WW: What is the most serious recycling issues facing North Carolina's small communities? JM: North Carolina is a rural and agriculturally-oriented state. The eastern and western portions are remote with only pockets of population density.
Although regionalization is cri- tical in waste management, many rural communities are hesitant to get involved. In the mountain areas of western North Carolina, for example, communities are very independent and take pride in their autonomy. But in spite of this stubbornness to regionalize, the rural areas have responded to re-cycling and waste reduction.
WW: How has business and industry been helpful in promoting recycling in your state? JM: I feel our association has gained good support from the commercial and industrial sector. I also believe this area is one of our greatest challenges. To that end, we have worked with the North Carolina Office of Waste Reduction to put on several commercial/industrial waste reduction workshops. In addition, we dedicate a significant portion of our annual conference to this area.
WW: What actions will influence waste reduction/recycling in North Carolina? JM: Due to recent shifts in political posture toward recycling, we are pressing hard to keep waste reduction initiatives on the front burner. Our association is committed to leading the state toward its 40 percent reduction goal by 2001. If local and state government leaders hold steady in their commitment to responsible waste reduction stewardship, North Ca-rolina will respond and be better for it. It is going to take courage, vision and public support for government officials to take a stand.
WW: How do you foresee the the local recycling coordinator's job changing? JM: Recycling coordinators will continue to wear more than one hat. For example, many are solid waste directors with landfill re-sponsibilities, county planners, "Keep America Beautiful" directors or other such titles. I know, at least in rural areas, this diversification will continue. Many of these individuals still are trying to get recycling programs underway at a time when markets are flat and unresponsive.
Also, many areas are converting unmanned, widespread drop-off sites to centralized staffed centers. The coordinators will have greater exposure to media and public relations activity, increased pressure to regionalize and to be certified in more than one area in the waste management field. There will be more focus on the number of people served by recycling programs, as well as the types and quantities of materials recovered.
WW: What does your organization have to offer to your members and the public? JM: The NCRA has been recognized as one of the strongest state recycling organizations in the country. We offer waste reduction workshops, municipal and residential composting workshops and hold an annual green building conference.
A large part of our success has been our ability to offer our members the opportunity to expand and participate in successful, ac-tive councils. We will continue to be the "meeting place," where professionals and the general public can exchange information.