I was wondering what do you call the organization that deals with cleaning and beautifying a city / town organizing street sweepers, big garbage cans in each urban district etc. in the United States? I used to think that it was called "municipality", but so accidentally I was looking that up in a dictionary when I found out that it is absolutely a different meaning comparing the concept I used to think it means.

  • It depends on a range of things and is different in different areas of the same country let alone the differences between countries. As asked your question cannot be answered in a useful way.
    – jwpfox
    Nov 28, 2020 at 2:32
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    One option for some places might make use of the concept “sanitation” as part of the title.
    – jwpfox
    Nov 28, 2020 at 2:36
  • As is often the case, there may be no equivalent. What is the organization called in your country? In the U.S. a large municipality (city, town, village, etc.) might operate its own waste disposal service, a smaller one will contract with a private company. In some states, this is a county responsibility. In some places, there is no such service. The organization which handles household waste removal will most likely not be the same one that handles street sweeping or urban beautification.
    – choster
    Nov 28, 2020 at 3:18
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    As we are pointing out there is no term that will be widely understood to mean what you want to say. You will need to write out what you are referring to in as many words as that takes.
    – jwpfox
    Nov 28, 2020 at 12:48
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    Websites of borough and city councils in England don't generally refer to a department, but talk about a service such as "Waste and recycling" or "Bins, recyling and waste".
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 28, 2020 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


I doubt there is a single universal term. Random DuckDuckGoing produced links to:

I used both "sanitation" and "garbage" as buzzwords. Looks like "sanitation" is the preferred term. Understandably so because it sure sounds more high-browed than "garbage collection".

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    Sanitation is a word barely used outside North America.
    – jwpfox
    Nov 28, 2020 at 12:41
  • @jwpfox Then may be you should post another answer :-) Nov 28, 2020 at 12:58
  • What do you think of "the waste and sanitation department" @Jyrku Lahtonen? Can it imply the measage in my question for most native speakers?
    – A-friend
    Nov 29, 2020 at 0:26
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    @A-friend jwpfox is a native speaker, I'm not. If they say "sanitation" is somewhat restricted to North America, there is little reason to doubt that. Also, it is easy to imagine that elsewhere a term other than "department" is more common to refer to a division of municipally run services. Nov 29, 2020 at 4:22

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