Wilkes County still ranks behind most other North Carolina counties in recycling, according to a report released in May by the N.C. Division of Solid Waste.
The report showed Wilkes ranked 80th among the 100 counties in volume of solid waste recycled per capita in fiscal 2010-11. Wilkes ranked 78th in 2009-10 and 91st in 2006-07.
The per capita totals included 43.87 pounds of recycled solid waste in 2010-11, 44.2 pounds in 2009-10 and 29.96 pounds in 2006-07.
According to the division, 1,522.59 tons of solid waste were recycled in Wilkes in 2010-11 and 1,494 tons in 2009-10. Tonnage for 2006-07 wasn’t available.
Among counties adjoining Wilkes, per capita recycling totals in 2010-11 included Watauga, seventh among the 100 counties with 247.52 pounds; Iredell, 17th with 172.65 pounds; Alexander, 18th with 157.65 pounds; Alleghany, 20th with 145.32 pounds; Ashe, 24th with 129.63 pounds; Yadkin, 67th with 60.58 pounds; Surry, 75th with 52.74 pounds; and Caldwell, 78th with 48.84 pounds.
According to another N.C. Division of Solid Waste report, the volume of solid waste disposed in the Wilkes County Landfill leveled off and decreased by only 3 percent from 2009-10 to 2010-11 after dropping by 13.7 percent from fiscal 2008-09 to 2009-10.
Wilkes Solid Waste Director Kent Brandon said 56,161 tons of solid waste were dumped in the county landfill in fiscal 2007-08, 55,477 tons in fiscal 2008-09 and 46,697 tons in fiscal 2011-12.
Brandon said the economic slowdown and recycling both decreased the amount of solid waste going into the county landfill in Roaring River.
He said county officials are considering accepting certain mixed recyclables, rather than requiring that they all be separated, due to new technology that makes that possible and to make it easier for people to recycle.
In early 2010, Wilkes County commissioners ended a policy of allowing people to dispose of household garbage for free at the county landfill in Roaring River and convenience centers when they brought in equal amounts of recyclable materials.
The impact of this policy change will be better shown in recycling totals for fiscal 2011-12, which is the first full year with the new policy.
Commissioners said they made the change due to declining revenue at the landfill. Recyclables can still be left at the landfill and county convenience centers for free.
The landfill collected over $2 million in tipping fees (payments for solid waste dumped the landfill) in both 2003-04 and 2004-05 and $1.98 million in 2005-06, said Wilkes Finance Director Jerry Shepherd.
Although Wilkes County commissioners increased the tipping fee by $2 to $38 per ton in fiscal 2008-09, revenue from tipping fees still were only $1.79 million in 2008-09, $1.75 million in 2009-10 and $1.84 million in 2010-11. Through April 30 of this year, landfill staff have collected $1.52 million in tipping fees.
Brandon said that according to an engineer’s study, the current landfill cell in Roaring River can be used for nearly eight more years. Beyond that, there is additional space on the county-owned landfill property for more cells.
According to a division of solid waste news release, a historic drop in the volume of solid waste disposed per capita in North Carolina in 2010-11 resulted from recycling and economic conditions. North Carolinians threw away less per capita than at any time in nearly 20 years.
Catawba County earned the top spot in the state recycling rankings with over 729 pounds per capita. This was attributed to the Catawba County Regional EcoComplex and Resource Recovery Facility, a network of companies and operations that matches waste streams with needs for materials in the manufacturing of new products and energy sources.
The press release said local government programs statewide collected a record amount of traditional recyclables like newspapers, magazines, cardboard, aluminum and steel cans and plastic and glass bottles and jars, despite a weak economy, decreased packaging weight and continued decrease in the circulation and size of newspapers.
The press release said recycling of plastic bottles increased 22 percent in fiscal 2009-10 and 23.4 percent in fiscal 2010-11, partly due to a statewide ban on throwing away these items that took effect Oct. 1, 2009.
In fiscal 2010-11, the number of publicly operated curbside recycling programs grew for the third year in a row. There were 283 such programs in 2011, 259 in 2010 and 214 in 2009.
The division reported that in 2009-10 the recovery of traditional recyclable materials increased compared to previous years, and the proportion of materials recovered and returned to the economy compared to disposal was the highest on record.
The ratio of recycling to disposal jumped to an all-time high of 0.14 during FY 09-10. This ratio is used to examine the success of materials recovered from year to year when compared to disposal, and is determined by comparing the amount of materials recovered by local governments to the amount of total waste disposal during any one year.
Market prices for recyclable materials were strong through FY 2009-10, and have thoroughly rebounded from the dramatic drop experienced in late 2008. Prices rose for most commodities through the course of FY 10 before declining slightly toward the end of the fiscal year remaining strong well into FY 2010-11.
Spring 2010 was a high water mark for pricing of the whole range of materials during FY 2009-10, with a doubling or greater of prices for steel cans, PET, newsprint, and mixed paper from the beginning of the year.
The disposal bans on plastic bottles, oil filters, and wooden pallets that became effective on Oct. 1, 2009, contributed significantly to the implementation of recovery programs and led to the highest recovery of oil filters and plastic bottles on record. Plastic bottle recovery increased by 22 percent over the previous year, resulting in the sharpest gain in plastics recovery measured during the last 10 years.
Oil filter recovery and the number of local government operated oil filter recovery programs both increased dramatically, with a 65 percent increase in the number of programs and a 160 percent increase in the tons of oil filters collected.
Source By :