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Garbage and Yard Waste Preparation

Tips for Preparing Items for Curbside Collection

Last updated Oct. 23, 2014 - 3:57 pm
City crews use automated trucks to service most neighborhoods.

In order to reduce collection costs and increase efficiency and safety, the Solid Waste Services Department uses automated garbage and recycling collection trucks. Each driver operates a robotic arm to empty carts into the truck. As a result, bags or other items left outside the cart cannot be collected because there are no extra people on the truck to collect additional garbage.

Please follow the procedures listed below to ensure efficient curbside garbage and yard waste collection. Visit Recycling for information on preparing your recyclables for curbside collection.

Preparing Garbage for Curbside Collection

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

  1. Bag your garbage before placing it in the garbage cart to keep the 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 five feet from objects that could be damaged or cause damage to the carts. This includes vehicles, mail boxes, fences, power lines, etc.
  7. Place carts so that the cart handle faces your house and 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 the cart at the curbside no earlier than noon the day before your collection day and no later than 7:00 am on your 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 easily seen from the street facing the front door of your house.
  10. Do not park on the street on your collection day if possible. Parking on the street may prevent us from servicing your cart.

Unaccepted Items for Garbage Carts

Do not put these items in your garbage:

  • Yard waste
  • 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 (syringes and needles used for home immunization should be disposed of in a heavy-duty, individual container with a lid, such as a coffee can, to ensure that no one will come into contact with these potentially life-threatening items.)
  • Concrete, rocks, or dirt

Preparing Yard Waste for Collection

Yard waste can be set out in containers or loosely (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 waste loosely, 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 and rocks 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. Download regulations.

To discuss an enforcement action, contact the Code Enforcement and Billing Administrator.

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

Citations may be appealed in writing to the Code Enforcement and Billing Administrator.

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:

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