FAQ: Curbside Recycling

 

Why is the Town of Leland considering ending its curbside recycling program?

The Town’s current contract with its curbside recycling provider, Green For Life Environmental, Inc. (GFL), is set to expire June 30, 2020, and thus the Town must now consider its options for recycling moving forward.

Leland Town Council and staff certainly value and support conservation efforts. However, the current state of recycling in our area and nationwide is a largely ineffective and costly way of doing so, since much of the material intended for recycling ends up in the landfill.

Considering the problems with recycling, the cost - particularly in smaller towns and municipalities – outweighs the benefit. The Town spent approximately $389,000 on its curbside recycling program in fiscal year 2016-17. That figure has grown to just over $571,000 in the current (2019-20) fiscal year. Next year (2020-21), costs are expected to rise more than 21 percent to $723,389, or nearly double from just four years ago, with additional increases likely in the future. Since the Town includes the costs of curbside recycling in the tax rate, this increase would need to be accounted for in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget.

 

Do metropolitan areas have the same issues with recycling?

Recycling is a challenge to big cities and small towns across the country and around the world. Despite well-meaning efforts by citizens and governing bodies across the globe, literal tons of recyclables wind up being dumped in landfills - and even oceans - each year for a variety of reasons including improper disposal of recyclable materials in residential bins to ongoing difficulties caused by disruptions in China’s global recycling industry.

In fact, recent studies indicate that only about 9 percent of plastic is recycled worldwide. Additionally, the contamination rate of recyclables in America is currently 25 percent, according to waste management experts. This means that 1 of every 4 items placed in a curbside recycling bin is actually not recyclable. 

 

If the Town discontinues Town-funded curbside recycling, what alternative options will be available to me?

The Town’s current contract with GFL runs through the end of June, and thus regular curbside recycling service would continue as-is until July 1, 2020.

Individual curbside pickup

If the Town-funded recycling program does end, residents will be able to continue curbside service with GFL directly starting July 1, 2020. This can be set up by signing up for an annual subscription service through GFL. The current cost of this service is $11.73 per month, which equates to $140.76 per year, billed annually in advance by GFL.

If Leland discontinues Town-funded curbside recycling, GFL will create a dedicated website for customers to sign up for the annual subscription service. You will be able to visit the site and sign up in advance, so there will be no disruption in service.

Community/neighborhood pickup

Communities and HOAs will be able to receive a discounted rate if they choose to have the entire community serviced by GFL. HOAs would need to contact GFL to arrange for this contracted service.

Drop-off facilities

If you still wish to recycle but do not want to pay for curbside removal, Brunswick County provides the following free recycling drop-off locations in the Leland area:

  • Leland Convenience Center - 9921 Chappell Loop Rd.
  • Northwest Park - 1937 Andrew Jackson Hwy. NE
  • Leland Community Park - 1490 Village Rd., Leland
  • Town Creek District Park - 6420 Ocean Hwy. E (Hwy. 17)

 

If the Town-funded curbside recycling program is ended, how will the Town use the money it saves?

While the 2020-21 fiscal year budget has not yet been adopted, staff and Council are considering utilizing those funds for capital improvement projects, namely, construction of Sturgeon Creek Park and improvements to Founders Park.