Recycling Works Newsletter Fall 2019

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 2019 Recycling Works issue:

Clear Path Recycling Upgrades Bottle Wash to Expand PET Recycling Capacity

Funding from the 2019 Recycling Business Development grant program helped Clear Path Recycling modernize the bottle wash stage of its Fayetteville facility, allowing the company to increase its recycling of PET bottles annually. The modernization included the purchase of a new custom-designed wash trommel to replace two aging trommels. The company re-engineered the feed system to and from the new trommel to further improve efficiency and maximize throughput. Grant funding was used to help purchase a conveyor belt and vibrating screen as part of the redesigned infeed system.   

Clear Path Recycling, LLC was created in 2010 as a joint venture between Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, and DAK Americas, the largest PET resin producer in the Americas and the second largest Polyester Staple Fiber producer in the Americas. The Clear Path Recycling upgrade this summer allows the company to process higher volumes of waste bottles through the facility and buy more locally generated plastic waste to meet the increasing demand for recycled PET in North Carolina. The majority of recycled PET flake produced by Clear Path Recycling is used as feedstock in the production of flooring, fibers and resins. 

Applications for 2020 Recycling Business Development Grant projects are being accepted now through Nov. 14.  

Carolinas Plastics Recycling Event

The Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council (CPRC) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) are partnering to host an industry-focused event on Nov. 7-8 in Ft. Mill, S.C. The first day will feature tours of Sun Fiber, an international manufacturer of PET staple fiber fill, and WEIMA, an international manufacturer of industrial shredders and briquetting presses. The second day will feature networking and presentations on plastics identification, processing technology, chemical recycling, market trends and end uses. 

The CPRC/ISRI event is open to recycling professionals, haulers, collectors, plastics processors and recyclers, end-users, material recovery facilities (MRFs), recycling equipment sales, and other related organizations who supply, produce or use recycled plastic materials. This is a great opportunity to network with new contacts, renew friendships with peers and learn from experienced veterans to improve efficiency and profitability. Register at:

Recycle Right NC Campaign is helping residents be 'cart smart'

In early September, the Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service’s Recycling Program, along with 215 local governments across the state, launched the Recycle Right NC campaign.  The 10-week public education campaign is designed to encourage North Carolinians to recycle right by knowing which items are recyclable and which items go in the trash bin. 

The goal is to recover more valuable materials like cans, bottles, paper and cardboard while reducing the amount of non-recyclables in the recycling bin to maximize economic and environmental benefits to the state.

“Recycling is not simply an environmental endeavor,” said DEACS Recycling Section Chief Wendy Worley. “The recycling industry employs more than 16,000 North Carolinians in private sector jobs alone. These companies prepare and supply recyclables to manufacturers who rely on receiving clean, high-quality materials to make new products.”

Since its launch, the DEACS Recycle More NC page on Facebook has reached more than 600,000 people and has generated almost 20,000 responses, likes or shares. Communities across the state have been sharing the Facebook posts and getting involved with their residents directly. In addition to social media work, local governments have been involved with the media to highlight positive recycling stories. Haywood, Greene and Brunswick counties passed Council resolutions in support of the campaign.

Working with local government partners, the campaign aims to clean up the recycling stream to create a more resilient recycling industry, conserve North Carolina’s natural resources and boost the local economy. Collective outreach with consistent messaging across the state will help reduce confusion and give residents confidence that North Carolina is and continues to be a leader in recycling.

2019 Recycling Economic Impact Report 

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) released the 2019 Economic Impact Study Executive Summary highlighting the significant economic and environmental impact of the United States’ recycling industry. 

The economic analysis shows that the scrap recycling industry is a major economic engine powerful enough to create 531,510 jobs, generate nearly $110 billion in economic activity and provide $12.9 billion in tax revenues for governments across the country – while protecting the earth’s air, water and land for future generations. 

Joe Pickard, chief economist, states in a press release from ISRI that “the recycling industry continues to power America’s manufacturing base, creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and proving valuable feedstock for new products.

“In the U.S., we continue to process more material into valuable commodities, 70 percent of which is used right here by American manufacturers. With the innovation and new technologies coming online, this trend is expected to continue upward,” Pickard adds.

The study identifies direct and indirect economic impacts and allows users to break down impacts at the national, state and congressional district levels. The analysis shows North Carolina’s scrap recycling industry accounting for 15,909 jobs with wages of more than $850 million and generating $3.1 billion in economic impact. 

The study defines the scrap recycling industry as firms in the private sector involved in the processing and brokerage of scrap metals, plastics, rubber, paper, textiles, glass and electronics. The study does not include impacts from the recycling of construction and demolition debris, organic materials, or hazardous or special wastes. 

Accepting Applications for 2020 Recycling Business Development Grants

The RBAC seeks viable, well-planned proposals that divert materials from the waste stream and create jobs from recycling businesses and nonprofit organizations for the 2020 Recycling Business Development Grant cycle. Applications are due at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

Funding priority this year will be considered for projects that involve:

  • Single-stream material recovery facility upgrades;
  • Plastics (non-bottle) recycling processing;
  • Fiber (other than newsprint or office paper) recycling processing;
  • Use of priority plastics or fiber in recycled product manufacturing; or
  • Glass container recycling processing. 

Applicants can request up to $60,000 for priority projects or up to $40,000 for any project that does not fall into a priority category. All grants require a 50 percent match from the applicant. 

Contact Sandy Skolochenko at 919-707-8147 or Mike Greene at 919-707-8137 to learn more. Visit for grant application materials.

DEACS Annual Report

The Recycling Business Assistance Center is housed in DEACS, which released its inaugural annual report this summer that highlights its work with a diverse set of clients to achieve positive results for North Carolina's environment and economy. Read the report here:

Announcements and Opportunities

  • Oct. 31: Using More PCR webinar from the Association of Plastics Recyclers. – This session will provide an in-depth overview of how to incorporate postconsumer recycled content (PCR) into packaging, how to source and reduce costs of PCR, as well as a summary of Walmart’s PCR goals and feasible PCR percentage by packaging format.  

  • Dec. 10: Carolinas Glass Recycling Summit hosted by Strategic Materials, DEACS and the Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) will be held at the Strategic Materials facility in Wilson, N.C. The summit will include a tour of the facility along with presentations and conversations about recycled glass end markets, collection ideas, success stories and available grant programs.

  • Jan. 28-31: Compost 2020 in Charleston, S.C. will offer three days of learning and networking with the U.S. Compost Council. Meet businesses, government leaders and organizations who lead the industry in compost production, healthy soil and climate change mitigation. The three-day conference will offer dozens of workshops on policy, operations and program planning and a trade show featuring organics recycling equipment, products and services. 

The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) is a program of the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) that provides technical, business and financial assistance to recycling companies.