Got Trash? NC Residents Throw Away Less

Feb 5, 2013

Trash at a state landfill.
Credit N.C. Division of Waste Management

North Carolina residents are throwing less trash in the state’s 40 landfills than they have in 22 years. Numbers began trending downward three years ago, and the state average is now less than a ton per person per year. Ellen Lorscheider from the state division of solid waste says that the plastic bottle ban of 2010 is cutting the amount of waste. While that trend is good news for the environment, she says it could also have something to do with the ongoing financial crisis.

“Probably one of the most important things is that is that a lot of recycling has been occurring the last few years,” Lorscheider says. “One of the things that made it difficult to analyze is that the economy also went down. There's a lot of waste that is tied to industry.”

Lorscheider says the power and construction industries contribute significantly to landfills and estimates about a third of all trash from municipal landfills comes from housing construction, an industry which has been down sharply over the last 3 years.