County cuts what can be recycled

Locklear-Cummings Locklear-Cummings -

ST. PAULS — Robeson County’s seven refuse collection sites are accepting only plastic bottles in its recycling compactors, effective immediately, according to Kristina Locklear-Cummings, assistant director for recycling for Solid Waste.

Cardboard and paper will no longer be accepted for recycling except in large quantities from businesses and only at the Wire Grass Road site, Locklear-Cummings said. Aluminum and other metals will continue to be collected in a separate bin.

Plastic bottle recycling will be limited to Nos. 1 and 2. Glass bottles and other glass have not been accepted for recycling for many months.

“Recycling markets are so volatile right now,” Locklear-Cummings said. “We are transitioning with these markets.”

China’s so-called “Green Fence” policy resulted in that country’s refusal to accept large quantities of paper and plastic, and its requirements for better sorting and cleaner material have thrown U.S. recycling markets into chaos. China is the world’s largest processor of recycled materials.

“We were making a lot of progress in recycling,” Locklear-Cummings said. “We want to do the right thing, and recycling is the right thing.”

Robeson County sends its recyclables to a Fayetteville company.

“We were getting paid for plastic,” Locklear-Cummings said. “Then, they accepted plastic but did not pay, and now they are charging a handling fee.”

The cost in recycling is in the sorting, some of which can be done without human hands. In the case of plastic, the more rigid plastic containers with higher numbers, which have to be processed separately, must be separated by hand.

Prices for paper and cardboard are also depressed, but Robeson County will continue to accept them. However, it will be at the Wire Grass Road site only in the future. Businesses with large quantities may obtain more information by calling 910-865-3348.

Robeson County’s seven collection sites are located at Sanchez Road, Morgan J Road, Prospect Road, Moss Neck Road, Lowe Road, Ivey Road and King Tuck Road.

Last year, the city of Lumberton urged its residents to be more careful in what they deposited in recycling bins, saying that the entire recycling program was at risk because of contamination of the bins.