State report: North Carolina sets record for lowest disposal rate

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 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.

“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 http://bit.ly/11nKFYU .

Total Public Recycling, Per Capita RecoveryCommon Household Recyclables, Per Capita RecoveryRankCountyLbs/personRankCountyLbs/person1PITT COUNTY763.21PITT COUNTY340.72CATAWBA COUNTY701.12DARE COUNTY262.23PASQUOTANK COUNTY390.53WATAUGA COUNTY243.34DARE COUNTY341.64CATAWBA COUNTY229.25CUMBERLAND COUNTY313.85BRUNSWICK COUNTY192.06ORANGE COUNTY306.46ORANGE COUNTY190.57MACON COUNTY284.77BUNCOMBE COUNTY183.48WATAUGA COUNTY260.58GUILFORD COUNTY175.19BRUNSWICK COUNTY206.99CURRITUCK COUNTY173.210MECKLENBURG COUNTY202.610ONSLOW COUNTY173.111IREDELL COUNTY197.811IREDELL COUNTY172.612CURRITUCK COUNTY197.712CRAVEN COUNTY156.613BUNCOMBE COUNTY188.713ALLEGHANY COUNTY155.114SWAIN COUNTY188.614CABARRUS COUNTY149.415FORSYTH COUNTY188.215HAYWOOD COUNTY137.216ONSLOW COUNTY180.316MECKLENBURG COUNTY136.317GUILFORD COUNTY180.017MACON COUNTY132.418ALEXANDER COUNTY172.018ALEXANDER COUNTY125.919NEW HANOVER COUNTY171.119NEW HANOVER COUNTY124.920ALLEGHANY COUNTY169.820TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY117.621HAYWOOD COUNTY169.721WAKE COUNTY117.622CRAVEN COUNTY167.522SWAIN COUNTY116.623CABARRUS COUNTY152.223DURHAM COUNTY115.624MOORE COUNTY135.324MOORE COUNTY112.325JACKSON COUNTY133.825HYDE COUNTY103.626WAKE COUNTY133.126JACKSON COUNTY99.127HYDE COUNTY129.927CHOWAN COUNTY94.828MADISON COUNTY129.028DAVIE COUNTY94.429TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY126.229MADISON COUNTY93.130DURHAM COUNTY126.030FORSYTH COUNTY91.331CHOWAN COUNTY120.031SCOTLAND COUNTY89.3Continued next pageContinued next page32SCOTLAND COUNTY114.332PAMLICO COUNTY89.333GRANVILLE COUNTY112.133PENDER COUNTY82.734ASHE COUNTY109.434CUMBERLAND COUNTY81.735PENDER COUNTY107.735POLK COUNTY79.836CAMDEN COUNTY106.636CARTERET COUNTY75.737YANCEY COUNTY99.237GASTON COUNTY75.038PAMLICO COUNTY99.238CHATHAM COUNTY74.639DAVIE COUNTY98.639PASQUOTANK COUNTY73.440CHATHAM COUNTY96.340ASHE COUNTY72.841CARTERET COUNTY95.541NASH COUNTY71.342POLK COUNTY94.442CAMDEN COUNTY70.643MCDOWELL COUNTY92.643PERSON COUNTY69.144LINCOLN COUNTY91.944PERQUIMANS COUNTY63.945BURKE COUNTY89.945WAYNE COUNTY63.346PERQUIMANS COUNTY89.546ALAMANCE COUNTY60.647MITCHELL COUNTY88.647UNION COUNTY60.548NASH COUNTY86.548GRANVILLE COUNTY59.449PERSON COUNTY83.849MITCHELL COUNTY58.950GASTON COUNTY82.350LEE COUNTY58.451WAYNE COUNTY79.751YANCEY COUNTY57.552CLAY COUNTY79.352SURRY COUNTY57.553LEE COUNTY78.653WILSON COUNTY56.554CLEVELAND COUNTY78.054MONTGOMERY COUNTY56.455WILSON COUNTY73.855MCDOWELL COUNTY56.356ALAMANCE COUNTY72.256HENDERSON COUNTY55.857UNION COUNTY67.657LINCOLN COUNTY54.658AVERY COUNTY66.658RANDOLPH COUNTY51.959SURRY COUNTY65.659YADKIN COUNTY48.960HENDERSON COUNTY64.760DUPLIN COUNTY47.961WASHINGTON COUNTY62.461LENOIR COUNTY47.662DAVIDSON COUNTY61.762DAVIDSON COUNTY47.663MONTGOMERY COUNTY60.963BEAUFORT COUNTY47.464DUPLIN COUNTY60.964GATES COUNTY46.565GATES COUNTY59.965ROWAN COUNTY46.166RUTHERFORD COUNTY59.666WARREN COUNTY46.167BLADEN COUNTY59.667MARTIN COUNTY45.768RANDOLPH COUNTY58.668CLEVELAND COUNTY43.569MARTIN COUNTY58.169BURKE COUNTY41.170ROWAN COUNTY57.470RUTHERFORD COUNTY40.371JOHNSTON COUNTY57.071JOHNSTON COUNTY38.972LENOIR COUNTY55.772WASHINGTON COUNTY38.473FRANKLIN COUNTY54.873VANCE COUNTY35.9Continued next pageContinued next page74BEAUFORT COUNTY54.274WILKES COUNTY35.975YADKIN COUNTY53.375HERTFORD COUNTY35.876WARREN COUNTY52.376FRANKLIN COUNTY35.477ANSON COUNTY49.277CLAY COUNTY34.678HARNETT COUNTY46.178STANLY COUNTY33.079STANLY COUNTY44.179SAMPSON COUNTY33.080HERTFORD COUNTY43.980BLADEN COUNTY32.081WILKES COUNTY43.081HARNETT COUNTY30.482VANCE COUNTY41.382AVERY COUNTY29.583HOKE COUNTY40.583TYRRELL COUNTY28.984EDGECOMBE COUNTY40.184STOKES COUNTY27.785RICHMOND COUNTY39.285GREENE COUNTY26.686CALDWELL COUNTY38.586CALDWELL COUNTY25.887SAMPSON COUNTY37.887ROCKINGHAM COUNTY25.788ROCKINGHAM COUNTY35.388HOKE COUNTY25.589STOKES COUNTY32.789CHEROKEE COUNTY22.890TYRRELL COUNTY31.590RICHMOND COUNTY22.591GREENE COUNTY28.891EDGECOMBE COUNTY22.092CHEROKEE COUNTY27.992NORTHAMPTON COUNTY13.393COLUMBUS COUNTY18.593CASWELL COUNTY13.094NORTHAMPTON COUNTY15.294BERTIE COUNTY11.195CASWELL COUNTY13.595JONES COUNTY8.496BERTIE COUNTY12.696GRAHAM COUNTY5.997GRAHAM COUNTY11.297ANSON COUNTY5.798ROBESON COUNTY9.898ROBESON COUNTY3.799JONES COUNTY9.099HALIFAX COUNTY2.9100HALIFAX COUNTY5.5100COLUMBUS COUNTY2.8

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