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.
“Most amazing is Gatlinburg’s pioneering waste processing plant, which attracts observers from around the world and turns the idea of recycling on its head.”
Asheville and Buncombe County have worked for several years on plans to reduce the area’s solid waste stream, but implementing “pay as you throw” and municipal composting programs remain in the realm of good ideas rather than reality or even future plans. But the city says it hasn’t given up on initiatives to divert more waste away from the landfill.
The agenda for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Tuesday, Jan. 19 retreat reads like a year in review: affordable housing, zoning actions, greenway projects, waste reduction and encouraging employers to pay a living wage.