New rules affecting Duplin solid waste sites
By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on October 18, 2009 2:00 AM
The Duplin County solid waste sites have undergone, and are still undergoing, a number of changes with new state and local regulatory policies recently going into effect.
Since state law went into effect banning plastic bottles, wooden pallets and oil filters from the county sites, there has been an increased demand for recycling, county solid waste director Bee Barnett said.
"As far as the county, we already have a full-fledged recycling in the county anyway. We run our own recycling centers,"he said. "We've seen a little increase. Some of my towns that have gone out of recycling, the public is sort of pushing that they want recycling back."
County taxpayers fund the public sites, including the recycling sites, and the county then sells the collected recyclables to try and help support the effort. For a period of time, the county was not making much money from the sales because prices were so low, Barnett said. But lately, the prices have begun creeping slowly upward, a positive sign, he said.
"We're operating the same way. Thank God the market has changed. You never make money at it, you just try to offset it," Barnett said.
In many ways, the trash sites are even an indicator of economic health.
"You can tell the economy by your trash," he said. "When the economy's bad, they can't afford to buy the new things, they can't afford to throw the old things away."
Based on what he is seeing, the economy may be on the upswing. However, another indicator may have demonstrated the opposite. The county recently had a poorly attended cleanup day, free to taxpayers, when the transfer stations were open to the public for disposal.
However, wooden pallets are not being accepted for recycling because of a lack of companies will to handle them.
Counties are no longer allowed to dispose of oil filters. Duplin County has ordered state of the art bins, not barrels, to collect and later recycle the filters. The bins will be purchased using taxpayer money, but in the meantime, the waste sites are using barrels temporarily. Businesses are entirely banned from using the county sites for the filters.
Farmers, though, can still use the sites for now -- at least until commissioners make a final decision on their use of transfer stations.