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Recycling Right in Mecklenburg County

Learn about how to recycle right in Mecklenburg County by watching Laurie Martin on Charlotte Today. (December 2019)

by Laurie Martin

Recycling has proven to be an important part of our city.  It creates jobs, helps protect the environment, reduces pollution, and saves on landfill space.

However, the market demands have changed over the years which is why there has been some confusion on what can and can’t be recycled here in Mecklenburg County.  

Sadly, a lot of people are recycling the wrong way in hopes that what they put in their recycle bin will be recycled.  This is called WISHFUL RECYCLING and it is actually very costly.  

Recycling the wrong way:  

  1. Slows down production.
  2. Damages equipment-Last year someone recycled a metal rod that broke the machine and cost our county $32,000. 
  3. Contaminates loads-If a load is contaminated, it likely will end up in the landfill.
  4. Impacts the workers-There are about 50 workers picking through items on conveyer belt so please do not put any sharps/needles, diapers, or food in your recycle can.

Understanding what you can and cannot recycle is really important.

Please Recycle Please DO NOT Recycle
Aerosol cans-empty
Aluminum cans
Glass-ONLY jars with lids, beer bottles-do not put caps in recycling-they are too small and might get mixed in with glass.
Paper-junk mail, magazines, phone books, children’s artwork, post it notes, paperback books, toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls
Plastic bottles-with necks.  The ONLY plastic that can be recycled is if the neck/top is smaller than the base. 
Steel cans-only from kitchen
Cardboard-cereal boxes, Kleenex boxes, pizza boxes as long as there is no food or grease in them
Batteries-Take to Home Depot/Lowes
Bubble wrap
Christmas lights
Garden hoses
Kleenex/paper towels/toilet paper
Metal hangers
Metal Nails
Paper plates/napkins
Pill bottles-too small-goes to glass
Plastic bags-take to Grocery Store
Plastic cutlery
Plastic cups
Peanut cans
Plastic fruit containers
Propane tanks
Scrap metal
Sharps/Syringes-Put in a bottle/can
Shredded paper-confetti

The following items can be taken to a FULL SERVICE RECYCLING CENTER

  • Aluminum foil-it 2D flattens easily and contaminates the paper.
  • Car Parts 
  • Electronics
  • Light Bulbs
  • Metal Hangers
  • Metal Nails
  • Propane Tanks
  • Scrap Metal

To learn more about Mecklenburg County’s Recycling program:

Great Recycling Article

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