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October 7, 2015



The National Recycling Coalition, a non-profit organization focused on promoting and enhancing recycling across the United States, has named Catawba County’s recycling program and EcoComplex as the winner of its 2015 Outstanding Community or Government Program Award.

Amanda Kain, Catawba County Recycling Coordinator, received the award on September 30 at the annual Resource Recycling Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Catawba County has ranked first in North Carolina in the amount of material recycled, per person, over three of the last four years. For Fiscal Year 2013-2014, Catawba County averaged 507.55 pounds recycled, per person.

“Recycling and being kind to the environment is the way of life for many Catawbans, but it’s also about the local government’s commitment to environmental sustainability that contributes to the program’s overall success,” said David Freeman, a member of the National Recycling Coalition’s Board of Directors as he presented the award. “From the many recycling programs offered throughout the county to its innovative EcoComplex and Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility, Catawba County continues to be a leader in recycling, waste reduction and solid waste management! Being a sustainable program…an innovative twist on recycling and solid waste management…Catawba County’s EcoComplex components continue to evolve to meet the goal of developing a system that will recover useable products and by-products from private and public partners that will work together to use each other’s waste products either as a source of energy or as a raw material for the manufacture of their own product.”

“We are very pleased to win this award 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. “In Catawba County, we give citizens and business an incentive to recycle by employing an overall ‘pay-as-you-throw’ program. Recycling is not enforced by penalty or through a tax. Fees charged for trash disposal at the Resource Recovery Facility or convenience centers are based on weight and/or per bag, and recycling is free! Our Solid Waste Franchise Agreement provides another incentive to recycle because those residents who do recycle at curbside receive a discounted rate. Our motto is ‘If you don’t want to pay, don’t throw it away! Recycle or Reuse!”

Kain said a broad set of recycling-based initiatives helped Catawba County earn this award. In addition to the county-wide collection of recyclable material, and the EcoComplex, Republic Services operates a fully automated Materials Recovery Facility, or MRF, where equipment separates recyclables and processes them into marketable commodities. The County also began a Commercial Recycling and Waste Reduction Partnership in Fiscal Year 2008-2009.

Another contributing factor to Catawba County’s recycling success is the year-round collection of electronics, paint and asphalt roofing shingles at the Blackburn Landfill, whenever the Landfill is open, begun in 2013.

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