New recycling laws
In three days, a long list of new laws approved in recent legislature will go into effect.
Among the many changes is something that effects every Catawba County resident — waste disposal and recycling.
Starting Friday, computer equipment and televisions will be banned from disposal in North Carolina landfills under a law passed last year by the General Assembly. The banned items include laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, scanners and peripherals, such as mice and keyboards. The new law helps divert highly usable materials to a growing electronics recycling industry in the North Carolina, according to state documents.
To compensate for the landfill ban, Catawba County will offer four electronic collection events throughout the year on the first Saturday in August, November, February and May. At the events, all types of electronic waste will be accepted, according to county documents. County residents must hold on to their electronics between collection periods, but Catawba County landfill superintendent Rodney Hamby said there are other options to dispose of the TVs, computers and other electronic equipment.
“Goodwill will take some computers or TVs if they are working,” Hamby said. “At some businesses and donation centers, there might be a fee, but at others there might not be.”
Businesses like Best Buy, Office Depot, Radio Shack and Staples also provide options for recycling electronics; however, most of the companies only accept equipment that is working. Local municipalities will also offer additional places to dispose of computer equipment throughout the year.
The city of Newton, for example, will start offering a once-a-month electronic collection site at the old farmers market location off of Ashe Avenue, said Newton Public Works Director Wilce Martin. Keeping electronics out of the county landfill prolongs the disposal center’s life.
Conover Solid Waste Supervisor Keith Lynch said he wants to keep waste out of the landfill “as much as possible,” but said the new e-ban could pose potential control issues. Lynch said that while TVs and computer monitors are easy to spot by collection workers, small electronic items could be harder to see in regular trash and disposed items.
“We are all holding our breaths a little bit and hoping that it’s controllable on our side,” Lynch said. “We are hoping that it is a positive thing and that it works.”
In addition to the electronic ban, Catawba County will no longer accept paint at its Blackburn Convenience Center on Rocky Ford Road in Newton.
The county accepted paint at the waste disposal and recycling center in the past, but Hamby said the convenience center was receiving too much hazardous waste. Paint will be accepted at the same four electronic collection events.
For more information about the electronic ban or any recycling guidelines, visit catawbacounty.gov/ue.
Newton Public Works picks up recyclables and waste about five days a week, Martin said. Newton citizens’ recycling is collected the same day as their trash “roll out,” and the city only recycles newsprint, No. 1 through No. 7 plastics, glass bottles and jars and aluminum cans, telephone books and magazines, according to Newton’s website. “The best thing is to put only those materials that are recyclable and that we accept in the bins,” Martin said. “Put the types of recyclables in the red bins that we need and no types of trash.”
The city of Conover also provides curbside pickup for resident recyclables.
Lynch said the city picks up No. 1 and No. 2 plastics in their curbside collection, as well as newspaper, glass and aluminum.
Conover also offers three drop-off recycling centers located at the Wal-Mart shopping center off N.C. 16 North, the Canova shopping center and Food Lion shopping center of U.S. 70. The drop-off center in the Canova shopping center recently started accepting cardboard, according to Conover’s website.
“If they could rinse out their bottles, especially if someone drinks a lot of beer or wine, it makes it so much easier,” Lynch said. “A lot of these recycle bins can get really dirty, and the guys have to physically hand sort it.”
The city of Hickory also accepts No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, brown, green and clear glass, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books and aluminum and metal cans at its curbside pickup.
Like Conover, Hickory has two recycling drop-off centers at Ninth Avenue NE behind fire station No. 2 and at the Solid Waste Transfer Station at 1050 First Ave. SW.
“Contamination is the biggest issue with the things that are not recyclable from the curb,” said Andrew Ballentine, Hickory solid waste manager.
Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick said the city provides an 18-gallon recycling bin to its residents.
Barrick said that curbside recycling is picked up every Wednesday, adding that the city collects larger items Monday and Wednesday.
“Recycling is free of charge to dump,” Barrick said. “The more weight we can recycle, the more money it saves in tipping fees and prolongs the life of the landfill. It’s always a good day when the recycling bins are overflowing.”