North Carolina’s Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has decreased the amount of waste it is sending to landfills, but recycling per person has not increased significantly since 1999, according to the region’s first sustainability report.
Mecklenburg County in 2013 compared with 1999 has increased its collection of yard waste diverted from landfills to 229 pounds per person from 75 pounds; decreased construction and demolition (C&D) debris by two-thirds to 335 pounds; and dropped the amount of commercial waste per person annually to 880 from 2,080.
But the per person rate of recycling processed by the county and the amount of residential waste landfilled per person have not improved in 15 years. In Mecklenburg County’s 2014 State of the Environment report it said, “Even with a mature residential recycling program, nearly half of the county’s single family residents and more of the multi-family residents do not fully participate in the available recycling programs.”
The report gives the region’s waste effort an overall grade of “B.”
The study recommended a pay-as-you-throw system for residential waste pickup to discourage waste generation and encourage waste reduction strategies such as recycling and composting. It also said a comprehensive recycling law is needed with minimum requirements for residential, commercial and industrial facilities. It recommends Charlotte-Mecklenburg set a diversion/recycling goal and plan to work toward zero waste.