Monday, October 19, 2009

North Carolina Takes A Stand!

A few weeks ago, North Carolina banned plastic bottles from their landfills. Yeah! This is great news that will hopefully propel other states to take the same action.

What is behind the ban? It's simple - North Carolina wants to up their recycling. They have a statewide goal of recycling 2 million tons of stuff by 2012. They currently recycle 1.3 million tons so they have quite a lot of work to do and that's where the ban comes in. In a state where only one in five plastic bottles gets recycled, this ban will be a great help.

Having a ban is great, but how will they enforce it? This is always the hard part. It's one thing to say you're going to do something and another thing to actually do it. The ban will be enforced at disposal facilities such as landfills and transfer stations by the N.C. Division of Waste Management. Enforcement will not take place at the actual point of disposal, like homes and businesses, so everyone will have to do their part to ensure that plastic bottles don't end up where they don't belong. Since most garbage is placed in bags prior to being picked up for disposal, I wonder how physically the ban will be enacted. Will the disposal facilities rip open every bag looking for plastic bottles? I think not.

So with all those plastic bottles getting recycled instead of landfilled, what is North Carolina going to do with them? Great question! They are building the nation's largest facility to recycle PET bottles (PET is most commonly used to create water and soda bottles). When completed, the facility will be able to process 280 million pounds of material per year and one of their primary partners will be carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group. Shaw will turn recycled PET into polyester for use in carpeting. How cool is that? DAK Americas is also a partner in the recycling venture and they will sell their shares on the open market. The joint venture, Clear Path Recycling, brings together the world's largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw and the second largest PET resin and largest Polyester Staple Fiber producer in the Americas, DAK.

So how big of an impact will recycling 280 million pounds of plastic bottles have on the environment? Would you believe that more than 1 million cubic yards per year of landfill space will be conserved? It's true. That's a lot of space. Also, the energy savings related to the Clear Path Recycling operation is equal to enough energy to power 18,000 U.S. homes for a year. Approximately 100 jobs will also be created and that's really great news.

There are so many ways to use recycled materials. I'm glad that manufacturers are getting creative and starting to use them. By saving precious resources and using what is already available, the cost savings to manufacturers really adds up. The cost savings to Mother Earth is huge as well and she appreciates every little bit she gets.


Paula - PAPugMom said...

That is wonderful news!

I would think they are not going to check every bag either, maybe can do something like if the plastic gets found or caught in one's garbage they would receive a fine that went up with each offense. May not solve all but would make them think twice about it.

I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for this info.

THE PUGLET said...

Good for NC! I think every little bit helps. Maybe everyone will buy one of those cool-foldy bottles you blogged about!

San Fran banned plastic bags last year. Everyone moaned at first but soon got used to it.

I wrote a thingy once about how easy it is to be green. You might be interested?

Sandra y Coco said...

Hi Stubby!
This is a great initiative towards getting our planet earth cleaner. But we also think this needs to be a much broad plan, to include many more phases of trash disposal.

Stubby said...

Hi Paula! I'm sure they've figured out how to police the ban but I couldn't find the details anywhere. I sure wish they would ban plastic bottles from our landfills here because I'm sure there are millions in there taking up space.

I'm so glad you enjoy my posts. Thanks for being my friend.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! You are right that every little bit helps. I hope that people do buy the foldy bottles or any other reusable bottle. There's really no need to drink bottled water here in the U.S.

You guys are so lucky to have such a progressive mayor in Gavin Newsome. People in California are much more open to alternative ideas than people in the midwest.

I'm going to go read your post on how easy it is being green. Thanks for helping Mother Earth.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Coco! I agree with you that we need a much more broad plan to include all phases of trash disposal. It is hard to get people to change their way of thinking after doing things for so long.

Hopefully, other states will see what NC is doing and follow suit. Or maybe some states will begin even more creative initiatives.

Stubby xoxo

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
oh that is a wonderful program. i love it when people put their thinking caps on to solve a problem!

this will not only be great for NC, but a wonderful model for all the other states to adopt.

thanks for telling us about it! :)

Rachel said...

yay - I'm so proud of my home state! We use a water filter at home and reusable water bottles, so we try not to use water bottles at all, but some times they are necessary and it's good to hear NC has a plan for them.

dw said...

Hi there Stubby! I think this is a good thing that NC is doing. I know here in the city they are assessing a tax on plastic bottles to discourage people from buying them because so many were ending up in landfill and not being recycled. Anyway, it's nice to see someplace taking a stand and not wanting these things in the ground.

Oh, Stubby, I was looking hoping your mom might be able to help me a little bit in my search for a puggie of my own, since you guys aren't that far away! I was wondering if she knew of any little puggies that might be available in the area.

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! I;m sure Colorado is working on something similiar to this program because it is so progressive. You'll have to let me know if you hear anything about it.

I've had my thinking cap on for years and still haven't come up with much. Maybe I need to get a new cap.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Rachel! Yay for your home state! I'm hoping other states will follow along soon enough.

I'm glad you use reusable bottles when you can. Most of the time if you plan ahead you can avoid bottled water completely. All good things take time and planning.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi dw! I heard about city's tax on bottled water and I agree that it's a great idea. Maybe other towns or countys will do the same thing and spare our landfills.

Mom was looking on the other day (I don't know why) and she found lots of pugs in our area. There are a bunch in South Elgin that came from a puppy mill. Northern Illinois Pug Rescue also has a lot.

Stubby xoxo

Heather and Walter said...

This is incredible. Thank you for telling us, every state should be doing this!

Stubby said...

Hi Heather & Walter! Thanks for stopping by. I agree that every state should be doing this and hopefully it will catch on soon.

Stubby xoxo

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

we hope they come up with a univerasal plan soon. people need to be more accountable for keeping the earth clean. For some people it does not matter

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! I hope that they come up with a universal plan too but I have a feeling that it is going to be up to the states to make their own laws.

You are right that people need to be accountable for keep Mother Earth clean and I wish everyone cared like we do. We need to continue to spread the message and get everyone on board.

Stubby xoxo