Recycling performance mixed
Triad counties showed mixed performance in a new state recycling report and the slow economy could be the reason.
While Davidson and Randolph counties improved slightly, Guilford’s ranking dropped slightly for 2011-12, according to data from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Guilford ranked 17th in the latest report, down from 8th last year. The recycling comparison was 180 pounds per person in the current report compared to 212 the previous year when the county ranked 8th.
An economic slowdown more than anything else has slowed recycling, said Richard McMillian, assistant director of High Point public services.
“The numbers have been down for the last two years,” McMillian said. “We don’t think it’s that people are not recycling as much as before. They don’t have has as much to recycle and they are keeping things longer.”
Curbside recycling services are expanding and improving, giving more North Carolinians convenient opportunities to recycle, according to the report. Triad cities offer curbside pickup of recyclables. Davidson County Solid Waste Management Department provides recycling collection boxes at each of the 11 box site locations throughout the county areas. Davidson County’s total per capita recovery rate was 61.7 pounds per person. The county ranked 62nd in the state, up four slots from the prior year’s ranking. Randolph County ranked 68th in the new report, up from 76th the previous year as recycling improved from 52 pounds per person to 68.
DENR tracks data statewide about recycling and disposal rates. High Pointers recycled 4,717 tons of waste in 2011-12 compared to 5,269 tons the year before, for a 10 percent drop.
“Garbage tonnage has been down too,” McMillan said.
The state report also noted that the volume of discarded appliances reaching recycling centers also has declined.
“When things get bad people start looking for income and they take the appliances and sell the metal for scrap,” McMillan said.
Here are other findings of the annual study:
—Recovery of common household recyclables rose in fiscal 2011-12 by about 2 percent from the previous year, approaching 500,000 tons collected statewide.
—Collection of electronics, such as television sets and computers, also saw a big increase, almost doubling in tonnage as more communities offered collection programs.
—Collection of special wastes, such as used oil, oil filters, batteries and household hazardous materials, stayed relatively flat.
N.C. Top Ten
1- Pitt County, 763 pounds per person.
2- Catawba County, 701 pounds
3-Pasaquotank, 390 pounds
4-Dare, 341 pounds
5-Cumberland, 313 pounds
6-Orange, 306 pounds
7-Macon, 284 pounds
8-Watauga, 260 pounds
9-Brunswick, 206 pounds
10 -Mecklenburg, 202 pounds
15th- Forsyth, 188 pounds
17th-Guilford, 180 pounds
26-Wake, 133 pounds
30-Durham, 126 pounds
56th-Alamance, 72 pounds
62nd-Davidson, 61 pounds
68th-Randolph, 58 pounds
88th-Rockingham, 35 pounds
100th-Halifax, 5 pounds