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Cornelius News

When is recycling a waste?

Jan. 17. By Dave Vieser. Cornelius has suspended using two residential recycling bins located at the Harborside Villas and Silver Quay lakeside communities.  The containers will continue to function, but only as regular trash receptacles.        

“We were informed that Republic is no longer collecting single stream recycling in Dumpsters,” said Assistant Town Manager Tyler Beardsley. “Therefore, the recycle Dumpsters in the town will be changed back to trash dumpsters.”

It’s all due to a change in how our country handles recyclable waste. For decades, Americans sent the bulk of their recycling to China. However, within the last year, China has restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper, magazines, office paper, junk mail and most plastics. There’s no longer a market for some previously recycled wasted and some is ending up in landfills or incinerators. Meanwhile, online shopping is producing massive amounts of cardboard,.

Waste-management companies across the country, such as Republic, are telling towns, cities and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: Pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.      

Mike Griffin, a partner in Cornelius-based Griffin Brothers Cos., says cost is a major factor.

“I 100-percent agree that recycling is more expensive than disposing of waste into landfills. Citizens have to be willing to pay more to recycle,” he says. One solution is to reduce the need of recycling with improved packaging and to enhance what can be recycled by improving the type of materials that go into packaging.        

Meanwhile, Cornelius is in the process of advertising for a new solid waste disposal firm, as the current contract with Republic expires in June.

The town partners with Mecklenburg County on handling the recycling that is collected.

“At this time, we anticipate still being able to collect recyclables. However, we are monitoring the markets along with the county and will make future adjustments as needed,” says Town Manager Andrew Grant.