Waste Management urges residents to stop putting yard waste into recycling containers

Waste Management urges residents to stop putting yard waste into recycling containers

CHARLOTTE — Officials with Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management are asking residents to not put yard waste in recycling containers.

The City of Charlotte and Town of Matthews are not collecting yard waste curbside, so their workers can maintain social distancing while at work.

“Mecklenburg County’s Solid Waste workers have been overwhelmed with residents inappropriately placing non-recyclable materials into their recycling containers,” officials said in a news release. “Things like yard waste and other items such as clothing, microwaves, and vacuum cleaners are not recyclable in your curbside container."

Content Continues Below

The county said that improper recycling is causing lots of problems in sorting, which is conducted mostly by people.

The unwanted materials create hazards for the workers whose job it is to sort through those items, said Jeff Smithberger, Solid Waste Management director.

“It pokes them,” Smithberger said. “It gums up our machinery. We have to shut down our processing line to be able to get the stuff that’s out of there.”

There are six items that can be recycled in your home recycling container or at the County’s recycling centers:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Bi-metal cans
  • Paper
  • Glass bottles
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic bottles with necks

Never contaminate your curbside recycling with incorrect items. Due to COVID-19, recyclables originating from quarantined homes should be placed in the garbage, not in the recycling containers, until the home is no longer quarantined.

>> We’ll bring you LIVE updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Get extended coverage on the free WSOC Now app on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV.

Officials urge to double bag trash items that are originating from quarantined homes, or other sources where people are sick.

“If someone is sick, please take the benefit of the doubt and throw those materials away,” Smithberger said.

Yard Waste can be dropped off at any of the county’s Full-Service Centers. The county is requesting that citizens practice grass-recycling at home and not bag grass. For other yard waste, two 32-gallon size bags will be at no charge and if you deliver more, fees range from $8 for a pickup truck load to larger loads of $27 per ton.

Smithberger is asking the public to only come to a county Full-Service Center if it is absolutely essential, while under the ‘stay-at-home’ order.

“For the sake of our frontline workers, please think about whether your trip to drop off trash or yard waste is essential,” said Smithberger. “If you do come out, please take precautions like wearing gloves or masks that follow the Public Health and CDC guidelines.”

Another issue is that its costly.

“We have to pay our contractor to be able to process everything on a per-ton basis,” Smithberger said. “We are paying them more per ton, so it could cost us a couple extra hundred dollars per ton. We are getting about 300 tons extra of stuff a day that shouldn’t be in recycling.”