Recycling cart overflowing

Example of how NOT to prep your recycling for curbside pickup

Curbside Pickup, Make Sure to Do Your Part

Prep it right, give us room, store your carts

You’ve seen our trucks and work crews coming through your neighborhood to collect garbage, recycling, and yard waste. We help keep communities clean, safe and vibrant -- and it’s a tough job! You may not realize it, but oftentimes your actions can make it tougher. We need your help to keep curbside services running smoothly.

Do your part and follow the rules before, during, and after collection service. 

Prep it right

  • Only recyclables go in the blue cart. Putting the wrong items in the recycling cart – plastic bags, Styrofoam, greasy pizza boxes, construction materials – contaminates the recycling stream. The material is less valuable and can be rejected, resulting in higher fees and wasting landfill space. Recyclables should be placed loose in the blue cart- no plastic bags, please!  
  • Keep it in the cart. Automated truck arms can’t pick up materials left on top of and around carts. Every time our crews need to get out of the truck to pick up the overflow by hand, we waste time and get behind schedule.  

Give us room

Leave a buffer around your carts and yard waste bags at the curb to give us room to do the job. Place carts and bags at least 3 feet away from parked cars, mailboxes, fences, power lines, etc.  

Store your carts

Raleigh has strict rules about how long before and after a scheduled pickup service you can leave carts at curb. This is to protect the appearance of neighborhoods and to keep streets clear for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.  

  • Place carts at the curb no earlier than noon the day before collection day and no later than 7 a.m. day of collection.
  • Remove carts from the curb no later than 7 p.m. the day after collection day.
  • Store carts where they cannot be seen from the road. 

Avoid hefty fines: Per Raleigh City Code, violating garbage, recycling, and yard waste preparation and collection rules can lead to hefty fines, starting at $100. Avoid administrative and civil penalties by doing your part.   
Find detailed instructions on proper curbside preparation, cart storage, and applicable fines and penalties on our garbage preparation page.  



Amanda Astor

Yard Waste Center