Garbage and Yard Waste Preparation

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Preparing Garbage for Curbside Collection Unaccepted Items for Garbage Carts Preparing Yard Waste for Collection Code Enforcement Administrative Fines and Penalties Ways to Reduce Your Amount of Garbage
Two men standing in front of a garbage truck.

Solid Waste Services recycling cart

As the City of Raleigh begins the safe and strategic road to recovery, we plan to start a limited, biweekly curbside yard waste collection service to residents on May 19. This action is in line with the state’s phased reopening plan.

To ensure the safety, health and well-being of our residents and employees, Solid Waste Services will operate with modified three-person crews in adherence to social distancing guidelines recommended due to COVID-19. There will be no more than two people in the cab of the vehicle at any time. A third employee will travel in a separate City vehicle while transitioning to and from routes to ensure proper social distancing. You may observe a City vehicle parked in the vicinity of your neighborhood during collection services. In addition, our employees will be issued personal protective equipment.

We expect the yard waste collection volume to be larger than normal. Therefore, we are unable to specify pickup dates. Place your yard waste at the curb by 6 a.m. starting on May 19 and leave it out until it is collected. Once your yard waste has been collected, your next pickup will not occur until two weeks later.

Please follow the normal yard waste preparation guidelines, including:

  • Your yard waste materials must not block or prohibit garbage and recycling collection.
  • Limbs and brush must be securely tied into bundles less than five feet in length, 18 inches in diameter.
  • Yard waste must be in clear plastic or biodegradable bags, or in a container with lifting handles no larger than 35 gallons and less than 75 pounds. The total number of bags must NOT exceed 15.

Due to the expected volume and a modified way of operating, collecting your yard waste will take additional time. We appreciate your patience.

Information about the Yard Waste Center

The City’s Yard Waste Center will resume normal operations on May 19, which includes lifting the temporary waiver of disposal fees and providing services to local contractors. Residents and contractors may continue to use the center, located at 900 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh, to drop off yard waste.

To mitigate safety concerns and adhere to social distancing guidelines, the Yard Waste Center has put in place various safety measures. These include installing a plexiglass shield guard between customers and center staff, providing personal protective equipment for attendants and scale operators, and sanitizing all areas daily.

The Yard Waste Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. till 1 p.m. 

Preparing Garbage for Curbside Collection

Observing the following steps will help us reach our collection goals.

  1. Bag garbage before placing it in the cart to keep cart clean, lessen odors and reduce litter problems.

  2. Use only City-issued carts; no other carts will be emptied for garbage.
  3. Carts placed at multi-family dwellings such as townhomes, condos, apartments, rooming houses, etc., must be labeled with the street address and unit number or letter.
  4. Purchased containers must have a yellow proof of purchase sticker provided by the City. Carts without this sticker will be removed from your property.
  5. Place garbage and recycling carts a few inches from the curb or edge of the street, not in the street.

  6. Keep carts at least three feet from other objects (i.e. vehicles, mail boxes, fences, power lines).
  7. Position carts so that cart handle faces your house. The front of the cart where the lid opens faces the street (see arrows on the lid). This will ensure the lid opens properly and is not damaged when emptied.
  8. Place cart at the curbside no earlier than noon the day before your collection day and no later than 7:00 am on collection day. Remove carts and improperly prepared waste from the curb by 7:00 pm the day after collection.
  9. Carts should be stored where they cannot be seen from the street.
  10. You should not park on the street on collection day. Parking on the street may prevent us from servicing your cart.

Can residents get assistance with their cart?
Qualified individuals that have the garbage cart serviced by the Need Assistance Garbage Crew will also have the recycling cart serviced by the Need Assistance Recycling Crew. To be eligible for assistance your doctor must submit the Solid Waste Services Need Assistance Form and there must be no one else living in the household able to roll the cart to the curb. Call 919-996-6884 for complete information.

Unaccepted Items for Garbage Carts

Do not put these items in your garbage:

  • Yard waste
  • Bullets and Live Ammunition
  • Loose or hot ashes
  • Loose cat litter or animal waste (Disposable diapers and animal litter should be free of fecal matter and enclosed in a plastic bag before placing in the garbage cart. All fecal matter should be flushed down the toilet where it can be properly treated at the wastewater treatment plant.)
  • Computer equipment or televisions
  • Unbagged packing pellets or sawdust
  • Hazardous or medical waste
  • Loose needles or syringes used for home immunization should be disposed of in a heavy-duty, individual container with a lid, such as a coffee can, to ensure no one will come into contact with these potentially life-threatening items.
  • Concrete, rocks, or dirt
  • Rugs

Preparing Yard Waste for Collection

Yard waste can be placed curbside for collection (see specific instructions below). Garbage or recycling carts are for garbage and recycling only, as yard debris must be transported to a separate facility from garbage or recyclable materials.

To set out yard waste in containers, use any of these options:

  1. Container with lifting handles, such as a plastic or metal garbage can, no larger than 35 gallons, and weighing no more than 75 pounds when full.
  2. Biodegradable paper bags.
  3. CLEAR plastic bags.

Black plastic bags containing yard waste will not be collected. Paper yard waste bags and clear plastic bags are sold at many local hardware, home improvement and discount stores.

To set out yard waste, follow these instructions:

  • Limbs and brush must be securely tied into bundles of not more than five feet in length, 18 inches in diameter and weighing no more than 75 pounds.

General rules about curbside collection of yard waste:

  • Limit the number of bags set out for collection to 15.
  • Logs and limbs more than six inches in diameter or over five feet in length, stumps, rocks and dirt will not be collected.
  • Yard waste cannot be placed on the curb until noon on the day before your assigned collection day. This includes yard waste produced from weekend work. Yard waste on the curb before noon on the day before your assigned collection day, and yard waste on the curb after 7 p.m. on the day after your assigned collection day, may incur a $50 citation for violation of the Solid Waste Code.
  • Improperly prepared yard waste that was not collected and yard waste containers must be removed from the curbside by 7 p.m. on the day after your collection.
  • Yard waste produced from contracted jobs or land clearing will not be collected.

Residents living within the Raleigh city limits may also take yard waste to the City's Yard Waste Recycling Center for recycling. The Center is located at 900 N. New Hope Road. There is a cost for this service.  The Yard Waste Center is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Code Enforcement

Rules and regulations governing the placement of garbage or recycling containers and yard waste for collection have been established to protect the appearance of neighborhoods and keep the streets free of obstacles for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Part 7 of the Raleigh City Code authorizes the Solid Waste Services Department to enforce the rules and regulations regarding garbage collection and levy administrative fees and civil penalties to violators. Your cooperation with these rules help Solid Waste Services collect efficiently and safely. Violations are subject to enforcement action by Solid Waste Services Department Code Enforcement and Billing Division.

To discuss an enforcement action, email Solid Waste Services Code Enforcement.

Administrative Fines and Penalties

Violations of any provision contained within Part 7 of the Raleigh City Code may result in the following enforcement actions:

First Violation
Initial Warning Letter

Second Violation
$100 Administrative Fee

Third Violation in a 12 Month Period
$100 Administrative Fee
$250 Civil Penalty for each 24 hour period the violation exists

The placement of items banned from landfills as noted in North Carolina General Statute 130A-309.10(e) in garbage or recycling carts is subject to the following enforcement actions:

$150 Administrative Fee per violation
$250 Civil Penalty per violation

To appeal a citation, contact Solid Waste Services at 919-996-3245.

Ways to Reduce Your Amount of Garbage

Do you find you consistently have too much garbage to fit in the garbage cart? Here are some options:



Customer Call Center at 919-996-3245

Lead Department:
Solid Waste Services
Service Categories:
GarbageYard Waste