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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News State State Report: NC Sets Record For Lowest Disposal Rate

State Report: NC Sets Record For Lowest Disposal Rate

RALEIGH, N.C. : April 25, 2013 - North Carolina has for the second straight year set a record for the lowest solid waste disposal rate since measurement of tonnage deposited in the landfill began in 1991, according to data released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The record-breaking disposal rates are helped by local government recycling programs, which are making progress in removing valuable materials from the waste stream and returning them to the economy. Among the state’s recycling leaders are Pitt and Catawba counties, where public recycling efforts combined to recycle more than 700 pounds of materials per person during the past year. Recycling efforts in these communities include a broad range of programs addressing household recycling and services for commercial, industrial and constructions wastes.
For Total Public Recycling, Per Capita Recovery, New Hanover County ranked 19th at 171.1 pounds per person. Brunswick County ranked 9th with 206.9 pounds. Pender County ranked 35th at 107.7 pounds. For Common Household Recyclables, Per Capita Recovery, New Hanover County ranked 19th at 124.9 pounds per person. Brunswick County ranked 5th at 124.9 pounds. Pender County ranked 33rd at 82.7 pounds.
“We are pleased to see the progress that municipal and county recycling programs are making,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Recyclable commodities are increasingly important feedstocks for North Carolina manufacturers, and community collection services are a vital part of the material supply chain.”
DENR tracks data statewide about recycling and disposal rates, and then publicizes its findings along with two different rankings of community recycling programs each spring. The latest rankings of community recycling programs can be found at the bottom of this news release.
The report made a number of encouraging findings, including that:
• The collection of common household recyclable materials such as paper, glass and plastics as well as construction debris and electronics, increased in fiscal 2011-12, helping North Carolina exceed 300 pounds per capita of recycling through municipal and county programs, according to the report.
• 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, jumping up 7 percent in one 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 large appliance metals to private scrap yards instead of county drop-off sites, the report states. The state agency also found that community collection of special wastes, such as used oil, oil filters, batteries, and household hazardous materials, stayed relatively flat.
In general, 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. “DENR will continue to try to help communities expand their recycling services while also helping make those services more cost effective.”
The state is also seeing continued expansion of recycling in the private sector, including the establishment of new material processing facilities and expanded operations of manufacturers such as Unifi, a textile company that uses recycled plastic bottles to make polyester for clothing and other products. Also, the state is making strides in the recycling of materials such as asphalt shingles, which can be used by paving companies as a cheaper feedstock for highway construction. Likewise, food waste represents a large waste stream that can be used to make compost and renewable energy.
Still, local government recycling programs remain a critical part of the state’s strategy to reduce waste sent to landfills and recover discarded commodities, according to Rob Taylor, local government recycling assistance team leader for DENR. The rankings published below are produced from annual reports submitted by every county and municipality, and each county’s ranking includes data from the municipalities within its borders. The first ranking lists the counties in order of their total tonnage of recycled materials; the second lists the counties in order of their recovery of common household recyclables.
For information on recycling and solid waste disposal, see the FY2011-12 North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Annual Report at