Members of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved an agreement to provide recycling for the City of Wilmington and its customers. City council, in turn, OK’d the agreement at its meeting Tuesday night.
The approved agreement would be for eight years at a cost to the City of $80,360, which City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said will save the city–and its customers–money in the long run.
While City of Wilmington trash customers who recycle is growing–estimated at 80 percent this year–the county’s numbers aren’t as high.
Only 10 percent of residents in unincorporated New Hanover County (meaning those who live out of the jurisdiction of Wilmington and the beach towns) currently recycle, Joe Suleyman, the county’s environmental management director, said.
More than 30 percent of the county’s trash hauled to the landfill are recyclable.
“At the end of the day, there’s only one way to keep [recyclables] out of [the landfill] and that’s mandatory recycling,” Suleyman said.
“Wilmington Public Services Director Richard King told Council that the city and New Hanover County are both in preliminary talks about the construction of a new privately owned recycling processing center…at the old Wastec Incinerator property on Highway 421,” Talbert said. “The city currently drops off its recycling materials at a Waste Management transfer station on River Road for $20 a ton.”
In 2014, the city picked up an average of more than 122 tons of recycling each week. Those recyclables are then taken to a recycling processing center in Raleigh. The number of city customers who recycle increased when the city began using “the big blue roll-out carts,” Talbert said.
Total tonage of recyclables collected in 2012-2013 was 5,365, which increased to 5,853 in 2013-2014, and “we are on track to exceed that number this fiscal year,” she said.
The city’s contract with Waste Management expires on June 30, and the fee was expected to double to $40 a ton. The agreement with the county would cost the city $10 per ton, Talbert said.
“Not only is recycling better for our environment, but it also costs less to process.”