Local News

Raleigh enforcing recycling rules

Posted August 16, 2009
Updated August 17, 2009

— Raleigh residents are likely wondering why some items are being left in recycle bins.

"We're getting more calls and e-mails from residents wondering why we're suddenly not taking things that we used to take,” said Bianca Howard, the city’s solid waste services education specialist.

Howard said its recycling rules haven't changed; however, collection crews are strictly enforcing the existing policies.

Raleigh enforces recycling rules Raleigh enforces recycling rules

"Our crews have done a really good job leaving things behind that are not recyclable,” Howard said.

The processor that handles Raleigh's recycling complained that deliveries were becoming contaminated with items it couldn't handle. That meant extra work for its employees and less money for the city.

So, collection crews have recently been leaving behind items that the processor can't recycle such as:

  • Non-bottle shaped plastic items, such as yogurt cups, bags, utensils and margarine tubs
  • Pizza boxes
  • Non-food glass products such as ceramic cups, vases, dishes, plate glass, mirrors and light bulbs

The following items are collected curbside:

  • newspapers and all inserts
  • magazines and catalogs
  • white paper, including junk mail
  • corrugated cardboard
  • paperboard, chipboard and paper tubes
  • steel food cans
  • aluminum beverage cans
  • aluminum foil and trays that are free of food debris
  • plastic beverage rings
  • glass food and beverage containers
  • gable top cartons
  • aseptic (drink) boxes

Raleigh can also recycle all plastic bottles.

"We have really good markets for soda bottles, water bottles, laundry bottles and other kinds of bottles,” Howard said.

The city also has seven recycling drop-off centers. All non-recyclable items must go to the landfill.

"Recycling is important, but making less trash in the first place is more important,” Howard said.

Details on Raleigh’s curbside recycling program can be found on its Web site.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Aug 19, 2009

    Other recycling available in Wake County...

    Wake County Recycling: http://www.wakegov.com/recycling/default.htm

    Wake County, Where & What to Recycle: http://www.wakegov.com/recycling/residents/wheretorecycle.htm

    Wake County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal/Recycling (now open 6 days at week): http://www.wakegov.com/recycling/residents/houshazwaste.htm

    There are 19 "Recycling" Convenience Centers where you can take your recycling. I simply plan my trips so that I stop by one of the Convenience Centers to take my recycling along the way to my destination. Sorting is not a big issue since my whole family participates and we make the effort as part of family activities.

    BTW, I do not burn any trash or yard waste. Either recycle or compost. To me, burning causes more gunk to be placed in the atmosphere and don't want to smoke-out my neighbors. Plus, with my luck, I will accidentally burn poison oak/ivy, which is very bad for your lungs.

  • DougWare.NET Aug 17, 2009

    As opposed to the nuts at the EPA....

  • GoGreen Aug 17, 2009


    Your research cites a single source. A source that claims we cannot harvest enough energy from alternative methods to meet our needs. A source that writes in defense of the fast food industry as being nutritious. Maybe you should check your facts from an organization other than the nuts from the Heartland Institute.

  • dugmeister Aug 17, 2009

    more... stupid link cut off...
    The biggest fallacy is the “it’s good for the environment” argument that we save energy and water resources by recycling. In fact, manufacturing paper, glass, and plastic from recycled materials uses appreciably more energy and water and produces as much or more air pollution as manufacturing from raw materials.

  • dugmeister Aug 17, 2009

    Some basic facts and figures for those unable to click a link:
    Many people believe recycling either pays for itself or is worth the cost. Both positions are wrong. Every community recycling program in America today costs more than the revenue it generates. The value of recycled materials on the open market has declined dramatically in recent years, and in many cases there is no market at all.
    We are not running out of, nor will we ever run out of, any of the resources we recycle. We are not cutting down “endangered forests” today to make paper. We plant far more trees than we harvest each year. Wood is in ample supply

  • dugmeister Aug 17, 2009

    whatever... below is a a link to some light reading for all you do gooder wanna bee's.

  • Nunya123 Aug 17, 2009

    Some basic facts and figures:

    recycling 1 short ton of paper (compared to new pulp production) saves 17 mature trees, 7000 gallons of water , saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Enough electricity to power a home for 1 year.

    These facts can be verified through many sources, the EPA, the EIA, the BIR and numerous others.

    My original contention was that recycling saves the environment at a monetary cost, but after doing this research I believe that if we did not currently have recycling in place, our costs for products would be substantially more than we pay now due to shortages created by over use.

    If we didn't recycle the 2.2 trillion pounds of plastic (bottles only) and 53.5 million tons of paper, something would have to give. We cannot continue to use these items and expect them to continue on for ever.

  • GoGreen Aug 17, 2009

    So DougWare gets 1/2 point so being partially correct on plastics. Unfortunately he is docked 2 points for his flawed analysis of paper and glass recycling.

    I did find an interesting page that states "Currently only about 3.5% of all plastics generated is recycled compared to 34% of paper, 22% of glass and 30% of metals. At this time, plastics recycling only minimally reduces the amount of virgin resources used to make plastics. Recycling papers, glass and metal, materials that are easily recycled more than once, saves far more energy and resources than are saved with plastics recycling."

    This alone should point to the economic advantages of recycling. 34%, 22% and 30% are NOT insignificant. I doubt these levels would be reached if recycling were not economically viable. BTW, the data comes from


    I know. It looks like a Bunch of liberals spreading their propaganda again but it was the best I could find while doing my independent research.

  • aintbackingdwn Aug 17, 2009

    I just burn my trash and use the ashes for mulch. If everybody would do this you'd never know cash for clunkers did a thing.

  • DougWare.NET Aug 17, 2009

    I just learned something else as well, you can't recycle paper more than 4-6 times. The wood pulp degrades and the fibers become too short to use as paper.