North Carolina is a growing state. So much so, that the garbage all those citizens dispose of is reaching the state’s limits. Their services need to get rid of 12 million tons of trash on a yearly basis.
To put that into perspective, according to statistics, the North Carolinians could fill dumpsters along half of Interstate 40 every month with their trash.
And so the state is looking into solving this problem. Recycling certainly is a possible solution, but it is not the only one.
Mr John Robertson, who heads the Solid Waste department for Wake County, says: "You wrap your mind around it, and it's a lot. The more trash we bring, the less we recycle. The less we recycle, the less life we have in our landfill."
The landfill he manages will be the last one built in Wake County as it is estimated to reach full capacity in two decades or so, even though it only dates to 2008.
Recycling could help extend that lifespan, Mr Robertson says. There are four issues that people would need to pay attention to:
- Don’t bag your recyclables. A lot of people want to do the right thing and want to recycle, but they put their different items in various plastic bags, and those are very hard to get rid of.
- Keep your mattresses a bit longer. According to county officials, some 80 mattresses end up on the landfill daily. That is simply too much. They therefore ask you to hold on to them a bit longer, hoping that North Carolina will be able to invest in a mattress recycling plant at a certain point in the future
- Dispose electronics properly. Electronic equipment is hard to recycle, and people are throwing away a lot of them. A blender or a can opener sometimes ends up in the garbage bag because of convenience, but this simply get stuck in the landfill afterwards. Anything with a cord should be disposed separately.
- Re-use those plastic bags. When you go to the grocery store, take a plastic bag with you. This is something that the whole of the US will need to learn. Don’t throw away those plastic bags with your garbage because they simply don’t decompose.