The state of North Carolina has maintained a strong decline in its waste disposal rate for the second year in a row. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, based in Raleigh, N.C., published its annual study of the state’s waste management habits recently, giving a peek into how North Carolinians dispose of their waste. The Department points to local and municipal recycling programs has having a profound impact on the amount of waste that is now being diverted from state landfills.
The report details how state-based manufacturers increasingly rely on recycled materials in their production process. This demand has spurred the creation of new recycling collection centers at the county level, allowing more residential and commercial customers to recycle their waste. Statewide, the rate of household waste recycling has approached 500,000 tons per year, largely thanks to expanded trash pickup services that incorporate the collection of recyclables.
The uptick in North Carolina’s recycling rate was not just limited to plastics and aluminum cans. Many municipal collection services and waste disposal companies have started accepting old electronics, such as televisions and computers, for recycling. This e-waste is one of the largest problems faced by cities as more people buy multiple consumer electronics within only a few years. The problem is only compounded by the ubiquity of newer cell phones, prompting the disposal of older models. Despite this, the state has seen a doubling in the amount of e-waste that is recycled every year.
Interestingly, the recycling rate for large appliances took a ding as people realized they could make money off of selling their fridges and washers, rather than recycling them. Due to the rising prices for some heavier metals, scrap yard owners are now willing to pay top dollar for people’s old appliances that are just rife with reusable metals.
But despite the fall in appliance recycling, the state of North Carolina continues to keep a large portion of its recyclables out of its dumpsters.