Under a new law that takes effect Oct. 1, North Carolina will be banning all rigid plastic containers from landfills. This includes any bottles with a neck smaller than the container itself.
The legislation was created back in 2005, and will focus largely on the recovery of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This plastic, commonly identified by the number “1″ inside a recycling symbol on the bottle, is the resin of choice for most soda and water bottles.
North Carolina is also building the nation’s largest facility to recycle PET bottles, which will able to process 280 million pounds of material per year. One of the primary partners in this venture is carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group, LLC, which can turn recycled PET into polyester for use in carpeting.
North Carolina is already home to the second largest high-density polyethylene (HDPE) recycling facility in the U.S., Envision Plastics. HDPE is the other commonly used plastic bottle resin, which can be found in detergent bottles and milk jugs.
The state will be inspecting landfills starting in October, but it’s unlikely that individuals will be fined for trashing plastic bottles unless they are caught unloading a large amount.
“It’s not going to be a Big Brother law, but the best way to be in compliance with the law is to recycle plastic bottles,” says Scott Mouw, environmental supervisor for the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. “Everyone wants to do the right thing, and the right thing is to recycle.”
California’s successful Beverage Container Recycling Program is under threat by significant cuts to core recycling programs, such as payments for supermarket-based recycling, payments for curbside recycling and payments to conservation corps recycling. Due to the imbalance, the Department of Conservation was forced to: cut $131 million in funding for local governments, local conservation corps, curbside recycling, recycling market development and other performance-based incentives for recycling; and Increase beverage industry ‘processing fee’ costs by roughly $75 million. Additionally, some 600 California grocery stores are currently unserved by recycling centers, and without relief, they will be obligated to take containers inside their stores.
SB 402 will bring the Beverage Container Recycling Fund back into balance while strengthening recycling. Specifically, SB 402 will:
Expand the scope of beverage containers covered by the program to include all container types for existing beverages, regardless of size or material type.
Accelerate the timeframe for beverage distributors to make CRV payments from 90 to 60 days in order to better align with CRV ‘pay-out’ timeframe (20 days).
Move the existing 10 cent CRV threshold from containers 24 ounces and larger to containers 20 ounces and larger.
Reduce, suspend and eliminate non-core program expenditures by $36 million.
Maintain essential funding for ‘core program’ expenditures.
We all understand the fundamentals of a paper recycling, but there is also some uncertainty about the details. Here are a few things you (may not, but) SHOULD know!
DO NOT let the paper get wet. Since recyclers purchase paper by weight, the entire lot may get rejected if they see wet paper. Check your weather before it gets collected unless you are certain the rain won’t get in!
No food! Dirty paper plates, napkins, paper towels, etc. are, unfortunately, trash… or should go to compost. But please, not in the recycle bin – they will quickly cross contaminate the other contents.
Do not worry about little things like small paper clips, plastic envelope windows, staples, labels, metal envelope latches or even notebook spirals. Unlike food matter, they separate easily in processing and can be removed from the batch.
Watch the adhesives! Heavily glued (sticky) items can ruin batches of recycled paper. Don’t toss in those “complimentary” address labels and other stickers. Post-It Notes are fine but if an envelope has a heavy self-stick flap, tear it off first.
Allow tape in moderation. Some tape here and there won’t hurt, but if a box is wrapped in yards of shipping tape, remove it as best you can. Paper
tape is A-OK!
Don’t shred paper unless you must – most recyclers don’t like accepting
shredded paper because it’s a challenge to sort. If you are a “shredder”, contain it in a paper bag first (or it can be composed!).
Skip the heavy-dye, saturated papers with deep, dark colors or fluorescents. It’s difficult to bleach them back to a usable form.
No plastic or wax coated papers (like paper cups), but glossy papers (like magazines) are acceptable.
Remember, the EPA estimates that 40% of solid waste in the U.S. is paper products… shameful! But paper can actually be recycled up to seven times, and it is easier and cheaper to make pulp from recycled fibers than from wood… awesome! And one more tidbit to share:
Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees… and those 17 saved trees can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year!
Recycling aluminum cans saves precious natural resources, energy, time and money – all for a good cause – helping out the earth, as well as the economy and local communities.
Aluminum cans are unique in that in 60 days a can is recycled, turned into a new can & back on store shelves.
Aluminum is a sustainable metal and can be recycled over and over again.
In 2008, 53.2 billion cans were recycled, saving the energy equivalent of ~15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
The aluminum can is the most valuable container to recycle and is the most recycled consumer product in the U.S. today.
Each year, the aluminum industry pays out over $800 million dollars for empty aluminum cans – that’s a lot of money that can go to organizations, like Habitat for Humanity, the Boy or Girl Scouts of America, or even a local school. Money earned from recycling cans helps people help themselves and their communities. Recycling helps build new homes, pays for a group trip, supports a project or buys a lunch!
Today it is cheaper, faster and more energy-efficient to recycle aluminum than ever before. The aluminum can is 100 percent recyclable and can be recycled indefinitely. The can remains the most recyclable of all materials.
Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
Aluminum has a high market value and continues to provide an economic incentive to recycle. When aluminum cans are recycled curbside, they help pay for community services.