North Carolina’s per capita waste disposal is going strong
Based on figures gathered from the 2011-2012 North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Annual Report, North Carolina residents are not big wasters. The report states each person generates 0.98 tons of waste per year, which is below the national average.
Best of all, North Carolina has managed to reduce the per capita waste disposal rate nearly every year dating back to 1990-1991 when the state first began tracking the stat.
Curbside recycling programs are at an all-time high nearing 300 statewide. The same trend is true for single-stream recycling drop off locations around the state.
The boost in recycling efforts in recent years has been beneficial to the economy. A 2012 report published by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance & Outreach found that more than 15,000 people were employed in the recycling industry statewide.
***This figure has increased each year since 1994, where only 7,757 people were employed in the recycling industry.
Put e-waste in its proper place
North Carolina law prohibits dumping computers and TVs in with the general waste stream. You must properly recycle this equipment at any registered e-cycler.
Also, recycle fluorescent bulbs at a registered recycler in North Carolina. Some compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) may not contain toxic substances and can be safely disposed of in the general waste stream. Be sure to check the packaging of the bulbs to be sure.
You can always call the N.C. DENR at (877) 623-6748 if you’re not sure what to do with e-waste or CFLs.
Backyard composting reduces waste by 25%
About a quarter of the waste landfilled in the U.S. is compostable. This includes waste like yard debris, food waste and paper products. Composting is great for the environment and can actually save you money in two ways:
- You’re making free 100% organic fertilizer for your garden, flower beds, indoor plantings, or to add to your top soil. You don’t have to buy it at the store.
- Composting can reduce the amount of waste you generate, which may allow you to downsize your waste container needs and save a few bucks on your waste hauling bill.
It’s easy to compost at home, and no, it doesn’t smell like rotting garbage if you do it right. It’s a matter of mixing “brown” materials like twigs, dead leaves and clean paper with “green” materials like coffee grounds/filters, fruit/veggie scraps, nut shells and egg shells (no whole eggs).
Mix in a higher ratio of brown materials to avoid a stinky batch of compost. Mix weekly and keep moist with water. That’s all it takes to start reaping the benefits of compost.
Learn more about composting here and here.