Recycling FYI
Blair Pollock
Orange County Solid Waste

Orange County Solid Waste and Recycling News
November 2011

Rigid Plastics Removed From Recycling Drop-off Sites

On November 1, the big purple dumpsters for recycling non-bottle plastics #2, #4 and #5 will be removed from the unstaffed drop-off sites due to contamination and illegal dumping.  We will keep the containers at the staffed solid waste convenience centers, as those are not a problem.

After the purple recycling dumpsters were put in place in February 2010, County recycling staff conducted extensive public education on proper use of the purple dumpsters for non-bottle plastics like cups, tubs, buckets, lawn furniture and similar #2 (high density polyethylene HDPE), #4 low density polyethylene (LDPE) and #5 polypropylene. But over 50% of what is put in the dumpsters at unstaffed sites is garbage. So that is not very effective, and it’s our worst performing program in terms of contamination.

The containers at the five staffed convenience center sites are getting only 10% garbage. Sadly at the unstaffed sites the contents are only about half recyclables, with the other, non-recyclable half ranging from construction waste and shower curtains to a lot of plastic bottles that don’t belong in this bin and the ubiquitous clamshell take out containers. We collect about 13 tons a month from the purple bins and four tons is thrown out each month by our staff. When the bales get to the Blue Ridge Plastics recycling plant in Eden, North Carolina, they find contaminants we missed. Blue Ridgecannot make flower pots or drain pipe out of old sheetrock, televisions or even the plastic bags thrown in the purple dumpsters.

You can still recycle yogurt cups, worn out plastic lawn furniture, and the whole variety of other items made from the #2, #4 or #5 resins at the five staffed solid waste convenience centers during their operating hours.  Place big battery-operated plastic riding toys with electronics, not in the purple bins. Don’t put in what is not shown on the signs or at our web page , or call us and we’ll send you a picture brochure.

New Design for Solid Waste Convenience Center

Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is planning improvements to the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center north of Hillsborough. The proposed redesign will make the site cleaner, more efficient, and easier to use with expanded services and two-tiered dumping for bulky and heavy items like sofas or construction materials. New solid waste compactors with low loading heights are proposed to replace the current dumpsters to make it easier to quickly and safely discard trash. Recycling is proposed to be consolidated and loaded into similar low-loading height compacting hoppers that will improve hauling efficiency. Proposed renovations also include paving the site and adding new lighting that will meet County standards for limiting light pollution. The site will be fully fenced and landscaped to provide an attractive appearance. A draft of the plan is posted (coming soon!) on the County web page and we will entertain comments from the public. Send us your comments ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )!

Proposed new services include:
·    Hazardous household waste collection including paint, pesticides and fluorescent bulbs,
·    Plastic bags and film,
·    Clothes and shoes
·    Food waste and vegetable oil
·    Expanded salvage shed

New Option for Dry Cell Battery Recycling
The UPS store at 510 Meadowmont Circle in the Meadowmont area off NC 54 east in Chapel Hill has become the latest dropoff point for household batteries. Drop them off only during store hours: or call 942-3301. (The store also accepts Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, and air pillows for reuse.) Thanks to store owner Jon Reda, this store joins household battery drop locations at all Weaver Street Markets, Whole Foods, Radio Shack stores at University Mall and Eastgate, and Southeast Camera in Carrboro as well as the five solid waste convenience centers where you can also take lead acid automotive batteries. Last year Orange County collected 18 tons of dry cell batteries.

Terra Vita Success
Due to great pre-planning by Terra Vita organizer Colleen Minton, total cooperation of all the restaurants and attendees, and a great job by Orange County’s hard working part-time staff led by recycling educator Muriel Williman, this year’s  Terra Vita food, wine, and beer event (held on the lawn at Southern Village on September 24) recycled or composted over 99% of the waste generated. Way to go Colleen.