Report Illegal Burning & Dumping

Provided is a guide to help report illegal dumping, littering, or burning or if you see unlawful scavenging from recycling containers.


If you see illegal dumping or piles or bags of waste call Solid Waste enforcement staff at 919-968-2788.

  • In Chapel Hill, call 919-969-5100.
  • Otherwise, call 911.

If you see dumping down a storm drain or directly into a water source, creek, lake or wetland:

  • Carrboro: 919-918-7326. 
  • Chapel Hill: 919-969-7246.
  • Hillsborough or unincorporated Orange County: 919-245-2588.


You can call or email the State Department of Transportation’s hot line: “Swat a Litterbug” when you see someone tossing anything from a cigarette butt to a bag of garbage.

  • Call DOT Customer Service Office at 1-877-DOT-4YOU (877-368-4968).
  • Request a mail-in card from Orange County Solid Waste Management 919-968-2788 or email Matt Taylor.
  • Swat a Litterbug on the NC DOT website.

Upon receipt of the litterbug information, NC DOT will:

  • Notify the vehicle owner of the littering offense
  • Inform the vehicle owner of the penalties for littering
  • Urge the litterbug to stop littering


It is illegal to burn garbage anywhere, anytime in Orange County. To report garbage burning, call Solid Waste Enforcement staff at 919-968-2788 or email Matt Taylor.

It is illegal to burn yard debris or leaves within Town limits of the three towns in Orange County. Call 911 to report it.

It is sometimes okay to burn yard debris or leaves in the unincorporated areas outside Town limits. If you see yard debris or leaves being burned and are not sure if it is okay or being done safely, call enforcement staff at 919-968-2788.


If you see anyone stealing materials from recycling containers, call 911. Do not attempt to stop them yourself. The materials inside the Orange County recycling containers become the property of Orange County once they are placed there.