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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.
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|Total Public Recycling, Per Capita Recovery||Common Household Recyclables, Per Capita Recovery|
|1||PITT COUNTY||763.2||1||PITT COUNTY||340.7|
|2||CATAWBA COUNTY||701.1||2||DARE COUNTY||262.2|
|3||PASQUOTANK COUNTY||390.5||3||WATAUGA COUNTY||243.3|
|4||DARE COUNTY||341.6||4||CATAWBA COUNTY||229.2|
|5||CUMBERLAND COUNTY||313.8||5||BRUNSWICK COUNTY||192.0|
|6||ORANGE COUNTY||306.4||6||ORANGE COUNTY||190.5|
|7||MACON COUNTY||284.7||7||BUNCOMBE COUNTY||183.4|
|8||WATAUGA COUNTY||260.5||8||GUILFORD COUNTY||175.1|
|9||BRUNSWICK COUNTY||206.9||9||CURRITUCK COUNTY||173.2|
|10||MECKLENBURG COUNTY||202.6||10||ONSLOW COUNTY||173.1|
|11||IREDELL COUNTY||197.8||11||IREDELL COUNTY||172.6|
|12||CURRITUCK COUNTY||197.7||12||CRAVEN COUNTY||156.6|
|13||BUNCOMBE COUNTY||188.7||13||ALLEGHANY COUNTY||155.1|
|14||SWAIN COUNTY||188.6||14||CABARRUS COUNTY||149.4|
|15||FORSYTH COUNTY||188.2||15||HAYWOOD COUNTY||137.2|
|16||ONSLOW COUNTY||180.3||16||MECKLENBURG COUNTY||136.3|
|17||GUILFORD COUNTY||180.0||17||MACON COUNTY||132.4|
|18||ALEXANDER COUNTY||172.0||18||ALEXANDER COUNTY||125.9|
|19||NEW HANOVER COUNTY||171.1||19||NEW HANOVER COUNTY||124.9|
|20||ALLEGHANY COUNTY||169.8||20||TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY||117.6|
|21||HAYWOOD COUNTY||169.7||21||WAKE COUNTY||117.6|
|22||CRAVEN COUNTY||167.5||22||SWAIN COUNTY||116.6|
|23||CABARRUS COUNTY||152.2||23||DURHAM COUNTY||115.6|
|24||MOORE COUNTY||135.3||24||MOORE COUNTY||112.3|
|25||JACKSON COUNTY||133.8||25||HYDE COUNTY||103.6|
|26||WAKE COUNTY||133.1||26||JACKSON COUNTY||99.1|
|27||HYDE COUNTY||129.9||27||CHOWAN COUNTY||94.8|
|28||MADISON COUNTY||129.0||28||DAVIE COUNTY||94.4|
|29||TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY||126.2||29||MADISON COUNTY||93.1|
|30||DURHAM COUNTY||126.0||30||FORSYTH COUNTY||91.3|
|31||CHOWAN COUNTY||120.0||31||SCOTLAND COUNTY||89.3|
|32||SCOTLAND COUNTY||114.3||32||PAMLICO COUNTY||89.3|
|33||GRANVILLE COUNTY||112.1||33||PENDER COUNTY||82.7|
|34||ASHE COUNTY||109.4||34||CUMBERLAND COUNTY||81.7|
|35||PENDER COUNTY||107.7||35||POLK COUNTY||79.8|
|36||CAMDEN COUNTY||106.6||36||CARTERET COUNTY||75.7|
|37||YANCEY COUNTY||99.2||37||GASTON COUNTY||75.0|
|38||PAMLICO COUNTY||99.2||38||CHATHAM COUNTY||74.6|
|39||DAVIE COUNTY||98.6||39||PASQUOTANK COUNTY||73.4|
|40||CHATHAM COUNTY||96.3||40||ASHE COUNTY||72.8|
|41||CARTERET COUNTY||95.5||41||NASH COUNTY||71.3|
|42||POLK COUNTY||94.4||42||CAMDEN COUNTY||70.6|
|43||MCDOWELL COUNTY||92.6||43||PERSON COUNTY||69.1|
|44||LINCOLN COUNTY||91.9||44||PERQUIMANS COUNTY||63.9|
|45||BURKE COUNTY||89.9||45||WAYNE COUNTY||63.3|
|46||PERQUIMANS COUNTY||89.5||46||ALAMANCE COUNTY||60.6|
|47||MITCHELL COUNTY||88.6||47||UNION COUNTY||60.5|
|48||NASH COUNTY||86.5||48||GRANVILLE COUNTY||59.4|
|49||PERSON COUNTY||83.8||49||MITCHELL COUNTY||58.9|
|50||GASTON COUNTY||82.3||50||LEE COUNTY||58.4|
|51||WAYNE COUNTY||79.7||51||YANCEY COUNTY||57.5|
|52||CLAY COUNTY||79.3||52||SURRY COUNTY||57.5|
|53||LEE COUNTY||78.6||53||WILSON COUNTY||56.5|
|54||CLEVELAND COUNTY||78.0||54||MONTGOMERY COUNTY||56.4|
|55||WILSON COUNTY||73.8||55||MCDOWELL COUNTY||56.3|
|56||ALAMANCE COUNTY||72.2||56||HENDERSON COUNTY||55.8|
|57||UNION COUNTY||67.6||57||LINCOLN COUNTY||54.6|
|58||AVERY COUNTY||66.6||58||RANDOLPH COUNTY||51.9|
|59||SURRY COUNTY||65.6||59||YADKIN COUNTY||48.9|
|60||HENDERSON COUNTY||64.7||60||DUPLIN COUNTY||47.9|
|61||WASHINGTON COUNTY||62.4||61||LENOIR COUNTY||47.6|
|62||DAVIDSON COUNTY||61.7||62||DAVIDSON COUNTY||47.6|
|63||MONTGOMERY COUNTY||60.9||63||BEAUFORT COUNTY||47.4|
|64||DUPLIN COUNTY||60.9||64||GATES COUNTY||46.5|
|65||GATES COUNTY||59.9||65||ROWAN COUNTY||46.1|
|66||RUTHERFORD COUNTY||59.6||66||WARREN COUNTY||46.1|
|67||BLADEN COUNTY||59.6||67||MARTIN COUNTY||45.7|
|68||RANDOLPH COUNTY||58.6||68||CLEVELAND COUNTY||43.5|
|69||MARTIN COUNTY||58.1||69||BURKE COUNTY||41.1|
|70||ROWAN COUNTY||57.4||70||RUTHERFORD COUNTY||40.3|
|71||JOHNSTON COUNTY||57.0||71||JOHNSTON COUNTY||38.9|
|72||LENOIR COUNTY||55.7||72||WASHINGTON COUNTY||38.4|
|73||FRANKLIN COUNTY||54.8||73||VANCE COUNTY||35.9|
|74||BEAUFORT COUNTY||54.2||74||WILKES COUNTY||35.9|
|75||YADKIN COUNTY||53.3||75||HERTFORD COUNTY||35.8|
|76||WARREN COUNTY||52.3||76||FRANKLIN COUNTY||35.4|
|77||ANSON COUNTY||49.2||77||CLAY COUNTY||34.6|
|78||HARNETT COUNTY||46.1||78||STANLY COUNTY||33.0|
|79||STANLY COUNTY||44.1||79||SAMPSON COUNTY||33.0|
|80||HERTFORD COUNTY||43.9||80||BLADEN COUNTY||32.0|
|81||WILKES COUNTY||43.0||81||HARNETT COUNTY||30.4|
|82||VANCE COUNTY||41.3||82||AVERY COUNTY||29.5|
|83||HOKE COUNTY||40.5||83||TYRRELL COUNTY||28.9|
|84||EDGECOMBE COUNTY||40.1||84||STOKES COUNTY||27.7|
|85||RICHMOND COUNTY||39.2||85||GREENE COUNTY||26.6|
|86||CALDWELL COUNTY||38.5||86||CALDWELL COUNTY||25.8|
|87||SAMPSON COUNTY||37.8||87||ROCKINGHAM COUNTY||25.7|
|88||ROCKINGHAM COUNTY||35.3||88||HOKE COUNTY||25.5|
|89||STOKES COUNTY||32.7||89||CHEROKEE COUNTY||22.8|
|90||TYRRELL COUNTY||31.5||90||RICHMOND COUNTY||22.5|
|91||GREENE COUNTY||28.8||91||EDGECOMBE COUNTY||22.0|
|92||CHEROKEE COUNTY||27.9||92||NORTHAMPTON COUNTY||13.3|
|93||COLUMBUS COUNTY||18.5||93||CASWELL COUNTY||13.0|
|94||NORTHAMPTON COUNTY||15.2||94||BERTIE COUNTY||11.1|
|95||CASWELL COUNTY||13.5||95||JONES COUNTY||8.4|
|96||BERTIE COUNTY||12.6||96||GRAHAM COUNTY||5.9|
|97||GRAHAM COUNTY||11.2||97||ANSON COUNTY||5.7|
|98||ROBESON COUNTY||9.8||98||ROBESON COUNTY||3.7|
|99||JONES COUNTY||9.0||99||HALIFAX COUNTY||2.9|
|100||HALIFAX COUNTY||5.5||100||COLUMBUS COUNTY||2.8|
-Press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shared April 25