Landfill rules change Oct. 1|City and county operate separate recycling programs

Published 4:59 pm Friday, September 11, 2009

Community Editor

In an effort to promote statewide recycling that more friendly to the environment, motor-oil filters, wooden pallets and plastic bottles will be banned from solid-waste landfills in North Carolina come Oct. 1.
These items join the extensive list of items already banned from landfills in the state, including used oil, yard trash (except in landfills approved for the disposal of yard trash), white goods, antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and aluminum cans.
Both the city of Washington and Beaufort County are doing their parts to make sure that their residents recycle properly.
Washington has a weekly recycling collection program. Each household in a specific pickup area may request up to four bins to fill with recyclables and place curbside for collection. The recycled materials are taken by city workers to the East Carolina Vocational Center’s recycling operation in Greenville, where the recyclables are separated.
“It’s (the ban) not going to change the way we do business,” said Alan Lewis, director of the city’s Department of Public Works.
Lewis said the city’s waste-disposal workers will not be able to strictly enforce the ban on plastic bottles, filters and pallets placed in household roll-out carts because of time and manpower constraints.
“We’re not going to sift through the trash,” he said.
But, he said, if banned items are found by workers dumping household trash cans into dump trucks, they will be separated from the other waste.
State enforcement will be stricter at disposal facilities, such as landfills and transfer stations, according to a news release from the N.C. Division of Waste Management. Depending on the type of violator and the severity of the violation, the Division of Waste Management may, at its discretion, assess a range of administrative and/or civil penalties for violation of the disposal bans, the release states.
Beaufort County has 12 such transfer stations, said County Manager Paul Spruill.
All but two of the stations are owned/leased by the county and operated by GDS Inc.
Similar to the city’s recycling program, all recyclables disposed at the county’s stations are taken to ECVC in Greenville for separation.
“Small communities depend on the close proximity (of the stations) for the ability to recycle,” said Spruill.
Washington and Beaufort County representatives applauded the state’s pro-activeness in regard to recycling efforts. Spruill said the soon-to-be enacted ban on plastic bottles was probably put in place to encourage more North Carolinians to recycle.
“I think, ultimately, the state’s law regarding bottles, much like aluminum cans, is to remind citizens about the importance of recycling,” he said. “But individuals have to take responsibility.”
That said, Spruill doesn’t believe Beaufort County residents need to be reminded to recycle.
“Beaufort County citizens respect and benefit from the ability to recycle,” he said.
Recycling in Washington
The following items may be recycled through Washington’s recycling program:
• Newsprint — newspaper, magazines, comics, fliers and inserts (no books or large catalogs);
• Plastic No. 2 HDPE — No. 2 milk, detergent, bleach and other bottles and jugs (look for No. 2 on bottom of container, no motor oil or antifreeze containers);
• Aluminum — beverage cans only (no aluminum foils or pie pans);
• Cardboard — corrugated cardboard boxes and brown paper bags (please flatten and remove plastic or metal, no cereal boxes);
• Glass — clear, brown and green bottles and jars (please rinse and remove lids, no lightbulbs, ceramics or blue glass);
• Paper and mail — all white and colored paper, paper received in the mail and school and office paper;
• Plastic No. 1 PETE — No. 1 clear and green soda bottles and other jars (look for No. 1 on bottom of container, please rinse and remove caps);
• Steel cans — food cans (please rinse and leave labels on cans, no aerosol or paint cans).
The items should be separated from your regular garbage prior to collection. They may be commingled.
The City of Washington charges residents a monthly fee for solid-waste services to help cover the cost of disposing solid waste. The fee appears on a customer’s utility bill.