Watching Our Wasteline: Roll carts now fully in use

Jul. 26, 2014 @ 01:34 PM

Orange County has now distributed more than 18,000 of the new blue recycling roll carts to all single-family households within the town limits of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough and completed three full weeks of recycling using the carts.

Recycling programs manager Eric Gerringer reminds cart users to have carts to the curb by 7 a.m. on their collection day, to set them square to the curb with the opening facing out toward the street (see arrows on cart lid for guidance), keep them at least 3 feet from other objects, including trash carts and continue to recycle the old blue bins, if not wanted, by placing them in the cart. The old bins will be recycled into new bins or carts or some higher quality ones may be reused in public recycling programs.
Gerringer notes that collection times may change a bit, but for almost all users, except about 400 customers, the collection day remains the same. So if your new cart is not collected at the same time during the day as the old bins were, do not worry, it will be collected on your scheduled day.
The county anticipates that this conversion to carts will make it easier for most people to bring material to the curb, create safer and more efficient collection conditions and enable more recycling as has been true in almost every other program that has converted from bins to carts. The total purchase price for all carts totaled approximately $812,400 which will be financed for ten years. The county received a total of $208,425 of grant money through the state of North Carolina community recycling grants program which helped to defray some of the costs.
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This year’s 35th annual Festival for the Eno held July 4-5 at West Point on the Eno park again recycled or composted almost all incoming waste. This “mother of all trash-free festivals” as it’s been dubbed, has volunteers who help festivalgoers rigorously sort trash into the categories of recyclable, compostable or “true trash” at its staffed sorting stations.
All festival food vendors are required to adhere to the policy of serving food and drink using only compostable or recyclable serving containers and utensils. Orange County Solid Waste provides recycling collection, Brooks Contractor the composting and festival volunteers do all the sorting down to recovering the plastic bags used for ice. This year’s statistics: Compost, 3,300 pounds; recycling, 2,900 pounds; plastic bags, 32 pounds; subtotal, 6,232 pounds; trash, 197 pounds; total, 6.429 pounds; landfill diversion rate, 97 percent.

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June marked a full year of the mattress recycling program in which Orange County collected ore than 2,100 mattresses and box springs and sent 70 percent or 1,500 for recycling to Purpose Recycling in Greensboro. This program is the only landfill-based mattress recycling program in North Carolina. (The city of Greensboro has the first curbside mattress recycling collection program). The program was awarded a small grant from the North Carolina Community Solid Waste Reduction Grant program that funded 80 percent of the cost of a protective wall around a shelter at the landfill helping keep the mattresses dry between collections.
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OC Solid Waste management is looking for volunteers for move-in recycling outreach Aug. 13-15. This is our fourth year going door-to-door talking with new and returning UNC Chapel Hill students about proper recycling, in particular cardboard box management.  This year we will also be making sure they have a new blue cart at their household and they know how to use it to its fullest. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older, and be able to commit to a three-hour time slot. Contact Muriel Williman muriel@orangecountync.gov to sign up.

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UNC-Chapel Hill is on track to surpass last year’s recycling rate! The final recycling rate for 2012-2013 was 43 percent. As of May 2014, UNC’s overall year to date campus recycling rate reached 46 percent, up from 42 percent at this time last year. So far in this year, there has been a 19 percent increase in recycling tonnage compared to last year. At the same time, UNC decreased trash generation by 2 percent. Later this year the UNC Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling’s complete recycling trend report for 2013-2014 will be published online at www.wastereduction.unc.edu.

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We welcome to the county’s commercial food waste collection program Glass Half Full, Neals’ Deli and Tylers Tap Room in Carrboro, marking the first three restaurants in Carrboro to join the program. There are now 35 stops from which Brooks Contractor collects about 1,500 tons a year of compostable waste that they truck to its facility in Goldston to convert to high-quality soil amendments sold to farmers, gardeners, homeowners, landscapers and golf courses throughout the state.

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Our favorite creative reuse center of the Triangle, The Scrap Exchange, will be closed Aug. 11-15 to relocate. It will open again Aug. 16 at its permanent home at 2050 Chapel Hill Road in Durham.