Jan 19, 2023 - Things to Do

You can now recycle more in Mecklenburg County

recycling center on 11th street in Uptown

recycling center on 11th street in Uptown

Mecklenburg County has expanded its recycling program to accept more materials, including white rigid foam, shredded paper, hard and soft books, and textiles.

  • Yes, but: You can only recycle this expanded list of items at one of the county’s four full-service recycling centers — meaning you can’t put them curbside for your weekly pickups.
  • Residents can learn more about the expanded recycling program at meckfoam.com.

Why it matters: County leaders have been seeking ways for the region to improve its recycling capabilities, according to Jeff Smithberger, the county’s solid waste management director.

  • Expanding what’s accepted in the recycling process is a way to reduce what ends up at landfills.

Zoom out: Since rolling out the expanded recycling program in November, the county’s filled up 30 full size 30-yard containers and has processed several tons of the white foam product, Smithberger says.

  • The foam can be ground up, melted down, turned into a reusable material called polystyrene, then sold for about $600 a ton, he adds.

“We’re not going to get rich off selling it but it has product value. And it saves space in our landfills. We can turn it into something that’s used again,” Smithberger says.

Details: The four recycling centers accepting the expanded list of materials are located at:

Via curbside, the list of items you can recycle is limited and includes plastic bottles and jugs with necks, cardboard, aluminum cans, clean cartons, paper and glass bottles.

[Go deeper: Why it matters that many of us in Charlotte are bad at recycling]

Of note: The county is adding two additional full-service recycling centers — one near Steele Creek and on Monroe Road. Those two will have enhanced recycling, too, per Smithberger. They should be open within a year or so.

Photo: Courtesy of Mecklenburg County

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