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Is there progress being made in the city of Wilmington’s recycling efforts, and is it all actually being recycled?

Saja Hindi

City of Wilmington superintendent of solid waste Bill Reed assures residents that anything they put in recycling bins that can be recycled, will be recycled.

The city works in coordination with Recycle America to collect recyclable materials from residential homes and the central business district.

“The markets are kind of soft right now just like the rest of the economy, but that has not affected us in how much we can recycle,” Reed said.

In the last 12 months, the city has collected 4,100 tons of materials from the curbside residential program. The goal, according to Reed, was to recycle 10 percent of the residential waste stream, and the city is now at 14 percent. In the four weeks preceding July 14, 2009, the city collected 681,350 pounds of materials.

“That’s about as well as you can do without having a mandatory program,” Reed said.

And because of the new ABC law, all bars and restaurants are required to recycle beverage containers to keep their ABC licenses, so Reed said 45 percent of the trash downtown is recycled.

Reed said another reason for this is because most of the trash downtown can be recycled, like cardboard and glass. Recyclable materials include plastic containers, glass bottles and jars, aluminum, almost any kind of paper and metal cans. However, Reed warned residents that foam plastic and plastic bags cannot be recycled, and that when plastic bags are thrown in with the recyclable materials, they get tangled in the gears of the automated equipment and can shut down a line.

With a possible new ban to take effect in October against having beverage containers in landfills, Reed said the city hopes that will encourage more residents to recycle as well.

One difficulty, Reed said, is not having a local processing facility and having to carry everything to Raleigh to be recycled.

“We’re kind of off the beaten path here in Southeastern North Carolina,” Reed said.

There isn’t an updated story on the city’s Web site about the recycling efforts, but Reed said an electronic brochure is available for residents.

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One Response to “ Is there progress being made in the city of Wilmington’s recycling efforts, and is it all actually being recycled?”

  1. On October 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm anne kurowski wrote:

    Thanks for the quick reply. But it did not really answer my question. I am surprised to hear all our trash is sent to Raleigh. But then what? Do people stand there and separate the paper the from the cans from the bottle? If it is automated in some way, how does it do this? And then where does the stuff go?
    Why is it not separated at curbside?

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