Recycling Works Newsletter

RBAC's quarterly newsletter discusses current topics of interest to recycling businesses, including information on financing opportunities, commodity markets and new technologies.

In the Fall 2016 Recycling Works issue:

Unifi Opens PET Bottle Processing Plant

On Sept. 7, 2016, Unifi officially cut the ribbon at its new, $28 million PET bottle processing facility in Reidsville, N.C. The operation allows Unifi to directly source PET bales from materials recovery facilities (MRFs), complementing and supporting the company’s PET recycled content Repreve yarn manufacturing plant in Yadkinville. Repreve is used by a wide variety of brand name companies, including Patagonia, Ford and Haggar.  Increased demand for Repreve helped lead Unifi to vertically integrate into direct bottle sourcing. 

The recent Unifi investments in Reidsville and Yadkinville, along with other substantial plastic bottle processing capacity in the state, underscore the importance of North Carolina’s plastic bottle disposal ban and the need to recover more of the material in local government and private collection programs. To see Unifi’s new system in action, click on the video below.


3rd Annual Recycling Business Connections Event a Success for Recyclers in the Carolinas

The 3rd annual Recycling Business Connections networking event took place on Oct. 5, 2016, at the Big Chill in Charlotte. The event, which is hosted by the Carolina Recycling Association with the N.C. Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) and the S.C. Department of Commerce, attracted more than 100 participants representing a full spectrum of recycling companies from the Carolinas and the Southeast.

The networking portion of the evening, best described as “speed dating” for recycling businesses, gave participants the opportunity to meet a large number of contacts in one place. Jeff Miller, president of Foothills Sanitation and Recycling in North Wilkesboro, said that the concept was a great way for small businesses to find new connections in the industry. He added: “We met several new possibilities to market to in addition to getting new ideas on equipment.” 

The event was sponsored this year by Company Wrench, Metaltech Systems, Cleanlites Recycling, Cox Recovery, Ice Recycling, Lighting Resources and Republic Services.

New Recycling Campaign Aims for Increase in Plastic Bags and Wraps in Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County and Charlotte City officials recently kicked off a new campaign to increase recycling of plastic bags and wraps, noting that a survey finds most people in Mecklenburg County are not yet aware of where and what to recycle. The campaign is part of Mecklenburg County’s WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Project), an innovative public/private partnership that promotes recycling of plastic film beyond bags.

As part of his remarks at the kickoff event, Mecklenburg County Chairman Trevor M. Fuller put the need for increased film recycling into context, offering, “When plastic bags or wraps are put in curbside bins, it makes recycling more difficult, time consuming and expensive, which winds up costing all of us more money. Recycling plastic bags and wraps at participating retailers diverts materials from the landfill and creates useful new products so we are asking all of Mecklenburg County to spread the message, pitch in, and recycle plastic bags and wraps by taking them back to participating retail stores.” 

For more information on the WRAP campaign including a list of participating retailers in Mecklenburg County, visit

McGill Compost Celebrates 25 Years

Last summer, McGill Compost celebrated serving North Carolina with composting solutions for 25 years. Through two facilities in Chatham and Sampson counties, McGill is able to receive materials from a large region of the state. Both McGill sites are N.C. Department of Environmental Quality-permitted Type 4 composting facilities that use a proprietary aerated and automated composting technology. McGill is able to process yard waste, pallets, gypsum board, biosolids, grease trap, pre- and post-consumer food waste, industrial food manufacturing byproducts, animal manures, slurries and more. The company also has a composting facility in Virginia and two in Ireland, and it operates a public-private facility in Florida. For more details, please visit the McGill website.

Stanley Environmental and Earth Farms Organics Acquired

Charlotte-based Stanley Environmental and Earth Farms Organics have both been acquired by Massachusetts-based Wind River Environmental (WRE). Stanley Environmental has been providing septage and grease trap services to much of the state since its founding in the early 1970s. Earth Farms Organics, a N.C. DEQ Type 3 composting facility using windrow composting, has been providing composting services since 2006. The company’s operation in Gaston County can process yard waste, pre- and post-consumer food waste, grease trap, industrial food manufacturing byproducts, animal manures, slurries and a range of other organic materials. While WRE has been acquiring other related companies since 1999, Earth Farms Organics is the first composting facility that it acquired. 

Announcements & Opportunities

  • Register Today: Carpet Recovery Coalition and Carolina Plastics Recycling Council Meetings

    North Carolina and South Carolina businesses and local governments are invited to attend South Carolina’s Carpet Recovery Coalition annual meeting on Nov. 3, 2016 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. N.C. DEQ is helping  organize the meeting, which will provide updates on carpet recycling markets and initiatives. 

    Additionally, businesses and local government representatives are also invited to attend a meeting of the joint NC/SC Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council (CPRC) on Nov. 4, 2016 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The CPRC meeting will focus on market updates and new developments in plastic recycling in the Carolinas.

    Both meetings will be held at Winthrop University's DiGiorgio Campus Center Richardson Ballroom, located on Alumni Drive in Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte. A networking reception will be held on Thursday for attendees following Carpet meeting from 3:30-6:30 pm. Register today for either or both events!

  • Free Online Safety Training

    Safety is an increasingly important issue for recycling companies. Waste360 University is offering free access to their new Safety Collection Sessions. These courses are designed to help businesses in the waste and recycling industry stay current on safety-related best practices, current technologies and tips on building a culture of safety. Choose from the topics below to take advantage of this free online tool.

  • Marketing Commodities for Free via NC WasteTrader

    North Carolina recyclers are reminded to check and use NC WasteTrader, a no-cost, online waste exchange for recyclable and reusable materials that might otherwise be discarded in landfills or disposed of inappropriately. Businesses, industries, recycling companies, waste haulers, local governments, institutions and other commercial generators of waste commodities can visit NC WasteTrader to list available and wanted materials, and search for potential new feedstocks. For further information and assistance, contact Tom Rhodes at 919-707-8140.