On Oct. 1, North Carolina implemented a law banning the disposal of plastic bottles in state landfills. Officials hope the ban will bolster plastic recycling efforts in the state.
According to a press release from the city of Greensboro, N.C., almost four out of every five plastic soda containers, water bottles, milk jugs and detergent bottles — almost 288 million pounds of plastic — are thrown away in North Carolina each year. Recycling all of the plastic bottles used in the state would divert more than 2.4 billion plastic bottles from landfills annually. Currently, about 18 percent of plastic bottles used by North Carolina residents are being recycled, according to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Leading up to the implementation, state officials worked to reassure residents about the law. “Nobody is going to be looking in your trash can,” Scott Mouw, the state recycling director told the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper. “The whole spirit of the law is to drive additional collection of materials and recycling behavior on the part of all of us. That's what we hope to see. It's kind of silly to put these materials in a hole in the ground.”
A ban on the disposal of used motor oil filters in landfills also took effect in North Carolina on Oct. 1. In previous years, the state has banned other materials from its landfills, including used oil, yard waste, white goods (large home appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines), antifreeze and aluminum cans.