Landfills tend to fall in the “out of sight, out of mind” category — unless you’re living next to one. But Buncombe County’s recent move to prepare additional landfill space for both construction and municipal debris is a reminder that such facilities have a finite life.
Among the largest allocations are $12.2 million to accelerate the purchase and opening of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe County, $7.2 million for the removal of hazardous dams in WNC and $5 million to upgrade the city of Hendersonville’s wastewater treatment plant.
Like every small town and big city in America, Asheville faced unprecedented challenges when COVID-19 turned the entire restaurant industry upside down, sending many to a takeout-only model that required a dependence on food containers, bags and disposables. Unsurprisingly, that had a significant impact on waste and recyclable collections.
As 2021 dawns, the glow of the holiday season fades and social distancing continues in cluttered homes, many will make resolutions to clean up their space. Here’s a look at the area’s more environmentally friendly ways to handle unwanted items.
Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.
Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.
Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the statewide Recycle Right NC initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Additionally, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office, Western North Carolina is likely in for warmer-than-usual conditions over the foreseeable future.
Organizers reflect on the highs and lows as they consider planning for future events.
Dane Pedersen, Buncombe County’s solid waste director, said many residents were confused over what would be included in the $19.21 monthly service fee. He explained that the cost covers the required rental of two containers from Waste Pro, one for trash and one for recycling, as well as weekly trash pickup and recycling collection every two weeks.
Under the new contract, according to a presentation by county Solid Waste Director Dane Pedersen available before the meeting, all customers would receive trash and recycling containers from Waste Pro as part of a $19.21 monthly service fee. Currently, customers pay a $16.08 base fee and can rent containers for an optional $3.80 per month.
On Friday, April 26, Goodwill hosts its fifth annual Color Me Goodwill upcycled fashion show at The Orange Peel. The following evening, Saturday, April 27, Asheville GreenWorks kicks off its second Environmental Awards and Trashion Show at the DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.
Eric Bradford, director of operations at local environmental nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks, calls China’s restriction of its recyclables market a wake-up call for domestic recyclers. “We were basically paying China to be our landfill for these ‘recyclables,’ and we felt good about it,” he says.
As the holiday season winds down and decorations are packed away, disposing of Christmas trees sits at the top of the to-do list for many households. Even our region’s most famous residence, the Biltmore Estate, can’t escape the task of tree removal. In fact, with more than 100 hand-decorated Christmas trees in and around the estate, Biltmore has had to develop more than one approach to recycling and reusing its trees.
Creativity in the kitchen can keep turkey and all the trimmings from ending up in the trash.
Local city governments offer leaf collection and processing services, but residents can also put their own fallen leaves to good use.
On Aug. 3, Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment presented N.C. National Guard Field Management Station No. 1 with the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award, given annually to just nine individuals, teams or installations from Army operations across the country.
GemFinding owner Chip Freeman hopes that the community will rally behind his last two river cleanups, taking place at Azalea Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 15. “The cleanup depends on how many people we have there to tackle it,” he says. “You don’t have to come for four hours —if you pick up four or five pieces of trash, you’ve done something.”
Sylvan Sport founder Tom Dempsey says the inspiration for his company’s adventure camping trailers comes from spending time outdoors — and there’s no better place to find inspiration than this area. “We couldn’t do what we do anywhere else,” he says.
Although some question its overall sustainability, Blue Ridge Biofuels’ Field to Fryer to Fuel program is transitioning to a new facility and on the verge of expansion.
Food waste is a costly problem that is particularly painful in Western North Carolina with its high rate of food insecurity. Thrifty local chefs say there are many ways to start ending food waste in the home kitchen.