New facility could divert 25K tons of recyclables from county landfill

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Bailed Recycling from New Hanover County Landfill. Photo Courtesy of New Hanover County
Bailed Recycling from New Hanover County Landfill. Photo Courtesy New Hanover County.

In an effort to keep more recyclables out of the New Hanover county Landfill, local officials agree to the construction of a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at the former New Hanover County WASTEC facility on  U.S. 421.

Under the agreement executed on June 30, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington will permit Sonoco Recycling, LLC to construct and operate the new facility which will sort recyclable materials typically mixed together with garbage.

According to a news release from New Hanover County, the agreement binds the city and the county to commit all tons collected from their recycling operations and expects up to 25,000 tons to be diverted from the landfill annually.

The City of Wilmington’s previous agreement with Waste Management sent recycled materials to Raleigh with processing fees at $20 a ton. According to Joe Suleyman, Director of Environmental Management for New Hanover County, the city will now pay New Hanover County $10 per ton.  Savings for both entities could be more than $650,000 annually.

“This agreement, and the infrastructure it brings to the county, provides a tremendous opportunity to expand and enhance recycling efforts countywide,” said Suleyman,

City residents who participate in the city’s recycling program will continue to use their blue roll-out carts, while the county will continue to use its recycling drop-off locations.

He expects the new Sonoco MRF to be finished by this Thanksgiving and be capable of sorting and separating phase one recyclables, such as cardboard and paper products.

New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington will sort and bail their recyclable materials at the county landfill which will then be delivered to another Sonoco MRF in Jacksonville until the construction of the new facility is finished, Suleyman said.

New Hanover County cited Sonoco as “one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial, consumer and protective packaging and provider of packaging services.

“In addition, the company is one of the leading producers of recycled paperboard, utilizing more than a million tons of recovered paper annually in its papermaking operations.”