It’s Recycle Week, America!
Did you know that more than a dozen items are currently banned from North Carolina landfills? Here are a few that you might not know about:
1. Used oil
2. Yard trash
3. White goods (appliances, like an old dishwasher)
5. Aluminum cans
6. Whole scrap tires
7. Lead-acid batteries
8. ABC beverage containers
9. Motor vehicle oil filters
10. Recyclable plastic bottles (except motor oil or pesticide bottles)
11. Wooden pallets
12. Oyster shells
13. Computer equipment
So, what can you do to help keep these items out of the landfill?
Donate gently used appliances and electronics still in working condition before you upgrade to newer models. Reuse what you can and recycle items rather than tossing them.
NC DENR has some great resources for recycling cardboard boxes, electronics, fluorescent lights, thermostats that contain mercury, oil filters and wooden pallets. According to DENR, the first items were banned from North Carolina landfills beginning in 1989. Aluminum cans have been banned from landfills since 1994. They also offer resources for event and venue recycling. P2pays.org has a search directory if you are looking for a North Carolina market for recycling an item. You might also want to consider listing materials available/wanted on NC WasteTrader, North Carolina's marketplace for discarded or surplus materials or products.
Unfortunately, still only half of all aluminum cans generated in North Carolina are recycled. · Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials. The pollutants created in producing one ton of aluminum include 3,290 pounds of red mud, 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), 81 pounds of air pollutants and 789 pounds of solid wastes.
At least 95 percent of North Carolina residents have access to some type of plastic bottle recycling through local government programs. Unfortunately, North Carolinians currently recycle only 18 percent of PET plastic bottles. Every 3.9 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. (Sources: re3.org & http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/deao/recycling/plastic-bottles)
Landfill bans are necessary for several reasons. In many cases, the banned materials are hazardous to our health and environment. Improper disposal of some substances could contaminate soil, surface water or drinking water. In other cases, throwing away the product is like throwing away money.
Now that you are informed about North Carolina’s landfill bans, go tell your friends!
Learn more about the bans at http://www.p2pays.org/bannedmaterials/.