NC residents throwing away less, recycling more
Posted February 9, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolinians threw away less per capita in 2010-11 than at any time in nearly 20 years, according to a new state report.
The state's disposal rate fell below one ton per person for the first time since 1991-92, the North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Report says. The 2010-11 per capita disposal rate was 0.99 tons, down from 1.07 tons the previous year.
“Our data shows yet again that the state’s disposal rate is influenced heavily by the economy,” Dexter Matthews, director of the state Division of Waste Management, said in a statement. “We are pleased to note that continually expanding state recycling efforts are also contributing to the reduction reflected in this report."
The report also found the following:
- The amount of electronic equipment collected by counties and cities increased by 63 percent in 2010-11 after the General Assembly established a state electronic management program in 2010. The amount of electronic materials collected by local programs has nearly doubled since 2008-09, from 0.84 to 1.55 pounds per capita.
- The number of local curbside recycling programs reached a record high of 283 in 2010-11, serving more than 1.68 million households across the state.
- Reported prices for recyclable materials were extremely strong in 2010-11 before declining slightly at the end of the fiscal year, indicating healthy market demand for recovered commodities.
“North Carolina continues to make tremendous strides in the recovery of recyclable materials, which helps create jobs and feed a growing recycling economy,” Scott Mouw, chief of the Community and Business Assistance section in the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, said in a statement. “We still have room for improvement, but we are on the right path.”
The report recommends that state environmental officials increase the focus on recycling and the diversion of large solid waste management streams, such as food and wood wastes, to ensure that landfill capacity is available as the state’s population increases and the economic recovery strengthens. The report also calls on state officials to expand the collection of plastic bottles and other recyclables to meet the capacity of the state’s growing recycling markets.