However, as successful as the program has been, Fayetteville owes a huge debt of gratitude to Cumberland County’s Solid Waste Management Department, which has been serving as a “holding pen” or transfer station for the recyclable materials, while the company contracted to transport and convert the recyclables — Pratt Industries — continues construction of its new transfer station.
Janice Albert, the county’s recycling coordinator, works out of the Ann Street Landfill — one of 17 recycling sites in the county. She says the facility is sending out approximately 25-30 tons of recyclable goods a day that Pratt picks up and transfers to Charlotte for recycling.
And she says that for the most part, Fayetteville’s residents have been very vigilant in sorting their recyclables.
“Recyclables have been very clean. There’s always going to be examples of people throwing trash in the wrong can or putting in items that can’t be recycled, but overall, it looks like it’s been a pretty positive thing ... Better than was expected, I’m sure,” said Albert. “Even without counting the city’s material, we get quite a bit here. A lot of it comes from people who don’t live in the city. And we get businesses and such that come out here with their cardboard.”
Albert says the 17 landfills help fill in the gaps that Fayetteville’s recycling program misses, such as the recyclables generated by multifamily units, including apartment complexes.
So far, the landfills — all of which were purposely built to be located within seven miles of any home in Cumberland County — have easily handled Fayetteville’s recyclables; and Albert says it will be a long time coming before the Ann Street landfill runs out of room.
“Depending on how we expand, we can probably make it last for up to 20-25 years,” said Albert of the landfill, which covers more than 300 acres.
The county’s recycling sites accept a long list of recyclable material, including:
•Cardboard (corrugated and food boxes)
•Metals (must be able to put in container box)
•Newspaper (no plastic wrap or string)
•Yard Waste (grass, leaves, pine straw, brush & limb clippings — may not exceed 4 cubic yards per week; limbs larger than 3 inches in diameter and 3 feet long must be taken to Wilkes Road)
•Plastic (bottles, jugs and jars)
•Glass (brown, clear, green separated)
•Office Paper (accepted at Ann Street only)
Of course there are some items that can’t be recycled, such as Styrofoam, acids, compressed gas cyclers, commercial or industrial waste, dead animals, hot ashes, liquids (other than waste oil) and furniture.
Despite the restrictions, Albert says hazardous waste does sometime slip through, often with unpleasant consequences.
“We get those (hazardous chemicals) quite a bit,” said Albert, “and a lot of times if we don’t see them we’ll have stuff blow up and start fires. We also get some compressed gas cyclers ... We’ve had people gassed out here.”
In addition to the regular services, one landfill is helping out the environment both organically and cosmetics wise.
“Wood that’s not treated or painted is loaded in boxes and taken to the Wilkes Road site where it’s ground up and dyed red to sell for landscaping mulch,” said Albert.
While a set price has not yet been decided on, Albert says it will probably sell for about about $10 a truck load.