Solid Waste Common Questions

Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Service & Collection

Last Modified: April 29, 2013

Questions about your service? It may already be answered. Please select the category headings below to see questions and answers about solid waste collection in Raleigh

Service & Service Days

What is my service day?
Enter your address on the MyRaleigh Services page. Residents can also find out their service day by calling Solid Waste Services Customer Support Center at 919-996-6890.

My garbage container was not serviced. What should I do?
If the container was at the curb by 7 a.m. on your assigned collection day and was not serviced, check the container for an educational tag explaining why the materials could not be collected.

If you did not find an education tag, call the Customer Support Center at 919-996-6890 or report the missed collection through our online form.

My collection day is tomorrow and the weather forecast is for snow/sleet/ice/hurricane. What will the collection schedule be?
Depending on the severity of the weather, collection may be delayed. The latest information can be found at:

  • City website and MyRaleigh Subscriptions
  • local television and radio stations
  • The News and Observer
  • Raleigh Television Network cable channel RTN22
  • Solid Waste Services Hotline 919-996-6194

What can I do if I forget to set out my trash, recycling or yard waste on my regular collection day?
You can either hold the material until your next scheduled collection day or take it to the the appropriate facilities of disposal.

Note: If you hold the material until your next collection, be sure to remove it from the curbside. Material left at the curbside is subject to a $50 fine under the Solid Waste Services Code.

Curbside Collection

What do I do with items that do not fit in to the garbage cart?
Please refer to our Special Garbage Load services.

I just had one extra bag of garbage so I set it next to the garbage cart but they didn't collect it, why not?
Carts are serviced by fully automated garbage trucks operated by one driver. The routes are set up to service the maximum number of carts in a ten hour day efficiently and safely. If items are not in the cart the driver would have to stop, get out, put the bag(s) in the cart and operate the robotic arm again. If several households each put out an extra bag in the course of the day the routes could not be completed. Do NOT place excess bags so that the lid does not close or on top of the lid as it will likely fall off and litter your neighborhood. You can hold the excess bag until you next collection or take the bag to one of Wake County's Convenience Centers at no charge.

I am physically unable to take the cart to the curb for collection. What can I do?
Backyard garbage and recycling service is available to qualified disabled residents when no one in the home is physically able to place the container curbside. Please call the Customer Support Center at 919-996-6890 for information on obtaining the doctor's verification form. This service is not available for yard waste collection.

My neighbors never take their garbage cart/recycle bin/yard waste container(s) back to their house! They are always out and make our neighborhood look "trashy." What can I do?
City ordinance allows containers to be at the curbside for collection only from noon the day before the assigned service day to 7 pm the day after the assigned service day. If you are aware of someone repeatedly leaving their containers out beyond these time frames, please contact Solid Waste Services Customer Support at 919-996-6890.

Garbage & Recycling Carts

My garbage / recycling cart is broken or was stolen. What do I do?
From time to time maintenance is required on containers or they may need to be replaced. Call Solid Waste Services Customer Support Center at 919-996-6890 to request a repair or replacement. A supervisor will assess the container. If it is beyond repair due to normal wear and tear, or was damaged while being serviced, it will be repaired or replaced free of charge. Containers will not be replaced for free as a result of vandalism or abuse.

Stolen carts are handled on a case by case basis. Residents may be asked to present a police report in order to have the cart replaced without charge. Please note that each cart has an RFID tag embedded in it that is attached to a specific address.

For assistance with any of these situations, contact the Customer Support Center.

Can I get an extra garbage / recycling cart?
Yes. Additional carts are available for a fee.
Visit Garbage and Recyling Containers for more information.

I will be moving soon. What do I do with the garbage / recycling cart?
The city-issued garbage cart (and recycling bin or cart) are the property of the City of Raleigh. Please leave them in the rear yard or garage of the residence when you move.

I never fill the 95 gallon cart, can I get a smaller one?
Residents that do not fill the 95 gallon cart can has it swapped out for a 65 gallon cart. This swap can only be done once unless circumstances of your household change (family size increases/decreases) or the property has a new owner.

How do I get a garbage / recycling cart?
Call the Customer Support Center at 919-996-6890 or complete the Online Service Request Form.
Note: Garbage / recycling carts will not be delivered to vacant houses so please do not make your request until after you have moved in.

I've seen some neighborhoods with large roll carts for recycling. Can I get a roll cart?
You may only get a roll cart when your neighborhood is phased into the automated program. Raleigh Recycling is in the process of phasing the entire city over to the roll cart system. When a neighborhood is converted over to the roll cart system residents will receive a roll cart and change from weekly collection to bi-weekly collection. Roll carts are serviced by fully automated trucks. All households will be using roll carts by September 2013.
Raleigh Recycling has BIG News!

Can I use the City of Raleigh garbage cart as a yard waste container?
No, the City-issued roll out container should only be used for garbage. It is illegal to dump yard waste material in the landfill. Should the garbage truck pick it up by accident the City may be issued a fine by the State of NC. Residents also should not use their recycling bin for yard waste material. Recycling bins are issued for materials collected in the curbside recycling program. The City of Raleigh does encourage residents to use their old garbage cans for their yard waste material! Reuse of old garbage cans means you are not wasting clear plastic or biodegradeable paper bags!

Can yard waste be placed in black plastic bags?
No, it is illegal to disposal of yard waste in the landfill so collection crews must be able to see what is in the garbage bag. Residents may choose one of the three methods below to contain yard waste material:

A permanent container, such as a garbage can or plastic container, no larger than 35 gallons, and weighing no more than 75 pounds
Use CLEAR plastic bags
Biodegradable paper yard waste bags, available at area hardware, home improvement and discount stores.

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

Recycling

Which items are recycled by the City of Raleigh?
Please visit Recyling for information on recyclable and non-recyclable items.

What about plastic bottle caps? Cap the bottles, loose in the cart or throw them away?
Plastic bottle caps that are screwed back on will get recycled in the Raleigh Recycling program. Loose caps fall through the screens and end up being thrown out with the other trash that sifts through. You can also drop them off at an Aveda store to be recycled.

Where can I recycle some of the materials that are not accepted in the curbside recycling program?
Information on recycling items that are not collected in the curbside recycling program is available on the Unique Items page

Can my old household electronics be recycled?
Yes. There is limited collection of these items. Visit Computers, Electronics and Cell Phones for more details.

What should residents do with common household alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable)?
Regular household (non-rechargeable) batteries are rarely considered to be hazardous since only very few manufactured since 1994 contain mercury. Alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals - steel, zinc and manganese - and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal.

If you are taking other items to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, take them along; otherwise, it is not worth the gas to make the trip there and they can safely be disposed of in the garbage.

Yard Waste

Can yard waste be placed in black plastic bags?
No, it is illegal to disposal of yard waste in the landfill so collection crews must be able to see what is in the garbage bag. Residents may choose one of the three methods below to contain yard waste material:

  • A permanent container, such as a garbage can or plastic container, no larger than 35 gallons, and weighing no more than 75 pounds
  • Use CLEAR plastic bags
  • Biodegradable paper yard waste bags, available at area hardware, home improvement and discount stores.

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

Can I use the City of Raleigh garbage cart as a yard waste container?
No, the City-issued roll out container should only be used for garbage. It is illegal to dump yard waste material in the landfill. Should the garbage truck pick it up by accident the City may be issued a fine by the State of NC. Residents also should not use their recycling bin for yard waste material. Recycling bins are issued for materials collected in the curbside recycling program. The City of Raleigh does encourage residents to use their old garbage cans for their yard waste material! Reuse of old garbage cans means you are not wasting clear plastic or biodegradeable paper bags!

Can treated building material be placed in with the yard waste?
No. Once yard waste is collected by SWS crews it is taken to the City's Yard Waste Recycling Center and processed into wood chips, mulch, leaf mulch and compost. These products are then used in City parks and greenways and sold back to the public. Treated lumber containers chemicals that could be potentially dangerous and are not acceptable in a composting situation either as a soil amendment or as decorative dressing around plants.

What can I do with my yard waste if I forget to set it out on my regular collection day?
You can either hold the material until your next scheduled day the following week or take it to the City's Yard Waste Recycling Center.

Note: If you hold the material until your next collection, be sure to remove it from the curbside. Material left at the curbside is subject to a $50 fine under the Solid Waste Services Code.

Fees

Is there a charge for the garbage and recycling collection?
All households are charged a monthly solid waste fee and recycling fee on their City of Raleigh utility bill. The recycling fee offsets the cost of the entire recycling program including curbside collection, electronics, recycling in the parks, dropping off spent rechargeable batteries at neighborhood fire stations, the Swap Shop, events, presentations and many other components. It is charged for all households whether they elect to participate in curbside recycling or not.

These fees are set annually by the City Council as part on the City's budget process.

Are there fees for Special Garbage Pick Up?
There is a fee of $50 per four cubic yard load for items that can not be taken to the landfill. Visit Special Garbage Pick Up for more information.

How much does it cost for an extra garbage / recycling cart?
Visit Garbage and Recyling Containers for cost, payment and more information.

Can I be required to pay a fee for leaving my garbage / recycling carts out at the curb?
Yes. Violations of the City's Curbside Collection Rules and Regulations may result in administrative fines and civil penalties.

Didn't Find Your Answer?

If you did not find your answer here, please email the Solid Waste Services Customer Support Center or call them at 919-996-6890.

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