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July 27, 2015

Catawba County has achieved the top ranking among all North Carolina counties in the amount of materials recycled, per person, according to information released recently by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR). This is the third year out of the last four in which Catawba County has ranked number one.

Catawba County ranked first in North Carolina for Fiscal Year 2013-2014, with 507.55 pounds recycled, per person. Pitt County ranked second with 470.90 pounds recycled, per person.

“We are very pleased to again have this distinction that reflects the dedicated efforts of Catawba County citizens, businesses (particularly Republic Services, the County’s solid waste franchisee), school systems and our cities and towns, who have made recycling a very high priority for more than two decades,” said Amanda Kain, Catawba County’s Waste Reduction Coordinator and Educator. “Catawba was the first county in the state to offer curbside recycling countywide way back in 1990, and we have made recycling a habit since then. The credit for this continuing achievement belongs to all of these groups that have worked in close partnership with Catawba County on recycling.”

Kain said a broad set of recycling-based initiatives in Catawba County led to the top ranking. In addition to the county-wide collection of recyclable material, the County operates an EcoComplex, designed to bring together businesses, located in a close area, that re-use each other’s waste streams. Republic Services operates a Materials Recovery Facility or MRF that separates recycled items from the general waste stream. The County also began a Commercial Recycling and Waste Reduction Partnership in Fiscal Year 2008-2009.

Another contributing factor in the top ranking is the year-round collection of electronics and asphalt roofing shingles at the Blackburn Landfill, whenever the Landfill is open, begun in 2013.

The EcoComplex is an innovative and interactive network of companies and operations that matches waste streams with the need for materials in the manufacturing of new products and energy sources. The on-site use of discarded materials in turn helps Catawba County achieve higher rates of recycling.

The Commercial Recycling and Waste Reduction Partnership Program is a free and voluntary partnership that encourages local businesses to take proactive steps to improve their environmental record while improving their bottom-line. The program recognizes businesses in Catawba County that operate in an environmentally friendly manner by practicing the 4R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, rebuy). More information about this program may be seen at

Republic Services’ Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) extracts approximately 4,000 tons of saleable commodities per month from the waste stream, about one-third from Catawba County and the rest from neighboring counties.

Recyclable commodities include all plastic bottles and containers (#1 – #7), wide-mouth plastic containers (including lids), rigid plastics, mixed paper, newspapers with inserts, junk mail, computer paper, office paper, color paper and envelopes, gift wrapping paper (without foil backing), magazines, telephone books, paperback books, cardboard, gift boxes and shoe boxes, core rolls from toilet paper and paper towels, pizza, cereal and food boxes (no food debris), milk and juice cartons and boxes (no liquid - all boxes should be flattened and placed into cart), aluminum cans, steel cans (including lids), aluminum foil (no food debris), glass bottles and jars (all colors), empty spray cans (no paint cans)

For more information on Catawba County’s recycling programs, you may contact the County’s Waste Reduction and Education office at 828-465-8127 or