Solid Waste Common Questions

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about service and collection


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Service & Service Days Curbside Collection Garbage & Recycling Carts Recycling Yard Waste Fees Roadway Safety Didn't Find Your Answer?

Questions about your service? 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 919-996-3245.

My garbage container was not serviced. What should I do?
If the container was at the curb by 6 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, contact the Customer Support Center.

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
  • 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?
You can register for the Needs Assistance Program. 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 919-996-3245 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 919-996-3245.

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 919-996-3245 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.

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?
Contact the Customer Support Center.
Note: Garbage / recycling carts will not be delivered to vacant houses so please do not make your request until after you have moved in.

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. 

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 you can safely be disposed of in the garbage.

Yard Waste

Why is Yard Waste Service included on my bill if I choose not to receive a yard waste cart?

Some households and communities opt-ed out of receiving yard waste carts, but households who receive solid waste collection services have the opportunity to utilize yard waste service provisions using up to 15 biodegradable paper bags and up to five (5) stick bundles at the curb for collection.

Municipalities in North Carolina have a responsibility to manage waste disposal and reuse to protect residents' health and the environment. Solid Waste and reuse fees help fund this essential public service for the benefit and sustainability of the whole community.

Can yard waste be placed in plastic bags?
No, it is illegal to dispose of yard waste in the landfill. Residents may choose one of the three methods below to contain yard waste material:

  • 95-gallon City-issued cart
  • Biodegradable paper yard waste bags. Limit of 15 bags per collection, with a weight limit of 25 pounds per bag.  
  • Bundles of sticks tied with rope or twine. Limit of 5 bundles per collection, with a weight limit of 50 pounds per bundle. 

Limbs and brush yard waste bundles must be tied with natural materials, like natural jute twine, and must be no longer than five (5) feet in length, eighteen (18) inches in diameter, and no heavier than fifty (50) pounds. 

Why can't I use biodegradable plastic bags?

Plastic biodegradable bags can break down over time. However, the time it takes to do so is longer than the Raleigh Yard Waste Center processing time for compost. Normal biodegradable plastic bags take six months to decompose on average. Our process takes a maximum of three months to process raw yard waste into usable compost products.  We want to avoid having any plastics in the final screened products offered to residents and customers. 

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. 

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.

Will I still be able to have up to 15 biodegradable paper yard waste bags curbside if I have two yard waste carts?

Yes, customers who receive service for a second yard waste cart will still have the option to place up to 15 biodegradable paper bags and up to five (5) stick bundles at the curb for collection.

I am in the Need Assistance Program (NAP). Will I be able to have two yard waste carts?

Yes, active NAP customers can receive service for two yard waste carts. However, NAP customers are not eligible to receive collection service for material prepared in biodegradable paper bags paper and/or stick bundles.

With the extra $2.00 fee will I start getting yard waste collected every week?

No. The collection schedule will remain the same with the addition of a second yard waste cart. Customers will continue to receive service on weeks that are opposite the recycling collection. If you have questions about your service day, you can find your collection schedule here. 

Can I request a smaller size yard waste cart like my smaller garbage and recycling carts?

Currently, Solid Waste Services does not offer 65-gallon yard waste carts. 

Can I request an additional cart via online?

Solid Waste Service customers can contact the Solid Waste Services Customer Support Center at 919-996-3245  or complete the online web form to request a second yard waste cart.  

Since SWS is picking up two carts now for customers who request that option, can I use my personal yard waste cart as an additional cart?

Solid Waste Service personnel will only collect yard waste that is properly prepared in a city-issued yard waste cart(s), biodegradable paper bags (15 max), and/or stick bundles (5 max).

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?
Households that receive curbside collection see a monthly solid waste fee, a yard waste fee, and a 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.

Customers with a second yard waste cart pay an additional fee to aid in the operation, equipment, and personnel costs required to collect and process additional waste materials.

These fees, set annually by the City Council as part of the City's budget process, help fund this essential public service for the benefit and sustainability of the community. Households with access to curbside service will see these service fees, whether they elect to participate in yard waste / recycling collection or not.

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 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.

Roadway Safety

What should I do if I observe a City of Raleigh trash collection vehicle spill fluid on the roadway?

If there is a hydraulic spill in your neighborhood, please contact our Chief Safety and Compliance Officer at meagan.lewis@raleighnc.gov

Who should I contact if I was involved in an accident with a trash truck?

If you have been involved in an accident or wish to file a claim against the City of Raleigh, it is necessary to submit a completed claims form. Once the claims form has been received, a claims adjuster from the City’s third-party Claims Administrator will contact you. An investigation must be conducted by the claims adjuster before a final decision on liability and/or payment(s) will be made. This process can take more than two weeks depending upon the nature of the claim.

You may complete your claim online.

You can contact the Risk Management Team directly at 919-996-2240 or riskmanagement@raleighnc.gov to receive an update on your claim or if you have any questions regarding the process.

Didn't Find Your Answer?

If you did not find your answer here, please email the Solid Waste Services Customer Support Center or call 919-996-3245.

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Solid Waster Services Customer Care
919-996-3245

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