Solid Waste

A pile of discarded computers and other electronics.
Curtis Palmer / Flickr

A bill in the North Carolina House would let computer and television manufacturers off the hook for fees that subsidize recycling of their products. The Senate has already passed the bill, even though it would still ban the items from landfills.

Now, recyclers and local governments are worried how they'll afford costly disposal. North Carolina still charges advance disposal fees for tires and appliances to keep them out of landfills.

A picture of a teacher and intern working on a computer.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Computers, smart phones and other electronics often end up in landfills just a couple years after they're manufactured. The United Nations says electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in developed developing countries alike, and it can be hazardous.

A picture of used aluminum cans.
Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

Spring cleaning is underway; you can tell from the yard sales dotting lawns over the weekend. Most other unwanted items can go in your recycling bin. Morning Edition producer Rebecca Martinez has been reporting on recycling and re-use.

Eric Hodge: Communities across the state have really been pushing recycling in recent years, making it more convenient. Why does that matter?

Picture an enormous thrift store with a funky vibe and full of boisterous music. A vintage-looking swordfish hangs above the register, and the art that lines the walls is made from old binders and colorful bits of foam and plastic.

"We get a ton of fabric, beads, buttons, trim, notion, paint, wood, frames, matte board, foam core, billboards, signage, magnets," said Ann Woodward.

A picture of two stacks of books.
katerha / Creative Commons

A new book club in Raleigh is encouraging some trashy reading this summer.

The Solid Waste Services Department says it's a way of celebrating the 25 years since Raleigh set up a curbside recycling program, and the city wants readers to learn more about how garbage is managed and how recycling works.

A picture of the South Wake Landfill.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The South Wake Landfill in Apex is putting its garbage to work. Wake County recently hosted an open house for its landfill gas power plant.

Solid Waste Director John Roberson said the plant is making money and producing electricity from the garbage that's decomposing inside the dump and cutting down on bad smells there.

A picture of curbside recycling carts in Durham.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Durham's Solid Waste Department is cutting four jobs to make up for a $1.1 million budget shortfall.

Director Donald Long said his department is very expensive to run. Its $16 million budget is about the same size as last year, and Long said one of the only places to cut costs is personnel.

A picture of a chair in front of a pile of garbage.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The Raleigh City Council wants to reduce the amount of garbage it sends to a landfill in Southern Wake County.

Raleigh pays about $33 for each ton of garbage it buries, but the city can make $30 on each ton it recycles. This morning, Raleigh's Solid waste director is presenting a list of options to increase recycling. One company in town, WasteZero, says it has the best option.

Packing The Trash Into The Landfill: How Trash Is Handled Now

A picture of a recycling cart

Starting today, residents of Cary can recycle even more waste materials.  In addition to soda bottles and milk jugs, Cary will accept bulky #2 HPDE plastic in its curbside recycling bins.

Solid Waste Division Manager Bob Holden said that includes old patio furniture, storage bins, and garbage cans.

“We listened to our citizens,” Holden said. “Our citizens wanted us to look for more ways to recycle more things. And working with our contractor, they found a domestic market that would accept these specific items to make paint cans out of them.”