If you live in Mecklenburg County and recycle, you may not know you're doing besides just helping the environment. You're also helping a local company make more money.
Mecklenburg County's recyclables come to a processing center in north Charlotte. It's operated by a company called ReCommunity, which separates and sells things like cardboard, plastic or aluminum, and revenues have been soaring.
The county gets 75 percent and ReCommunity gets 25 percent.
ReCommunity's cut was $75,000 in 1999. In 2011, it made $1.3 million.
Since 1999, ReCommunity has made $8.2 million off the sale of products that you paid for.
Joe Hack with Solid Waste Services said deals like this are common around the country, forcing operators to do the best job they can.
"It incentives ReCommunity to sort for the highest commodity value, to get the most return on investment, which means the county gets more revenue," Hack said.
ReCommunity President Sean Duffy said the revenue stream isn't guaranteed.
"As commodity prices go up and down, there is a risk-reward. We all share that," Duffy said.
It pays to run the facility. The county has made about $25 million in revenue from recycled material since 1999.
That stays in the Solid Waste System, which is an enterprise fund and means it gets no taxpayer money and has to generate its own operating funds.