North Carolina’s disposal rate drops to historic low

From the full release from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

RALEIGH – North Carolinians threw away less per capita in 2010-2011 than at any time in nearly 20 years, according to the state’s latest report and analysis of solid waste management.

The 2010-2011 North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Report indicates a historic drop in the state per capita disposal rate, which fell below one ton per person for the first time since fiscal year 1991-92. Continuing recycling efforts and decreased statewide construction contributed to this development. For 2010-11, the state per capita disposal rate was .99 tons; the previous rate, also historically low, was 1.07 tons per capita.

“Our data shows yet again that the state’s disposal rate is influenced heavily by the economy,” said Dexter Matthews, director of the state Division of Waste Management. “We are pleased to note that continually expanding state recycling efforts are also contributing to the reduction reflected in this report.”

The report is produced annually by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in a joint effort with the departments of Administration and Transportation. Information for the report was compiled from 644 local government annual reports and from 370 solid waste management facilities.

The report also found that:

The amount of electronic equipment collected by counties and cities increased by 63 percent between FY 2009-10 and 2010-11; a state electronic management program was established by the General Assembly in 2010. Electronic materials collected by local programs has nearly doubled since 2008-09, rising from .84 to 1.55 pounds per capita.

The number of local curbside recycling programs reached a record high of 283 in 2010-11, serving more than 1.68 million households across the state.

Reported prices for recyclable materials were extremely strong in 2010-11 before declining slightly at the end of the fiscal year, indicating healthy market demand for recovered commodities.

“North Carolina continues to make tremendous strides in the recovery of recyclable materials, which helps create jobs and feed a growing recycling economy,” said Scott Mouw, chief of the Community and Business Assistance section in the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. “We still have room for improvement, but we are on the right path. The public should feel proud of its contribution to our state’s prosperity through the simple, everyday practice of recycling.”

The report recommends that state environmental officials increase focus on recycling and the diversion of large solid waste management streams – such as food and wood wastes – to ensure that landfill capacity is available as the state’s population increases and the economic recovery strengthens.

The report also calls on state officials to work toward expanding the collection of plastic bottles and other recyclables to ensure to meet the capacity of the state’s growing recycling markets.

The report is available online at http://bit.ly/AwSGnu. For questions about solid waste disposal, please contact Cathy Akroyd at 919-707-8234 or cathy.akroyd@ncdenr.gov. For questions regarding recycling, please contact Scott Mouw at 919-707-8114 or scott.mouw@ncdenr.gov.


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