RALEIGH – 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 Tuesday 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.
“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.
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.