- City Council members in Raleigh, NC want to see a 50% diversion rate from landfills by 2020, but are hesitant to make recycling mandatory, as reported by The News & Observer. In 2014, the city's diversion rate was 36% and 39% of refuse collected was found to be recyclable.
- Proposed solutions include handing out more educational materials, getting larger recycling containers for multi-unit buildings and training building managers on separation guidelines. Roughly 14% of the city's apartment and condo buildings don't offer recycling to residents.
- The council is also considering a change to city code that would let private companies do curbside collection of textiles for recycling.
Raleigh has considered a pay-as-you-throw system in the past, but the idea didn't gain traction. Increased education could help, though if recycling isn't available or convenient for residents of multi-unit complexes, that may not be enough. Many other cities — such as Denver, Toronto and Detroit — have also experienced challenges with multi-unit recycling and are looking for their own solutions.
Implementing curbside textile collection may not lead to a significant increase in diversion rates but it will make a difference and could also help raise overall awareness about recycling. Austin, TX will launch its own curbside textile program next month in an effort to keep thousands of tons of the material out of its landfills each year.
On a state level, North Carolina has made progress decreasing its per capita waste generation in recent years. The state is one of two that have joined the Wrap Action Recycling Program to boost plastic film diversion so far and also has a large amount of available processing capacity for organic waste. While the concept of a mandate may not be popular locally, the state is primed for more recycling and would benefit from increased participation in its second-largest city.