Recycling Works Newsletter Spring 2020

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

In the Spring 2020 Recycling Works issue:

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) offers its support to all businesses keeping North Carolina’s recycling infrastructure running as during the coronavirus pandemic. Please let the RBAC staff know if your operations have been impacted by this public health situation. RBAC staff are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. by phone or email to assist you with questions or concerns.

Business Relief Resources
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) Business Relief Resources provides information about federal and state relief, funding and support. 

Worker Safety
While essential services continue, operations must adapt to prioritize the safety of employees and reduce the potential for exposure to COVID-19. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Guidance to Help Recyclers Operate Safely offers a Safety Checklist for recycling operations and specific guidance for Truck Operations. Additional resources include: 

News and Information Sources
The following publications have dedicated pages to track COVID-19 updates and developments:

See Announcements and Opportunities for a list of upcoming and recorded webinars. Please contact the RBAC staff if you have other recommendations. 

Jobs Study Survey

Are you a North Carolina-based recycling hauler, processor, broker or manufacturer using recycled feedstock? RBAC needs your response to the 2020 N.C. Recycling Business Employment Survey

During this unprecedented pandemic situation, your response is critical to help measure and communicate the importance of recycling in growing the state's economy. The 2020 N.C. Recycling Business Employment Survey will help determine how many people are employed by recycling businesses across the state. 

Responses are confidential and will be released as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Matt James at or by phone at 919-707-8133. The direct link to the survey is

2020 Recycling Business Development Grants Announced

State recycling business grants awarded this spring are expected to generate approximately 61 jobs, spur more than $2 million in new, private business investments and further reduce the state’s dependence on landfill disposal.

Twenty companies that collect, process and manufacture new products with recycled materials will receive more than $665,000 in funds from N.C. DEQ's Recycling Business Assistance Center in 2020. Grants will support increases in plastic processing capacity, upgrades to material recovery facilities, expansion of recycled end-product manufacturing capacity and recycling processing for a variety of other materials.

Read the Press Release.

Recycling is an Essential Service

The role of recycling as a critical supply chain component has become abundantly clear during the pandemic. Governor Cooper designated “solid waste and recycling collection and removal” as an essential service in the Stay at Home Order. At the national level, the Department of Homeland Security recognized industries that are part of the manufacturing supply chain as essential businesses. 

Below are testimonials from North Carolina recyclers about the critical roles they are fulfilling during the pandemic:

 “Continued operation of Sonoco Recycling’s plants is critical to the supply chain that delivers toilet tissue and paper towels to homes across North America--both critical needs during this battle against the Coronavirus.  Our paper mills use fiber supplied by Sonoco’s recycling plants to produce the lightweight paperboard used to make the cores onto which tissue and towel producers wrap their products.” – Patrick McDonald at Sonoco

“Strategic Materials is implementing new measures and continuing to expand on our response to the COVID19 pandemic at our operations and corporate level. Our North Carolina plants will operate without interruption until further notice or by direction from the State. Our primary partner is considered essential and manufactures glass containers used in food, medicine, and many other critical products. They depend on our cullet. A disruption to the glass supply chain into our NC plants will affect the products our essential partner can provide." – Thomas Syre at Strategic Materials

 “The post-consumer plastic containers that we process are converted into raw materials used by many of our customers in packaging for food, cleaning supplies and wellness products, all of which are critical to the health, safety and security needs of consumers.  As such, we play an important role in the supply chain, and we intend to maintain operations to keep our customers running so that they can manufacture packaging and products needed to keep our retailers stocked and our consumers supplied with the essential products they need to remain healthy and productive.” – Roberto Fontanillas at Envision

“So far during the COVID-19 crisis, we have provided 1000+ laptops to schools for at home learning, have been collecting and supplying used medical carts to one of the state’s largest healthcare systems, providing services to large utility companies, servicing healthcare systems by clearing room of obsolete IT hardware, and supplying and servicing a national airline with IT equipment for their work at home staff.  Electronics recyclers generate refurbished IT equipment, clear valuable operational space by the removal of obsolete equipment and offer secure data destruction. These services are vital to education, healthcare, and other industries as they are quickly adapting work space and making operational changes.” – Brett Henderson at Powerhouse

 “As a recycler and a mulch company, not only do we keep the supply lines from being bogged down by used or broken pallets, but we keep residuals from the forestry, lumber, home building, land clearing  and other wood use businesses from backing up and halting production.  Production can only happen when the residual stream is free moving.  The mulch products we make are not only used for home beautification, but we make several products that are used in the growing of home vegetable gardens and nurseries.” – Roger Seale at Kamlar

Announcements and Opportunities

  • May 21: What's New With Reducing & Recovering Wasted Food webinar by the Northeast Recycling Council and Northeast Waste Management Officials Association. 
  • May 27: Recycling Demand Champion Campaign: An Update webinar by The Association of Plastic Recyclers.
  • Jun. 2: Market Trends and Actions: Overview of Material Supply Chains and Learnings from S.C. webinar hosted by the Upcyclers Network. 
  • Jun. 9: N.C. Composting Council Annual Members Meeting will be conducted virtually over Zoom with four engaging speakers offering updates and examples of composting successes across the state. 
  • Jul. 8: Evolving Fiber Markets and Expanding Carton Recycling Access webinar hosted by the Upcyclers Network. 

Webinar Recordings

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.