Local News

N.C. Trash-per-Person Continues to Grow

Posted April 30, 2007

— North Carolinians are making more trash, and it's not just because there are more of us.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Monday that figures for the 2005-06 fiscal year, the latest available, show state residents tossed away an average of 1.36 tons each, up 5 percent from the previous year.

The average also was up 27 percent from 1991-92, when the record-keeping started.

“This trend drives home the need for the state to address these issues head-on, right now,” said Paul Crissman, Solid Waste section chief in the Division of Waste Management.


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  • GWALLY May 1, 2007

    Steve post....."Recycling is NOT a zero-sum game. It costs far, far more to recycle than to make new. Of course, all those hidden costs are completely ignored by tree huggers. It's a lot like liberals with hidden taxes. They don't care how much they rape out of your paycheck just as long as you don't notice it directly.

    Recycling is a joke."

    Wow Steve, were did you get that from......I have been in the recycling business almost 20 years and when cost vs benefit factors are looked at carefully, recycling is NO JOKE!! It is the ONLY way to view any product you purchase.
    Case in point......it takes approx. 8 quarts of oil to produce the energy to manufacture a standard printer toner cartridge. It takes less than 1 pint of oil to manufacture the components to recycle/rebuild the same unit to reuse and keep it out of the landfill......just one of many examples I can think of.
    The cost to repair the environmental damage that is done is not factored in your cost figures!!!!!

  • erggggg May 1, 2007

    where did anyone ever say recycling is a zero-sum game? i think we knew all along recycling was meant to be a proactive thing. so the future generations could, you know, live and whatnots. steve--im guessing you dont have kids that plan on having kids who may or may not have kids themselves?

  • BIG YAWN May 1, 2007

    Recycling sounds all good but it all depends on who is taking your recycles. We started a program when I lived in Newport News. We were very careful in the separation and cleanliness of the recycles. After a while, sometimes the recycles would be picked up, other times they would be left at the curb. It got to the point if you messed up and put a bottle in the paper recycle or vice versa they wouldn't pick it up. I called the recycle people about it. Turns out all our hard labor of recycling...sorting...cleaning was being done for a municipality out-of-state. All the profits from it were going somewhere up north, New Jersey I think. I just started throwing things away. It was a lot of trouble and personally wasn't worth it.

  • LocalYokel May 1, 2007

    in the future, we will be mining our landfills and ditches for these precious resources that we call 'trash' today. We are such a wasteful society and it costs us.

  • muertavaca May 1, 2007

    make that "stevo, i think so!!"

  • muertavaca May 1, 2007

    Whoa, steve, man, dont get ahead of yourself there. There are sometimes costs that cannot be considered in terms of immediate economic terms. Theres something to be said for air we can breathe and water we can drink, or maybe some places where we can take a walk, say, 30 years from now, and really enjoy the clean environment in which we live...

    Why, oh why steve, are all people who think about our environment at all, instead of the short term costs of recycling for example, considered "tree huggers"? Think about the clean-up costs that we will inevitably pay if we don't take care of our careless waste today? Do you think that will be any more than paying a bit more for recycling now? Stevo, i think not!!

    And anyway, if we don't stop now, we'll turn out looking like New Jersey.

    Hey stevo, heres some cold hard facts about our "never-ending oil resources" for you, and its not a "tree hugger" website.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    One more issue about cost...

    When most people calculate the cost of recycling, say, a glass bottle, they look at the marginal cost of melting that bottle into slag and reforming it into a new bottle. That process is itself barely break even. But they never calculate all the other costs involved.

    To name a few: man hours to separate and store all the glass in the household. Payroll and expenses to pick up the recycled glass and haul it off. Payroll and machinery to separate and package the glass for shipping to reprossers. Wear and tear on the roads from all the extra recycling trucks. All the gas burned in just about every step of the process.

    Recycling is NOT a zero-sum game. It costs far, far more to recycle than to make new. Of course, all those hidden costs are completely ignored by tree huggers. It's a lot like liberals with hidden taxes. They don't care how much they rape out of your paycheck just as long as you don't notice it directly.

    Recycling is a joke.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    Oh please.

    There are two reasons to recycle. The first is to save "precious" natural resources. Yet glass is sand. Rather abundant. Aluminium and iron are two of the most plentiful elements on earth. Paper is made of trees, trees which are grown almost exclusively on tree farms, not harvested from the wild. Plastics are made of oil, of which we are in no way about to run out of. Yes, there is more oil out there to service mankind for centuries to come; it's just that tree huggers make it difficult, if not impossible, to get at. Think NC coastal petrol reserves.

    The other reason is to reduce landfills. I ask, has anyone actually seen a landfill? Not many, huh? Landfills are relatively small compared to the area they service. Granted, they are an eyesore for someone living right next to one, but they really don't take up that much space.

    And it simply costs more to recycle than it does to process new raw materials.

    So why bother?

  • silvfx May 1, 2007

    Reusing and recycling is the only real solution. Anybody who thinks we can continue to bury our trash is stupid. Fewer communities want landfills and especially in the Triangle land is too expensive. A bottle deposit bill is a good start, also alot stricter enforcement of existing recycling laws. I have several neighbors who cannot be bothered to put their bottles and cans in a bin. Perhaps a $100 fine would motivate them to do it. I am not a big fan of government oversight but until everybody gets the message we cannot continue on this path we will need tough enforcement.

  • ematson01 May 1, 2007

    The sad thing is that most things are recyclable but people just don't do it. Take the comment on most of the trash coming in the mail and packaging. I agree that these things are ridiculous, but I recycle all of my scrap paper, and they pick it up at the curb in Durham. That includes all parts of the packaging except the molded plastic parts and twist ties and that includes ALL of my junk mail. Unfortunately, I am one of three on my street that recycle out of about 25 houses. My neighbors put their trash cans overflowing out every week and I would only have to put mine out every three - four weeks if I waited to get it full. Part of what we need is a public marketing campaign to encourage recycling. I think it is selfish and illogical for people NOT to recycle.