Rural Curbside Recycling

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Rural Curbside Recycling Collection is collected every other week on a regular schedule in 100% of the unincorporated areas of Orange County, NC.

Click here for the list of materials collected at the curb in Orange County
Listen to the Commingle Jingle by Tim Smith and the Recyclettes (Turn on your speakers!)
2018 holiday schedule
Special Collection Form for Disabled Customers
Cart Set-out Guide to help ensure proper cart collection

Residents in the unincorpartated portion of Orange County can choose either one 95-gallon wheeled cart or two 18-gallon orange bins for their every other week collection:     

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Recycling location or other factors may influence your choice of using a cart or using bins.  If you choose a cart, however, use only your cart.  Collection staff will not collect both bins and carts from a single household.

  • Cart dimensions are 45”high, 29”wide and 34”deep.
  • Bin dimensions are 14” high, 24” wide and 18” deep.
Call (919) 968-2788 or email our office to get on our delivery list.  Please allow up to 2 weeks for delivery. We only deliver recycling containers to households that request them.

If you prefer 18-gallon orange bins for your every-other-week curbside collection, request a delivery, or pick them up Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Solid Waste Management Department Administration office, 1207 Eubanks Rd, Chapel Hill NC 27516.

Each household can receive two bins at no charge. Replacement for lost or damaged bins are available at no cost. Additional bins may be purchased for $7.00 from our office. If you do not have a recycling cart, you may use other rigid plastic containers similar in size and shape to the orange curbside recycling bins such as a laundry basket or a milk crate.

Contact our office
 if your cart is missing or it needs a repair.  Cart replacement costs $60, however there is no charge for a one time replacement if the loss or damage is through no fault of the household. If resident would like to lease an additional cart they may do so for an annual fee of $60.

Click here for the Rural Route Schedule, effective July 1, 2018. Look for your street on the alphabetical list then click on the route number to find out your schedule. If you would like a calendar card with your schedule mailed to you, email us and we will send you one.

Click here for a .pdf of the 2017-18 Rural Curbside Recycling Guide


  • Have your recycling out by 7AM on your collection day, and remove your cart or bins from the curb within 24 hours after it is picked up. If your recycling was out by 7AM on your collection day but was not collected, please CALL our office by the next business day so we can get to that issue right away: (919) 968-2788
  • Carts should be set out along the street edge with the cart opening facing the street, and nothing blocking the cart, or on top that could prevent access.
  • Cart lid should close completely to prevent wind-blown debris.  Do not bungee cart lid closed.
  • Leave items loose in your cart. Never place recyclables bagged up inside your cart or bins.
  • Don’t try to recycle plastic bags at the curb. Recycle plastic bags at grocery stores instead.  
  • Do not use a plastic bag, garbage can, or cardboard box to set out your recyclables.   
  • Never place plastic bags, styrofoam, food or other garbage in your curbside collection.

It is not mandatory to use curbside recycling even though it is available to you.  It is Orange County's goal to encourage recycling County-wide.  There is no additional charge for curbside recycling service. It and other solid waste and recycling services are funded by the Solid Waste Programs Fee.

Use your curbside recycling bins and carts for Bottles, Cans, Jars, Jugs, Tubs, and All Paper, all together in a single stream.  See the list below for details.



Tubs, cups and buckets #2, #4 and #5

Tubs, cups and buckets and other rigid non bottle plastics #2, #4, #5 only.

#1, #6, r #7 boxes or clamshells, no styrofoam, no plastic bags or other non-rigid plastics. 
Recycle clean dry plastic bags at grocery stores.
crushedbottleslidssmall                                Plastic Bottles, Jugs and Jars Plastic bottles have a neck smaller than the base.  Leave the cap on! 
It is against NC State Law to landfill plastic drink bottles; they must be recycled.
No plastic bags or other non-rigid plastics, No clamshells or Styrofoam.

GlassbottlesjarswebGlass Bottles and Jars

Clear, brown, green and blue glass bottles and jars only.  Rinse clean. Lids and labels are OK. No dishes, ceramics, cookware, window glass, drinking glass, light bulbs, Pyrex or mirrors


Metal Cans

Aluminum and steel/tin food or beverage cans.  Tuck metal lids inside cans and crimp the edge shut.
It is against NC State Law to landfill aluminum drink cans; they must be recycled.
No scrap metal, pots, pans or car parts.


Aerosol Spray Cans

Must be completely empty.  Do not puncture or flatten.  


Aluminum Foil and Trays

Must be clean. Rinse off any food residue and crush what you can to save space. No foil with food or lots of grease on it.

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Mixed Paper

Any clean, dry paper that tears. Junk mail, office and school paper, manila folders. Envelope windows and staples are OK.

Shredded paper with mixed paper is OK if it is in a paper bag.

No tissue or paper towels. No wax coated or laminated paper. Remove credit cards or other plastic items from junk mail.


Single layer cardboard

Cereal boxes, cracker boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, frozen food boxes, etc. Remove any plastic or foil lining.   

 Cardboard stack   Corrugated Cardboard (includes pizza boxes, if they are clean and empty)

Empty and flatten boxes.  If you are using a recycling cart, please be sure corrugated cardboard fits loosely inside your cart!
If you recycle using orange bins, pieces must be no larger that 3'x3', limit 10 unless they fit inside your bin. 
NO plastic or Styrofoam packaging!  Pizza boxes must be completely empty and free of cheese and grease.


Food and drink cartons of all types

Flat-topped and gable topped drink boxes.  Plastic spouts are OK.  Rinse clean and flatten.  



Newspaper and associated inserts.  Remove plastic bags or rubber bands before recycling.



24-hour recycling drop-off sites have Magazine Racks for the reuse and sharing of magazines in good condition.  



Phone books and other paperback books are OK. Must be clean. Remove from plastic bags before recycling.  No hardcover books.

 Thank you for recycling!