Solid Waste Services, Recycling and Waste Reduction 


Recycling, Reuse, Waste Reduction and Composting

Residents, businesses and other organizations are asked to put less material into garbage containers by:

  •        reducing waste (avoiding one-time-use items and excess packaging);
  •        reusing items (for example, by using cloth napkins and washable dishes)
  •        recycling (please see the list below of recyclable items); and
  •        composting yard and kitchen wastes (non-animal products only). 

For information on various ways that you can participate in waste reduction, recycling or composting programs, please contact Orange Community Recycling.  You can also call for information on composting vegetative food waste, recycling computer equipment, used furniture and other household items, and to arrange a waste reduction presentation or landfill tour for any school in Orange County in which Orange County residents attend. 

Residential Solid Waste Collection

The Town provides weekly curbside garbage collection to 10,000 single-family homes and some small businesses. Semi-automated, rear loading vehicles are used to collect garbage from 68-gallon capacity roll-out carts which are provided to residents at no cost.  This system improves the appearance of neighborhoods on collection day, eliminates garbage spillage by stray animals, and significantly decreases the odor problems associated with the storage of garbage.

Garbage is to be placed at the curb no earlier than 4:00 p.m. on the day before collection, with containers removed before 6:00 a.m. on the day following collection. Failure to remove garbage roll-out carts or containers from the curb may result in a $25.00 dollar per day fine.

Garbage service is conducted on Monday and Tuesday. If a resident receives Monday garbage service, they will receive Thursday yard waste collection. If a resident receives Tuesday garbage service, they will receive Friday yard waste collection.

Please help us provide efficient, safe and timely service to all residents by:

  • putting carts or cans where a collector can conveniently get to them.
  • using Town provided roll-out carts or cans 32-gallon or smaller size.
  • making sure that cans 32-gallon or smaller sizes weigh less than 60 pounds when full. 
  • using cans 32-gallon or smaller sizes that have tight-fitting lids, and that are water-tight and fly-proof. 
  • putting all garbage and household refuse in watertight bags and secured at the top to prevent spillage before being placed in refuse receptacles.
  • wash roll-cart with soap and water as needed.

If your collection day falls on a holiday,  you will receive notice by flyer and newspaper  when your next service day will be that week. 

State laws and local ordinances do not allow the Town to bury several items in the landfill, including

  • yard waste* (including yard waste mixed with household refuse),
  • recyclable corrugated cardboard from businesses, multi-family areas and construction activity,
  • building materials,
  • liquids,
  • appliances,
  • tires,
  • motor oil,
  • auto and boat batteries, 
  • aluminum cans  (including cans mixed with household refuse)
  • household hazardous waste.

Yard waste  which is not mixed with other material is chipped into mulch and offered for sale at the landfill.

Exempt Service

Residents over 70 and residents who are physically unable to move a roll-out cart to the curb may request an exemption by calling Public Works at 968-2796. Additional consideration may be given to difficult geographical conditions at individual residences.

Roll-Out Cart Delivery and Repair

Residents may call Public Works at 968-2796 to schedule roll-out cart delivery and repair. Roll-out carts are the property of the Town of Chapel Hill and must be left at the residence if the resident moves.

The University provides refuse and recycling collection on campus.

For more information on collection services, please call Public Works at 968-2796 (682-8636, ext. 2796 from Verizon exchanges) between 8 am and 5 pm on  weekdays.

Yard Waste Collection

The Town provides weekly, curbside collection of yard waste from the residences.  If a resident receives Monday garbage service, they will receive Thursday yard waste collection. If a resident receives Tuesday garbage service, they will receive Friday yard waste collection. Yard waste includes brush, limbs, leaves, grass clippings and other yard or garden wastes.

The Town requests that loose leaves be placed in a yard waste roll cart or other rigid container; bags will not be collected. Yard waste roll carts are available from the Town's Public Works Department at a cost of $43 per cart. Please call the Public Works at 968-2796 for additional information on these carts and disposal policies.

Yard waste or brush may be bundled (up to 60 pounds and up to 4 feet long in each bundle) or put in loose piles of up to 3 cubic yards at one time. Three cubic yards are about the size of a small pick-up truckload. All yard waste must be behind the curb or street side.

If garbage or other refuse is mixed with yard waste, the refuse and yard waste cannot be collected. State law does not allow the Town to bury yard waste in the landfill.

Yard Waste collection is suspended the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas due to Town holidays.

Residents are encouraged to compost yard waste or, for large amounts, to use the optional service of renting a special 12 cubic yard container for disposing yard trimmings and brush.  The Town's Solid Waste Services staff will deliver and pick up the container.  The fee is  $13 per day or weekend. You may arrange for this service by calling Public Works at 968-2796.

Appliances, furniture and other large items

Large bulky items such as furniture and appliances are collected on request at the edge of the street for a fee of $15 for up to three items.  ($5 for each additional item).

This optional service may be arranged by paying the fee in advance at the Public Works office on Municipal Drive (west of Airport Road and north of Estes Drive, across from the Piney Mountain Road intersection; 968-2796; between 8 am and 5 pm on a weekday).

These large items are not picked up with regular refuse collection because they are not practical to put in regular refuse trucks.  Usable items may be deposited free of charge at the salvage sheds at a Solid Waste Convenience Center at Eubanks Rd., Ferguson Rd. or Highway 57.  No mattresses or upholstered furniture are allowed.

Commercial refuse collection

The Town provides one collection per week to businesses and multi-family residential neighborhoods through their tax rate.  Additional service up to five days a week is offered for a fee.

Businesses and apartment complexes may arrange additional collections per week for a fee by calling Public Works at 968-2796 for more information.

Under policies adopted by Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County to extend the life of the landfill, the Town does not collect businesses’ and apartment complexes’ refuse if it includes corrugated cardboard. Businesses and apartment complexes are encouraged to recycle corrugated cardboard. For more information, please call 968-2796.

Orange Regional Landfill

Residents of Chapel Hill who wish to take household refuse to the Orange Regional Landfill on Eubanks Road may do so at no charge by obtaining a permit from the Public Works Department, 1099 Airport Road (west side of NC 86 and north of Estes Drive, via Municipal Drive across from Piney Mountain Road), between 8  a.m. and 5  p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Landfill is open from 7:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 am to 12:00 noon on Saturdays. For more information, please call the Landfill at 932-2989.

Leaf Collection

From mid-October to mid-March, piles of leaves and/or pine straw are collected along the edge of streets. At other times, please put leaves in a yard waste roll cart which can be purchased for $43 from the Public Works Department 968-2796 or other rigid container, or in a clear plastic bag for pick-up at the edge of the street. The frequency of leaf collection varies over the winter, depending on weather and the amounts put out for collection Town-wide.

Residents can have leaves delivered to their homes for compost or garden use by calling the Chapel Hill Public Works Department at 968-2796.  Information on composting is also available from the NC Botanical Garden (962-0522), Orange County Agricultural Extension Agent (968-4501 or 967-9251) or Orange Community Recycling at 968-2788 (682-8636, ext. 2788 from Verizon exchanges).