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Why are there no recycling containers at New Hanover County parks?

Merton Vance

If the county Board of Commissioners decides to privatize trash pickup and other aspects of environmental management as is currently being discussed, all recyclable materials will go into the trash and be sorted later by the company that picks it up.

The commissioners are currently negotiating with R3 Environmental, which proposes taking recyclable materials out of the waste stream after garbage is collected. Recyclable items would then be baled and sold, while other trash will be converted into biofuel at a 100,000 square-foot facility to be built if a contract is signed with R3 Environmental.

Parks officials were approached several years ago about installing recycling drop-off sites, says county Solid Waste Planner and recycling coordinator Lynn Bestul. The overtures were declined because of a lack of parking lot space in most parks to locate the drop-off sites.

If the commissioners reach an agreement with R3 Environmental, New Hanover County residents will have to get reacquainted with the old way of disposing garbage — throwing everything in the trash.

And that’s not just in parks, Bestul says.

“Their long-term plan is there will no longer be recycling. It won’t go straight to the landfill or the incinerator. All the recyclables will be sorted out,” Bestul says.

So, recycling sites at county parks don’t appear to be in the cards, Bestul says.

“We spent a number of years training people to sort recyclables and with the new system New Hanover County is probably going to have, we have to train them not to sort,” he says.

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