City officials monitor recycling business changes

Plastic, glass, aluminum and paper for recycling

The world’s recycling economy is changing. China stopped allowing import of recyclables from a number of countries including the United States, and this is causing a renewed look at the solid waste and recycling infrastructure across the country and locally.

“The City of Gastonia continues to monitor the significant changes occurring nationwide in the recycling business and the potential impacts it will have on municipalities in general and, more importantly, on us locally,” said Assistant City Manager Flip Bombardier. “The City is in year three of a 5-year recycling contract with Republic Services, and we continue to meet and discuss these market changes with them, along with ideas and options moving forward.”

Republic Services collects recyclables from more than 23,000 households in Gastonia, which produces about 330 tons of recyclables per month. Contaminating items affect everything around them and can result in all of the items in the recycle cart going to the landfill instead.

“There are currently no changes to our recycling program,” said DeeDee Gillis, City of Gastonia Solid Waste Division manager. “However, we definitely need to work on lowering our contamination rate. Higher quality standards could become the new normal – a cleaner product is being dictated by market conditions.”

Recycling tips are as follows:

Recycle the items listed below, putting them together in your recycling cart loose, empty, clean and dry:

  • All plastic bottles and containers (#1 – #7)
  • Wide-mouth plastic containers (including lids)
  • Rigid plastics
  • Mixed paper
  • Newspapers with inserts, magazines, telephone books, paperback books
  • Junk mail
  • Computer paper, adding machine tape, NCR carbonless paper
  • Color paper
  • Envelopes
  • Gift wrapping paper (without foil backing)
  • Cardboard
  • Gift boxes, shoe boxes, cereal and food boxes (no food debris)
  • Milk and juice cartons and boxes (no liquid)
  • Aluminum cans and steel cans (including lids)
  • Aluminum foil (no food debris)
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
  • Empty aerosol cans – punctured (no paint cans)

Please do NOT put the following items in your recycling cart because they are considered contaminations:

  • Food waste or garbage
  • Plastic bags (grocery store)
  • Carbon paper, transparencies and laminated materials
  • Food and candy wrappers
  • Adhesives (stickers/labels)
  • Light bulbs or glassware (drinking glasses, baking dishes, etc.)
  • Construction debris or yard waste
  • Styrofoam or foam packing
  • Tissue paper or paper towels
  • Clothing or fabric
  • Medical waste or supplies
  • Pencil shavings
  • Hazardous waste, electronics, paint or rubber