Watching Our Waste Line: Fall Shred-A-Thons coming up

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 01:15 PM

The semi-annual Shred-A-Thons for confidential paper are Oct. 10 at University Mall, near Dillard’s and Oct. 12 at the recycling site behind Home Depot at Hampton Pointe in Hillsborough. These no-cost events are co-sponsored by Chapel Hill Police Department, the Partnership for a Sustainable Community, and Orange County Solid Waste Management Department. You can watch your paper get shredded for recycling while there.

Both events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and open to residents and businesses of Orange County and that part of the town of Chapel Hill in Durham County. Also invited are those who work for the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough and the county. There is a five box limit per event and one trip per person. This limit is reduced from 10 boxes per participant at past events due to capacity issues and overuse of this community service by some previous participants.  Keep out all plastics, diskettes and other non-paper media. Staples and paper clips are OK.
To help manage traffic flow at University Mall, participants will have the option of drive-through or walk-up service. Those with small loads like one or two bags are encouraged to park and use the walk-up area and those with larger loads may wish to drive through. The two areas will be separated and signs will direct users to the walk-up and drive-through areas, respectively.  The Hillsborough event will be drive-through only as the site does not permit two separate venues and is not as heavily attended as Chapel Hill.
For the Shred-A-Thons and two other upcoming events, we can always use intrepid recycling volunteer help.
 Carrboro Music Festival: Listen to some great local music and help reduce waste in our community at the festival on Sept. 29. Shifts are from noon to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
 Volunteers are also needed for Festifall, Chapel Hill’s longstanding annual music and arts street fair, Oct. 6. Recycler shifts are 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Volunteering qualifies for service learning hours for high school and college students, and all volunteers receive an event T-shirt. To volunteer call Muriel Williman (919) 968-2788 or email muriel@orangecountync.gov.

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As of Sept. 12, the two larger Orange County Solid Waste Convenience Center sites at Eubanks Road and Walnut Grove Church Road are now open on Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in addition to the previously scheduled times on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They remain closed Wednesdays only. The three smaller sites at Bradshaw Quarry Road, Ferguson Road and High Rock Road continue to be open Tuesday, Friday Saturday and Sunday, but closed Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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The county’s new mattress and box spring recycling program at the landfill continues to be successful. In August we recycled more than 250 mattresses while landfilling none. The county charges $10 per mattress or box spring and that covers the cost of handling and recycling them with Mattress Go Round in Greensboro.

To ensure their recyclability, keep mattresses and box springs clean and dry when bringing them to the landfill. If you are having them picked up by your town’s bulky item collection trucks at the curb and rain is predicted, please cover them with a tarp -- that helps ensure that they get recycled rather than landfilled.

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It’s time to feed the garden for fall planting and winter layover. You can build soil naturally and suppress weed growth using locally made mulch and compost available at the Orange County landfill and reduce or eliminate reliance on chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Check out prices and material descriptions including an agronomic analysis of the compost we sell: www.orangecountync.gov/recycling/earthproducts.asp.  

The Department’s Muriel Williman also is available to teach composting classes here at our compost demonstration site at 1207 Eubanks Road for groups of eight or more (Scouts, faith-based or neighborhood groups, fraternities, sororities or just friends all are welcome to organize a group). 

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If you have already converted to chemical-free gardening or are just doing a fall cleaning, Orange County continues to offer free disposal for hazardous wastes, now at two locations. The “traditional” hazardous waste disposal site at the landfill (since 1996) is open to all residents and small business in Orange County 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. M-F and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

The new hazardous waste site is for residents only at the Walnut Grove Church Road Convenience Center and is open during Convenience Center hours. Last year Orange County collected more than 116 tons of hazardous wastes from residents and small businesses as well as 445 tons of electronic wastes.

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Teaming together, Chapel Hill’s storm water educator Wendy Smith and county solid waste educator Muriel Williman recently conducted a walk–about to some of the area businesses along West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. To their delight they found the single site used by multiple restaurants and bars along with other area businesses to have carts that were not only uncontaminated with waste but also cooperatively swept free of broken glass and debris by the businesses that use it. In other words, a model recycling site. Congratulations Carolina Brewery, West End Wine Bar, Tallulah’s, Elaine’s, Mint, and all the other adjoining participating businesses for your high quality recycling and care for your storm drains!

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In the past few months prices paid for recyclables commodities have dropped considerably, partly due to a decision by the Chinese National government to enforce import laws metaphorically called the “Green Fence.” The amount of contaminated or dirty and unsorted recyclable materials entering that country has become more of an environmental burden than a valued commodity, so they have raised the bar on material quality.  Shipments of these low-grade materials have simply been cut off.

You can do your part to maintain quality by following recycling guidelines and put in your bin or cart only what is accepted, and visit the recycling website if you have doubts: www.orangecountync.gov/recycling.asp.  Don’t include any materials not listed. Always include all clean, dry paper, all metal cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. Those with county-issued blue recycling carts may also include those #2, #4 and #5 plastic cups, tubs and buckets. No #1 clamshells or solo cups, please!

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Area foodies take note that the fourth annual Terra Vita food festival will be held in varied locations throughout Chapel Hill on Oct. 10–13.Terra Vita organizers practice extreme waste diversion through source reduction, composting, and recycling in cooperation with the county, reaching a measured 99 percent diversion rate last year.  It is in keeping with their standard of excellence combined with sustainability -- nothing half-way about Terra Vita, more here: www.terravitaevent.com.