Proper Recycling Practices in Carteret County

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It is more important now than ever to learn how to recycle properly. Since January 1, 2018 China stopped accepting many types of plastic and mixed paper from the U.S. Where at one time the recycled goods brought in between $85-$100 a ton, the same items are now only bringing in about $37 a ton. Because of this, it is important that the recycling have as little contamination as possible. As citizens, there are many things we can do help reduce the contamination in the recycling process, it starts with us. As you are recycling your items whether it be at your curbside or at your local convenient site. Go over these steps to make sure you are doing everything you can to reduce your contamination into the larger recycling pile.

Step 1- Are your items on the approved list for your collection area?

Step 2- Are your items clean and empty?

Step 3- Are your items emptied out of bags?

Step 4- Double check, do you have any items not on the approved list?

If so, remove those itemsRecycle accepted-new.

By doing these 4 simple steps to ensure that your items are free of residue will help reduce the amount of contamination. These steps will also reduce the risk of entanglement of bags, clothing and other items that can become entangled in the rolling mechanics of the sorting machines. This is extremely important to cut down on costs of service to you. The more time it takes for the machines to be cleared due to entanglement of containments such a grocery bags and the more non-recyclable items, the higher the price to the consumer.

Approved and Not Approved Items for recycling.

Accepted and Not Accepted Items for Recycling.

Recycled goods throughout most of Carteret County whether it be picked up along the curb or deposited at one of the county’s many convenient sites at taken to SONOCO in Jacksonville. Recycled items are sorted in materials recovery facilities (MRFs) based on size, weight and material. MRFs use conveyer belts to transport items through the sorting process using methods such as gravity and shape, then magnets, puffs of air or eddys help with sorting, some items have to be manual sorted at the end of the process for quality control. If items are bagged in recycled bins, items cannot be processed properly and bags become tangled up in the moving mechanical parts of the MRF. All unapproved items make the MRF sorting process more difficult and less productive, and cause contamination. Less productivity and contamination will ultimately be what can cause the price of our recycling to increase. The more efficient we can be with our recycling the better off everyone will be in the long run.

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Photo of Dee Smith, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDee SmithProgram Associate- Environmental Education and 4-H (252) 222-6365 dee_edwards-smith@ncsu.eduCarteret County, North Carolina
Updated on Jun 14, 2018
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