How do you recycle in the City of Washington? 

Published 7:30 am Saturday, August 20, 2022

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Are you a City of Washington resident who recycles garbage items? If not, what are barriers that keep you from doing it? 


One of the barriers to recycling can be a lack of knowledge about what can be recycled and what can not. What can be recycled are plastics, metal and paper. Examples of plastics are water, soda, juice, milk and detergent bottles. These bottles must be emptied out and have no pumps. All metal cans can be recycled, but they need to be emptied out as well. Newspaper (without inserts or flyers) can be recycled in addition to office paper, notebooks, envelopes and flattened cardboard. Glass can be recycled in the City of Washington’s community glass recycling convenience center located at 250 Plymouth Street. The center only accepts brown, clear and green glass bottles and jars. They will neither accept bags nor aluminum. 


Any item(s) not listed above must go in green trash carts. 


Recycling sounds like a great way to have a lasting, positive impact on the environment from the comfort of your home,  but is it effective? 


A 2019 study from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center shows that in fiscal year 2016-2017 North Carolina landfilled more than 9.7 million tons of waste, and recovered 1.7 million tons for a low recovery rate of almost 15%. This is due to international waste trade restrictions, municipalities across the state reducing the number of recyclable materials they will accept – including some glass and plastics. 


“In FY 2016-2017, North Carolina generated 5.5 pounds of trash per resident each day, a full 2 pounds less than in FY 2005-2006. However, most of that waste reduction occurred between 2008 and 2010 – waste generation then increased during FY 2015-2016. This could potentially be connected to the number of local government waste reduction and reuse programs falling from 108 in 2015 to 93 in 2017,” the report states. 


Following the trend in 2020, Beaufort County commissioners voted 6-1 to end its recycling services, per an earlier article from The Daily News. This means they would no longer accept paper, plastic and metal items. The vote was made to end the service because service provider – Republic Services – notified the county that the cost of recycling would increase from $66 per metric ton to $110 per metric ton. The annual cost would have risen from $15,180 to $25,300 for recycling an average of 230 tons of material, the Daily News reported.