like drywall, mattresses, sofas, etc.
  3. Vegetative debris, like tree branches and leaves.
  4. Household hazardous waste, which includes paints and cleaners.
  5. Household appliances, also known as white goods, like refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers.
  6. Electronics, like televisions and computers. 

FEMA CHART for Debris Residential Sorting Curbside

Items NOT Eligible for Free Pickup

In addition to household trash, things that are not eligible for hurricane-related pickup by debris contractor include cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats or other watercraft, and car parts, like tires. Regular household trash should be placed in containers for regular pickup. Please call a local towing company for more information about these items. 

Illegal Dumping is a Felony

It is illegal to dump household appliances, construction materials, boats, trailers, RVs, and vegetative debris on County-owned vacant land and County rights-of-way and streets and is a felony. 

The extra disposal cost is paid by Monroe County taxpayers for those who do not dispose of items properly. Household appliances – beds, dressers, appliances, carpeting, etc. – can be removed by local haulers at no cost to the resident. 

Boats, boat trailers, RVs without motors, campers, and other big items can be disposed at Monroe County’s three transfer stations at a price per ton. Contact a transfer station regarding pricing:

  • Cudjoe Key: 305-745-2513
  • Long Key: 305-664-2263
  • Key Largo: 305-367-4236

If you see illegal dumping, call Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 305-292-7000. For more information about illegal dumping, call Monroe County Solid Waste at 305-292-4323 or visit

Removal of Vegetation

A storm or hurricane is not an excuse to clear vegetation, especially native vegetation, like mangroves or gumbo limbo, from your property. Sometimes it is necessary to remove vegetative debris but there are limits as to what can be cleared. Hurricane Irma proved that some property owners will take advantage of a storm for personal gain. This is illegal and code compliance follows up on illegal clearing complaints.

Some reminders:

  • Only clear damaged vegetation that has fallen and constitutes a hazard to life or property. Take pictures to prove there was a hazard in case a complaint is filed. 
  • Native vegetation can only be removed if permits are obtained. 
  • Property owners may remove up to 10 trees of non-native vegetation without a permit, but the removal of more than 10 non-native trees will require a permit from Monroe County. 
  • Municipalities within Monroe County may have different rules, please check with them. 

A list of native trees, as well as more information on the permitting requirements for the pruning and removal of native vegetation, can be found in Sections 114-103 and Chapter 118-9 of the Monroe County Land Development Code at or directly linked at and

To report illegal clearing or vegetation, visit

Preparing your yard during hurricane season is important. Clearing coconuts from palms and trimming foliage can help prevent loss of native and nonnative trees in the event of a storm and protect your property and your neighbor’s property from additional flying hazards.