"I had just cleaned them and I had them in a paper towel. I think I got distracted with the kids, it's hard to figure out, and I think I just crumpled it up, and I didn't feel the weight of them and I threw them out," Lombardo told WABC-TV.
Lombardo called the city's 311 line.
"I was thinking, it's New York City Sanitation, there's no way I'm ever going to be able to track down my ring," she told the New York Daily News. "I was just very skeptical, but I had nothing left to lose."
The New York City Sanitation Department agreed to hold off on pickups at her Manhattan apartment building so she could look through the trash, but it soon became apparent the bag containing her rings had already been taken.
Lombardo and her husband, Jim, drove to the department's processing facility in Fairview, N.J., where trash goes to be shipped to landfills.
Workers were able to identify the truck that made the pickup at Lombardo's building, and they dumped its load of 800 bags.
The Lombardos and the sanitation workers sifted through the garbage for about an hour until the rings were recovered.
The workers said finding lost property is sometimes part of the job.
"When it's a ring, you start to think wow that's a small item, but we've done it before, we're trained how to find it," Sanitation Supervisor Gabriel Moreno said.
"Seeing the happiness on their face, and I said that it's a great time for them to renew their vows and stuff. As long as they felt good, I felt good," worker Sekou Callender said.
Lombardo said she is grateful to the workers for all of their help.
"These people went above and beyond -- amazing people," she said. "Now, that's what the ring symbolizes: that there's hope and goodness in the world, and against the odds it can happen -- even in a garbage dump."