NC recycling more, tossing less in landfills

Posted April 25, 2013

The South Wake Landfill in Holly Springs opened in 2008 and is expected to handle area trash until the mid-2030s.

— For the second straight year, North Carolina has set a record for the lowest solid waste disposal rate since measurement of tonnage deposited in landfills began in 1991, officials said Thursday.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources attributed the decline in landfill trash to local recycling programs. Pitt and Catawba counties, for example, recycled more than 700 pounds of waste materials per person between them last year.

“We are pleased to see the progress that municipal and county recycling programs are making,” DENR Secretary John Skvarla said in a statement. “Recyclable commodities are increasingly important feedstocks for North Carolina manufacturers, and community collection services are a vital part of the material supply chain.”

Other findings of the annual DENR study are as follows:

  • Recovery of common household recyclables rose in fiscal 2011-12 by about 2 percent from the previous year, approaching 500,000 tons collected statewide.
  • Curbside recycling services are expanding and improving, giving more North Carolinians convenient opportunities to recycle.
  • A record-breaking 298 curbside programs served 1.8 million households across the state in fiscal 2011-12, a 7 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Collection of electronics, such as television sets and computers, also saw a big increase, almost doubling in tonnage as more communities offered collection programs.
  • Some materials, such as large appliance metals, declined slightly, in part because healthy metal prices prompted residents to take the devices to private scrap yards instead of county drop-off sites.
  • Collection of special wastes, such as used oil, oil filters, batteries and household hazardous materials, stayed relatively flat.

The momentum in local recycling programs is helping suppress the state’s dependence on solid waste landfills, said Scott Mouw, the state’s recycling coordinator.

“Our efforts to help improve the efficiency of local recycling programs are paying off,” Mouw said in a statement. “DENR will continue to try to help communities expand their recycling services while also helping make those services more cost effective.”


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  • apextammy Apr 26, 2013

    Cary collects recycling 1x every two weeks. We have a lot of recycling and most of the time, we are not able to put more into the recycling bin (won't fit) - and since the Cary worker will not pick up other 'cans' for recycling, we are forced to toss the items in the trash. I do not want to purchase another recycling bin. I simply want them to either 1. come every week for recycling or 2. allow me to use another bin for my overflow.

  • djofraleigh Apr 26, 2013

    I pay Waste Industries about $5/mo for a recycling bin on wheels, and it is full each week while my bigger garbage can is almost empty. I was shocked at that fact. Recycling cans should be required, or at least, not recycling should be costly somehow.

    There's a guide for Wake Landfill as to what is and isn't recyclable. I take tops off bottles, wash out cans and jars, and put tin can lids inside the can so workers won't get cut. Contrary to others, I've been putting my cardboard in with recycle. Isn't that OK? Someone has to separate the stuff I guess after machines do their thing.

  • kitelover110 Apr 26, 2013

    I wish that Harnett County was mmore proactive regarding recycling. In order to recycle items such as plastic, glass, metal cans, newspapers/magazines, the county residents must haul it to the landfill themselves. Thereare no "convenient" recyclingt centers such as those in Wake County. Although I haul mu recycleables to the site at the landfill (about a 20 mile roundtrip), I think that most residents just put those items in the trash and it goes into the landfill. Wake up Harnett County!

  • whatelseisnew Apr 25, 2013

    I wish they would transition packaging back to mostly paper. I take my recycles to one of the county drop-offs. My private hauler went from giving me a 3 dollar credit per month to wanting to charge me 5 dollars per month for one of those tiny bins. Then they would only take, milk bottles, water bottles, soda bottles, glass and aluminum cans. If you put any other plastic container, say a peanut butter container, they would not take it. No cardboard either. I make about 6 trips per year to the county drop-off and I can recycle a lot more items.

  • goldenosprey Apr 25, 2013

    "Less business means less trash."

    Didn't think we could just have good news for too long.

    Big, wheeled carts definitely make a difference for a lot of consumers. Taking it somewhere or those wee green boxes that didn't hold 3 days' worth caused folks to put the excess in the landfill.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Apr 25, 2013

    Less business means less trash.

  • ashewing Apr 25, 2013

    One thing my recycle company won't let me recycle is cardboard and this drives me crazy!! I have a lot of it and it just gets thrown out :( Otherwise I recycle glass, plastic and aluminum products which is nice.

  • GravyPig Apr 25, 2013

    This is one of the things I love about Cary. Their recycling program takes just about anything that can be recycled. My little brown can gets a work out.

  • Obamacare survives Apr 25, 2013

    •Curbside recycling services are expanding and improving, giving more North Carolinians convenient opportunities to recycle.

    This is the key. The large canisters with wheels make it much more convenient and actually encourage people to recycle more with less mess.

  • for the people Apr 25, 2013

    this is fantastic news. everyone should recycle, reuse, and be a lot more kind to our precious environment in general. we recyle everything at home. and, as the previous poster mentioned, we often have more for the recycle bin than the trash bin.