Household Garbage

Residents are to place garbage, recycling, and/or bulky items, at the curb on their collection days no later than 6 a.m. Do not block sidewalks or driveways. Do not place any carts or bulky items behind parked vehicles, utility poles, trees or any other obstructions. One bag of overflow garbage is allowed. It must be placed on top of the green garbage cart. Once emptied, carts must be removed from the curb within 24 hours after pickup.

Automated Trucks

The City of Durham services the majority of its customers with automated trucks. The truck has a mechanical arm that grabs, empties, and returns the cart to its original position. This makes cart placement essential to collection.


Garbage Truck with Automated Arm
Proper Cart Placement

Carts must NOT be blocked by vehicles or other obstructions. Lids must remain closed. It is important to remember the rule of 3s:
  • Carts must also be at least 3 feet from other objects such as mail boxes, fire hydrants, trees, or utility poles.
  • Carts must be placed at least 3 feet apart.
  • Place the cart no more than 3 feet from the curb.
Garbage and Recycling Cart Positioned Too Close Together
Driver Misses or Late Set Outs

If your cart was not serviced by 4:30 p.m. on collection day:
  • First, verify that you set your cart out on the correct day. Holidays normally push collections back one business day.
  • Collections can, at times, be delayed due to staff and/or vehicle related issues. Check our website for announcements, or better yet, sign up for notifications and service alerts through our app.
  • If the cart was set out on the proper day, check to see if your cart was tagged by a driver.
  • If your cart WAS tagged, you will need to correct the issue identified by the driver, then call 919-560-1200 to request collection or you can wait until your next regular collection day.
  • If the cart was set out on the correct day and was NOT tagged, call 919-560-1200 to report your missed collection. 
Reasons household garbage cart could be tagged:
  • Any of the prohibited items (listed on the right) are found in the green cart.
  • Cart is too heavy for the truck to lift.
  • Cart contains hazardous materials.
  • Cart contains fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Cart contains large amounts of liquid.
  • Cart is more than five feet from the curb.
  • Cart was not set out on time.
  • Trash was not disposed of in a city-issued cart.