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LAKE WYLIE --
Recycling could soon be required in Mecklenburg County.
Included in Mecklenburg County’s 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan are steps to reduce its current 1.8 tons of garbage per person per year by recommending residents pay by volume for garbage collection, requiring all multifamily complexes to recycle, and creating an incentive program for and implementing “mandatory recycling participation” for single-family homes.
“That’s fairly average,” said Bruce Gledhill, county solid waste director. “We believe that in the next 10 years, we can get down to .82 (tons).”
The new plan – headed for county commissioners’ final approval May 1 – would reduce garbage by 16 percent short-term, and 35 percent long-term, according to the draft. A public meeting was set for 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Hal Marshall County Services Center at 700 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
Also recommended are ordinances and events to promote commercial recycling, and making construction and demolition recycling mandatory.
“We believe such a reduction is feasible economically and system wide,” Gledhill said.
Gledhill said the plan also addresses better enforcement of already existing laws. For example, it’s illegal in North Carolina to put aluminum cans and plastic bottles in landfills. But, Gledhill said, the law is only enforced upon delivery to the disposal site. An option would be to require residents not put the materials in garbage containers heading to the landfill.
The county also leads by example. For instance, in January, it began collecting trash twice a week instead of daily at county offices to encourage recycling.
The county, state, local municipalities and residents create a comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan every three years, outlining target accomplishments for the coming decade. Per capita trash is down 40 percent in the county since 1999.
Yet recycling isn’t an issue confined to Mecklenburg County. Last week, Keep York County Beautiful board asked York County Council for permission to apply for a $5,000 grant to purchase recycling containers for apartment complexes. The 500 additional containers would be part of a program stared in 2010 to reduce waste from apartment buildings. Council approved the request.
“The first project was so successful and well received by apartment residents, the committee and Keep York County Beautiful board decided to continue to expand the program to as many complexes in York County as possible,” according to information presented to Council from David Harmon, deputy assistant manager for the county.
Recycling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good economics, too.
“The generation of discarded materials is dynamic and is affected by changes in the economy, laws and other considerations, as well as by state and local policies and programs,” states the Mecklenburg County draft plan. “With the economic downturn beginning in 2008, the discarded materials tonnage generated within Mecklenburg County, and therefore, the tonnage land filled within the county, began decreasing significantly.”
For the full report, visit charmeck.org and click “solid waste” under the departments tab.