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Garbage haulers feel dumped on by recycling law

Posted October 12, 2009

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— Sanitation company operators say they feel a new state law banning plastic bottles from landfills unfairly targets them for punishment.

The plastic ban took effect this month, and Cumberland County can impose up to a $500 fine on anyone dumping plastic bottles in the local landfill, plus another $100 fine if landfill workers have to remove the materials.

Plastic bottles People still tossing plastic out despite bottle ban

William Skipper, the owner of All American Sanitation, said he still finds quite a bit of plastic in the trash of his 1,000 Cumberland County customers. He's already sent his customers warning letters to keep plastic bottles out of their garbage.

"We're going to have to put on an extra truck (and an) extra crew to run the areas just to pick up the recyclables. It's going to cost us all the way around," Skipper said.

All American hasn't raised its collection fees yet, but Skipper said it's a possibility, especially if he faces fines for dumping his customers' plastic bottles.

"If they're going to fine us, we can't afford the fines," he said.

County Solid Waste Manager Bobby Howard said he is giving waste haulers a month to adjust to the new law, and he said nobody will be fined for a couple of stray bottles.

"We're not out here to try to make people pay a $600 fine. We will not be doing that," Howard said. "However, if they dump a truck and it's loaded down with plastic, I'm going to ask them to get it back up."

State environmental regulators could impose a fine of up to $15,000 on landfills for violations like having banned materials. Officials with the state Division of Waste Management have said nobody would be fined that much for putting plastic bottles in landfills, but Howard said he could face fines if state agents find substantial amounts of plastic.

Howard said he’s already been fined $200 for having a single tire in the landfill. Like plastic bottles, tires are banned from landfills statewide.

“Infractions with the state are very high, and that’s because they don’t want you to do it again,” Howard said.

State fines would not be levied against private citizens who toss out plastic bottles, officials said.

Howard said the state is trying to educate the public about the new law to increase compliance with the bottle ban.

The city of Fayetteville has a curbside recycling program for plastic and other materials. For those who live outside the city, Cumberland County has 17 sites for residents to drop off recyclables.

79 Comments

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  • ScottW76 Oct 13, 2009

    Other states like NY have mandatory recycling laws. Why does NC have to be any different? Granted the waste industry needs to help by offering recycling programs to their customers to ensure that these programs work and reduce the chances of them getting fined.

  • discowhale Oct 13, 2009

    Go Green,
    with a small car (I'm already looking) and by limiting my utilities, using solar and wind and catching and reusing rain water and growing some of my food, I'll be a heck of a lot greener over there, than I can ever be in my 36 y/o apt building that bleeds heating and cooling like a sieve, where I can't compost or recycle like I used to in Garner. Apts are the antithesis of green, unless you live on the top floor and get "free" heat from below.

    See, for me, and most thinking folks, it's about an entire thought process and working on it, NOT just about how much gas one person uses or how many plastic bottles they recycle. And I'm not just about the environment either, I save money by not pumping money to the utilities, the oil companies, the grocery stores, etc, etc, etc.

    Yes it's more work, but anything worthwhile takes work.

  • fisunt Oct 13, 2009

    ok so I guess I'm just stupid. Aren't all my trash bags plastic. Are they going to start selling a different type of bag? Are we supposed to stop bagging and just throw it in the can loose? I remember the landfill in Raleigh on Western Boulevard. Your kids are playing soccer there now. Bet you didn't know that.

  • htomc42 Oct 13, 2009

    no taco pablo--

    That is an interesting illustration of how one ridiculous, unenforceable law leads to another, and another, until at the end we are living in an intolerable Nanny State.

    Bad laws are just like lies, they need to multiply to prop each other up.

  • tiggerjd3 Oct 13, 2009

    Con Amor, I like your idea. Just through it out the window and let the no good inmates, which we are supporting, pick them up. That will give them something to do. It just seems that this state create new laws and then do not know how to do their part. I agree that there needs to be recycling, but the state needs to do their part too. If the state cannot fix some of the simple solutions, then all these banned items will be everywhere, except recycled. This just goes to show that who we voted in has lost their brains.

  • mrtwinturbo Oct 13, 2009

    Many states have deposit laws, Michigan for one, every can and bottle (except tin) has a deposit on it. 5 cents for bottles and 10 cents for cans. This would almost cut the problem of bottles and cans in the land fills

  • protestthis Oct 13, 2009

    I am by no means condoning this - but look at it this way it is probably cheaper for some of these garbage co to just be fined "if they get caught" than to hire more staff, purchase more trucks/gas/ect, storage of recycled materials and then the cost to have it carted away. That cost either way... via fines or the additional cost of doing the right way - gets passed on to us.

  • protestthis Oct 13, 2009

    -no taco pablo

    A certain death to any retailer that decides that they will no longer accept cash purchases.
    Your comment is the exact reason I'm more inclined to take cash out of the atm machine and pay for my groceries in cash.

  • Qwerty27807 Oct 13, 2009

    This silliness has failed other places. Once the material is collected, there is typically no where to sell it to, or the recyclers CHARGE to accept the material (once you truck it to them). In a few years we will see stories about how it's "cheaper to take it to the landfill." Of course the municipalities will continue running 2 sets of trucks and all, and they'll both head to the landfill each afternoon. Next step will be charging by the bag with stickers or "official" bags. Individual residences will receive fines for things like recycling "not clean enough". (Yes folks, you'll be expected to wash your garbage soon -- count on it.) This is all a great money-maker for the local government officials. The "GARBAGE POLICE STATE" is why I left the Northeast. (SIGH)

  • GoGreen Oct 13, 2009

    "So common sense would lean towards the question ..."

    We don't need no stinkin' "common Sense" here on GOLO.

    I think Con Amor is on to something. Aside all the "re-use" ideas, why not have inmates all across the state sort the trash?

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