Two North Carolina counties are among the top 10 counties in the state for public recycling, a report by the Gaston Gazette says. The data from the North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, released June 8, says Brunswick and New Hanover counties recycled 303.8 pounds and 253.71 pounds of material per capita, respectively.
The two counties’ high numbers were driven by construction and demolition (C&D) debris, electronics and other nontraditional recyclables. In Brunswick, 138.4 pounds of common household recyclables were recovered, while New Hanover’s was 107.33 pounds. Brunswick reached sixth in the list while New Hanover placed ninth.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says nontraditional recycling programs such as the ones in New Hanover and Brunswick are the reason total per capita recycling in the state has increased by 58 pounds in the past decade.
New Hanover opened its C&D debris recycling facility in 2016, the report says. It was built to process around 60,000 tons of debris per year. At the facility, the debris is loaded onto a conveyer and any material sized two-and-a-half inches or smaller is screened out. Cardboard, lumber, sheet rock and scrap metals are then pulled out of the stream. The county resells the materials, with cardboard typically selling for between $60 and $80 per ton and scrap metal selling for 4 to 5 cents per pound. Lumber is ground and used for boiler fuel or mulch.
Officials in New Hanover awarded a $3.6 million contract to build a 10-acre cell at its local landfill. The report says before the C&D facility was built, the debris took up 30 percent of the landfill’s space.