Cary, NC — Nestled in the heart of downtown Cary around businesses, houses and even a park is a site where residents can drop off bulky or excess household waste. I got a behind-the-scenes look at the Citizen’s Convenience Center.
Citizen’s Convenience Center
“I’m taking a tour of the Citizen’s Convenience Center,” I told my Cary neighbor two weeks ago.
With a puzzled expression, he just stared at me. “Oh, you mean the town dump,” he said when I started to explain what the Convenience Center, a site where Cary residents can drop off trash, recyclables, furniture, yard waste and more, was.
It turns out that a lot of Cary citizens know the Convenience Center as the town dump, so I asked Bob Holden, Cary’s Solid Waste Division Manager and my personal tour guide, why this site is called what it is. Bob explained to me that the Citizen’s Convenience Center, which is situated in the heart of downtown Cary, is meant to be a convenient, close-by drop-off site for Cary residents who don’t want to make the trip to the Wake County landfill to drop off their discards.
What’s the Difference?
The Citizen’s Convenience Center is not a landfill, meaning that it is not a place where trash is dumped into the ground. Instead, it’s a place where citizens can drop off almost any of their bulky household trash – furniture, appliances, recyclables, yard waste, etc. – into bins that are kept at the Convenience Center until a truck comes to pick them up and take them to the South Wake Landfill or to other sites for proper disposal.
“The garbage trucks that pick up trash from your home don’t bring the trash here – they take it straight to the Wake County landfill,” Bob told me. I did find out, though, that the trucks can drop-off trash at the Cary site if they ever need to.
Editor’s Note: Check out my previous story about the South Wake Landfill.
What You Can Drop Off…
If your trash can is overflowing, or if you just don’t want to wait until garbage day, you can drop-off bags of ordinary household trash – household bagged garbage – at the Citizen’s Convenience Center. The trash bags are stored in big bins, and, a couple of times a week, the bins are unloaded into trucks and taken to the landfill.
What else can you drop off at the Citizen’s Convenience Center? The simple answer is “anything but hazardous waste,” which includes paint and household cleaning products. Here’s a list of all accepted items at the Cary site:
- Household bagged garbage
- Bulky trash such as old furniture and other broken household items – fees may apply
- White goods or appliances for recycling – disposal fees apply
- Residential yard waste and wood pallets
- Residential recycling
- Misc. (small) electronics
- Electronics – fees may apply
Free Curbside Pickup on Trash Day
Some of these items – like yard waste and small recyclables – can be picked up at your curb on trash day for free with no notice required. Just like in the case of household bagged garbage, the Cary site is simply a drop-off for residents who don’t have enough room in their bins or for those who don’t want to wait until garbage or recycling day.
Schedule a Curbside Pickup
Other items, like electronics and appliances, can be picked up at your curb if you make a special request. Citizens can call 919-469-4090 to schedule a pickup for these bulky items. What’s the difference in taking these to the Convenience Center versus leaving them at the curb? A small difference in charge. Appliances, for instance, can be disposed for $9 at the Cary site, while a scheduled pickup costs you $19. You can take any items to Wake County’s two large landfills for no charge.
This chart shows explains it all.
Where Does My Trash Go?
As long as the Citizen’s Convenience Center is open (the hours are listed below), there will be someone there to direct you to the bin where your particular waste goes. I saw a large recycling bin for cardboard boxes (make sure you break them down beforehand) and a bin for papers, aluminum and glass waste. A large pile of yard waste is also available for excess leaves, grass clippings, etc. that come from your yard. These contents are recycled into products like soil or mulch.
No Hazardous Waste in Cary
If you have household hazardous waste products (like paint, pesticides and household cleaners), you’ll need to take them to either the North Wake or the South Wake Landfill for proper disposal. Like at the Citizen’s Convenience Center, staff and signs will be there to direct you where to go. Here’s a list of acceptable materials that are considered hazardous waste.
South Wake Landfill – 6130 Old Smithfield Road, Apex
North Wake Landfill – 9300 Deponie Drive, Raleigh
Location & Hours
Check these times before you visit the Citizen’s Convenience Center.
Citizen’s Convenience Center
313 N. Dixon Avenue, Downtown Cary
Monday – Friday, 8 am – 7 pm
Saturday, 8 am – 6 pm
Sunday, 1 pm – 6 pm
- The Trash Series: 7,485 Tons of Leaves
- The Trash Series: Recycling Do’s & Don’ts
- The Trash Series: My Day at the Landfill
- The Trash Series: Where Does Yard Waste Go?
Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.