Watching Our Wasteline: Shred A Thons, recycling roll carts and ReUse Rodeo coming up

Apr. 19, 2014 @ 12:49 PM

“Earth Month,” as April has come to be known, is filled with exciting recycling opportunities in Orange County. The twice-a-year Shred A Thons will be Thursday at University Mall near old Dillard’s at Estes Drive and Willow Drive and Saturday at the recycling site behind Home Depot at Hampton Pointe in Hillsborough. Both events will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are open to Orange County residents, small businesses and employees of the towns and the county.
There is a five box or bag limit. Please adhere to the limit to ensure capacity for all who want to come. Orange County Solid Waste Management sponsors these events along with the Chapel Hill Police Department for the one at University Mall and the Hillsborough Police Department for the Hillsborough event.  The paper is shredded on-site and recycled.

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After 25 years of using blue bins for weekly curbside recycling, beginning June 9, bins will be replaced with roll carts that have a 95-gallon capacity for those living in single family homes within town limits of the three towns.  Carts will be distributed to each house through the month of June and collections using the carts will start the week of June 30 on your regular weekly collection day, not before.  
Due to re-routing, we expect about 400 units to get a new collection day, and residents will be notified with a special postcard and hanger on their door or cart. Each house will also receive a general mailing about use of the cart.  If you want to keep your blue bins once you receive the cart, you may do so, although do not set them at the curb for collection. If you wish to recycle the bins, put them in the cart the first time out and they will be recycled into new bins or carts.
Advantages of roll carts include ease of use, increased capacity, more efficient collection and ability to put out more corrugated cardboard. Some new materials may be added to curbside collection, so watch for your informational postcard and a newsletter announcing those changes which have not yet been finalized. The carts will each be equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that will enable the collector to know how many carts are set out for collection each day. Those living outside town limits but served by the orange bin “every-other-week’ curbside recycling program will not receive roll carts at this time. Carts are being considered for that program for late fall distribution pending decisions on the new budget and the recycling service tax district.

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The week of April 30 through May 3 will mark the second annual ‘Reuse Rodeo” where anyone with usable goods to donate may drop them off at no charge at the Hargraves Center lower parking lot on Mitchell Lane from Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizations accepting donations include PTA Thrift Shop, Compass Center and Interfaith Council for Social Services. Accepted items include furniture, clothing, books, electronic equipment, especially cellphones, unopened food and personal care products, and other household items that are still in usable condition. See our website for a complete list: www.orangecountync.gov/recycling/news.asp#rodeo.
This event was established primarily to ease the burden of students moving out, but anyone may take advantage of the opportunity to clean house and support worthy organizations in our community. For those living on UNC campus, the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling has a comprehensive campus –wide program of donation stations for usable but unwanted items. See its website at  www.wastereduction.unc.edu/CampusRecycling/ResidenceHallRecycling/StudentMove-outGuide for all the details. UNC celebrates its 25th year of recycling and is on track this year to achieve a recycling rate approaching 50 percent, meaning that the amount landfilled and the amount recycled or composted are about even. See their informative newsletter for more on campus waste reduction: http://trashtalk.wastereduction.unc.edu/ReadMore.

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On Friday in conjunction with the monthly Hillsborough Art Walk, Orange County is hosting “Earth Evening” at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion on E. Margaret Lane. From 6 to 8 p.m., Orange County residents can visit the various department booths, play games and enjoy other activities related to sustainability and the outdoors. The Solid Waste Management Department will collect cooking oil, cellphones and fluorescent bulbs for recycling.

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Composting and diversion of food wastes from landfills are alive and well in our community in a wide variety of forms.  A few variations on the theme of backyard composting include: apartment food waste composting by a number of residents at Covenant House, a congregant elderly housing community in southern Carrboro.
Volunteer Janet Whitesides reports that several of the approximately 80 residents compost their food scraps and use the resulting compost in their community garden. Problems with contamination by some non-English speakers were resolved through a translator and now all the composting is going well there. This is the first reported apartment composting project in Orange County.
A bit closer to downtown, the Steel String Brewery is now diverting spent grain from its beer brewing to Coon Rock Farm for animal feed. The farm provides roll carts and collects the spent grain a few times a week as needed. 
Just across South Greensboro Street, Open Eye Café gives away all its considerable amount of coffee grounds to a variety of gardeners who incorporate that into their own soil mixes. For those with a more mixed food waste stream like Weaver Street Market, Orange County continues to provide collection through Brooks Contractor who composts it in Goldston, N.C., and sells the resulting compost all across North Carolina. Last year Weaver Street Market’s four locations combined to divert almost 250 tons of food and other compostable material from landfilling. Orange County continues to add restaurants to its food waste program during the current budget.