Local News

Quality, quantity equally important for Raleigh recycling

Posted May 15, 2015 9:40 a.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2015 10:39 a.m. EDT

— While the quantity of what Raleigh residents recycle has climbed steadily since the city expanded its curbside service in 2010, it's the qualtity of old stuff that officials say will keep the program sustainable long term.

At the Sonoco Recycling facillity on Rogers Lane, workers go through mountains of recyclables, sorting the items so they can be bundled and sold to buyers around the world.

Bianca Howard, a community education specialist for the city, says residents have been doing their part to reduce the trash in area landfills.

"Over the last few years, we've noticed that garbage is declining while recycling continues to rise," she said.

Despite that, declining demand for recycled products has made the quality of what Raleigh gathers more important.

Ven Poole, CEO of Raleigh-based Waste Industries, said China's slowing economy and the fact that businesses use less paper are two reasons for decreased demand.

"If that supply and demand get upside down, it's unsustainable in the long term," he said. "Until we get a bigger demand side of this equation, we're going to have problems."

Sonoco says more efficient recycling by Raleigh residents will save both time and money at the plant. Currently, about 10 percent of what is received there can't be used.

Recycling tips:

  • Lightly rinse glass, metal and plastic containers
  • Lids of steel food cans should be inside the can for safety
  • Crush beverage cans
  • Recyclable items should be free of food debris
  • No food contaminated paper (greasy pizza boxes)
  • Fasten the tie straps on recycling bins and close lids on carts