Garbage, Recycling, and Yard Waste Preparation

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Garbage and Recycling Prep Yard Waste Prep Fines and Penalties Safety

We need your help to make sure curbside collection goes smoothly. Please review the sections below for information on which items can be collected and when.

Garbage and Recycling Prep

Follow the steps below to make sure to put the right item in the right cart at the right time.

Step   Description 
1. Prep it
  • Bag garbage before placing it in the cart to keep cart clean, lessen odors and reduce litter problems. For recyclables, keep it loose and bag-free (no plastic bags in the cart). View non-accepted items for garbage and recycling carts
2. Use the right cart 
  • Use only City-issued carts; no other carts will be emptied for garbage.
  • Carts placed at townhomes, condos, apartments, rooming houses, etc., must be labeled with the street address, unit number or letter.
  • Note: Purchased containers without the City's proof of purchase sticker will be removed from your property.
3. Place your cart curbside (the right way) on your collection day
  • Place garbage and recycling carts a few inches from the curb or edge of the street, not in the street.
  • Keep carts at least three feet from other objects (i.e. vehicles, mail boxes, fences, power lines).
  • The lid on a full cart should not be open more than 12 inches open.
  • Position carts so that cart handle faces your house (see arrows on the lid). This will ensure the lid opens properly and is not damaged when emptied.
  • Place cart at the curbside no earlier than noon the day before your collection day and no later than 6 a.m. on collection day.
4. Move your car if needed 
  •  You should not park on the street on collection day. Parking on the street may prevent us from servicing your cart.
5. Remove your cart after collection day
  • Remove carts from the curb by 7 p.m. the day after collection.
  • Carts should be stored where they cannot be seen from the street.

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 and Recycling Carts

Not all items can go into your City garbage and recycling carts. View non-accepted items for garbage and recycling carts

Yard Waste Prep

Leaves and sticks

Yard waste can be placed curbside for collection (see specific instructions below). 

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

  1. 95-gallon City-issued cart.
  2. Biodegradable paper bags. Limit of 15 bags per collection, with a weight limit of 25 pounds per bag. 
  3. Bundles of sticks tied with rope or twine. Limit of 5 bundles per collection, with a weight limit of 50 pounds per bundle. 

Please note: black or clear plastic bags containing yard waste will not be collected. Biodegradable paper bags are sold at many local hardware, home improvement, and discount stores.

To set out yard waste, follow these instructions:

 Step   Description 
  • Limbs and brush must be securely tied into bundles of no more than five feet in length, 18 inches in diameter, and weighing no more than 50 pounds. Limit the number of bundles set out for collection to 5. 
  • Limit the number of biodegradable paper bags set out for collection to 15.
  • 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.
  • Improperly prepared yard waste that was not collected and yard waste containers must be removed from the curb by 7 p.m. on the day after your collection.
Items Never Accepted
  • Logs and limbs more than six inches in diameter or over five feet in length, stumps, rocks, old mulch, and dirt will not be collected.
  • 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 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Fines and Penalties

Part 7 of the Raleigh City Code governs 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. Garbage or recycling containers or yard waste placed too early or still 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.

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

Violation   Fine/Penalty Amount 
Garbage/Yard Waste First Violation  Initial Warning Letter
Garbage/Yard Waste Second Violation   $100 Administrative Fee 
Garbage/Yard Waste Third Violation in a 12-Month Period   $100 Administrative Fee

$250 Civil Penalty for each 24 hour period the violation exists
Recycling Waste Violation* $150 Administrative Fee per violation

$250 Civil Penalty per violation

*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 enforcement actions in the above table. 

Appeal Citation

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:



In the event of a hydraulic spill in your neighborhood, please contact our Chief Safety and Compliance Officer at


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 to receive an update on your claim or if you have any questions regarding the process.