Moving in? Get a bin

Aug. 15, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

This time of year thousands of new residents arrive in Orange County, some for the first time, some moving out of university housing into the community for the first time and some moving into university housing. Some are simply moving within the community. The one thing you all have in common – it’s easy to recycle here and your local government and university can help you!

If you’re moving into a single-family house in any of the three towns, look for blue recycling bins. If there are none or you need a second one or if the bins are badly damaged, come by the Solid Waste office at 1207 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill during business hours (M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) to get replacements at no cost. If you can’t come at that time, let us know and we’ll arrange to leave you a bin.

If you live in Carrboro or Hillsborough, you may request bin delivery from your Public Works Department. If you live in the unincorporated area of the county, there is a 67 percent chance you will have bins as the rural curbside program serves two-thirds of houses.

Call the office: (919) 968-2788 or find out online: if your road has recycling collection and then you can get bins from our office. There is no delivery service. If you need more than two bins, you can buy them here for $7 each – cash or check only -- or use a similar size and shape container like a laundry basket or a tote for curbside recycling. If you have a lot of moving boxes, put out only 10 at a time at the curb each broken down to 3-feet-by-3-feet. Or take them to a drop-off site. Do not put them in the garbage. (Pizza boxes can be trashed.) The garbage will not be picked up.

If you are moving into an apartment, there is a 95 percent or better chance that there is at least one set of blue recycling roll carts there for your cans, bottles, paper and those plastic cups and tubs labeled #2, #4 and #5 (other types are just thrown out). For apartment recycling guidelines on recycling see: or call us for a handy information card. Ask the manager where the recycling site is. Put all your cans, bottles, papers cups and tubs in but not your corrugated (three layer) cardboard. There is not enough room in the carts for all those boxes. Use the separate Dumpster provided for cardboard at most complexes or use the public drop-off recycling sites. Do not put cardboard in the trash Dumpster. That will not be picked up and the property owner may be penalized. Cardboard (except dirty pizza boxes) must be recycled in Orange County. The county cannot provide all apartments with bins or bags, the turnover is just too great. Find a small (say a 10-gallon) leakproof container and designate it as the recycling bin. Display it prominently at social gatherings and encourage its use.

There is a lot more to know about recycling here in the OC, but this will help you get started. You can always ask your neighbors. Most of them already recycle.

Orange County staff and volunteers spent two days on the streets of downtown Chapel Hill in the areas where there is a lot of student rental housing going door to door to educate newcomers about how to recycle and manage trash properly, especially cardboard moving boxes. Special thanks to our part-time staff Daniel Langham and Anna Peepers and stalwart volunteer Adam Hemminger.

Moving into a residence hall at UNC or coming back to campus? Check out their Move-In guide on how to live green in a dorm room, reduce, reuse, recycle during move-in and learn more about waste in general about the comprehensive reduction and recycling program at UNC at This issue also contains useful information on littering, composting on campus and recycling while tailgating at football games.

Update on closing of Orange County Solid Waste Landfill. June 30, the landfill that accepted household and business waste closed permanently. Now the county, three towns and private haulers are trucking trash to transfer stations, primarily in Durham. This has added time and replacement or new equipment to routes for Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Orange County has had to add hours for trucking trash to the Durham Transfer Station from convenience centers, county government buildings and county schools.

We now recycle mattresses and received 250 for recycling in July. At the landfill we continue to accept construction waste, yard debris, appliances, scrap metal and cardboard too. Most residents and businesses should see no difference in their waste collection. So recycling and waste reduction are now more important than ever in reducing our trash that’s going a hundred miles away for burial.

Annual statistical round-up. The figures below compare performance by tonnage of the two curbside programs, the apartments, commercial and drop-of sites from the past two fiscal years. There are some ups and downs in the tonnages collected. The fact that there were not universal gains means that we cannot attribute all the increases to the conversion to single stream (comingled) recycling, but that shift has certainly made recycling more convenient for many program users. REMEMBER: Thirty-five percent of what we throw in our trash is still recyclable papers, cans, bottles rigid plastics, metals and clothing.

Program                  Urban curbside           Rural curbside       Apartments      Commercial     Drop-off Sites                                       (blue bins)                   (orange bins)

FY 11-12 (tons)      3,397                             1,866                        1,125                1,089                  5,107

FY 12-13 (tons)      3,578                             1,715                        1,255                1,040                  4,794

Difference                5%                                 (-8%)                        12%                  (-4%)                  (-6%)

CALL FOR RECYCLING VOLUNTEERS: Upcoming events for which we will need help include Carrboro Music Festival September 29 and Festifall October 6. Call Muriel: (919) 968-2788 or .

Shred-a-thons for confidential paper: Oct. 10 and Oct. 12.