Recycling Works Newsletter Spring 2021

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 2021 Recycling Works issue:

2021 Recycling Business Development Grants

State recycling business grants awarded this spring are expected to generate approximately 108 jobs, more than $1.3 million in new, private business investments and a reduction in the state’s dependence on landfill disposal.

Sixteen companies that collect, process and manufacture new products with recycled materials will receive a total of more than $490,000 in funds from N.C. DEQ’s Recycling Business Assistance Center in 2021. Grants will support increases in plastic processing capacity, upgrades to material recovery facilities, and improved markets for a variety of other recyclables. 

Read the press release.

Carolina Recycling Association Conference

The Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) will hold its virtual conference May 3-6. The first day, May 3, will include workshops and council meetings. Virtual networking events, plenary sessions, and breakout sessions are scheduled for the rest of the week. 

Register at:

CRA Grant Opportunity 

CRA announced it will be offering grants for the printing and distribution of recycling outreach materials in rural and small communities. Applicants can request up to $11,200 in grant funding per community. Resource Recycling System Consultants Matt Todd and Sherry Yarkosky will manage the grant program roll-out for the CRA. The program's goal is to reduce contamination and increase recycling participation in rural communities.

Private or nonprofit haulers that provide recycling collection services to rural communities with populations less than 10,000 are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 14, 2021.

Apply online:

Biocycle Features North Carolina State of Organics

The North Carolina Organics Recycling Study 2020 was featured in a recent article published by Biocycle, a national authority on organics recycling. The article provides a summary of data from the study and highlights opportunities to increase the diversion of organic material thanks to available permitting capacity and growing interest in food waste diversion from the public and private sector. 

Read the Biocycle article. 

Recent MRF Upgrades













Optical sorter at Waste Management's new Morrisville facility

North Carolina’s infrastructure of material recovery facilities (MRFs) is continually improving with a number of recent facility upgrades:

  • Waste Management completed construction of a new MRF in Morrisville in late 2020. The $10-million-plus investment to build the state-of-the-art facility will double the company’s processing capacity in the Triangle region and create 35 new jobs. Waste Management received RBAC grant funding to help purchase its PET optical sorter.
  • Republic Greensboro completed a significant facility upgrade in April 2020, increasing recovery rates and improving productivity with a new 30 ton per hour system. 
  • Republic Conover received RBAC grant funding to purchase an optical sorter for removing contaminants from the fiber stream. Installed in 2020, the optical sorter has increased processing speed and reduced contamination in residential mixed paper to produce a higher quality and more marketable product.
  • Sonoco Recycling - Onslow also received RBAC grant funding to purchase an optical sorter for removing contaminants from the fiber stream. Installed in March 2021, the optical sorter has reduced contamination in the mixed paper stream to less than 2 percent. In addition to increasing overall material throughput, the equipment is projected to recover an additional 400 tons annually of non-fiber that was previously lost to mixed paper or trash streams.
  • Curbside Management in Asheville is a recent recipient of an aluminum beverage can capture grant provided by the Can Manufacturer Institute. Grant funding will help replace the existing eddy current with a state-of-the-art eddy current that can more effectively sort aluminum packaging at the volume flowing through the facility. Grant funding is still available, with an application deadline of May 11.  
  • American Recycling in Candler has completed and continues to pursue a series of facility upgrades, including:
    • Installed a new baler in 2020 with the help of RBAC grant funding to keep up with current volumes and allow for expansion to process an additional 1500 tons of single stream recycling and mixed plastics annually.
    • Constructing a new dock and drop-off location with RBAC grant funding to launch the Western N.C. Brewery Recycling Co-operative. More than 80 breweries will be able to drop-off brewery-specific recyclable materials including polypropylene bags and supersacks, plastic film and strapping as well as cardboard and recyclable beverage containers. 
    • Purchasing an optical sorter to capture polypropylene plastic containers for recycling with grant support from RBAC and The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition.  
  • East Carolina Vocational Center in Greenville installed a larger conveyor belt to increase baling capacity in January 2021. RBAC grant funds helped support the purchase, which allowed the facility to catch up on a backlog from additional recycling tonnage during COVID-19 and will improve efficiency of operations moving forward.

Sonoco Recycling is also investing in a related facility upgrade to increase the use of recycled fiber at its Hartsville, S.C. paper plant. The company is investing $83 million to convert an existing machine to produce uncoated recycled paperboard. The new machine will use 180,000 tons of recycled mixed paper and cardboard each year. 

Information about RBAC grant funding to support recycling investments can be found at:

Save the Date – Fall Events

As the nation works to determine best practices for conferences and public gatherings going forward, RBAC is planning events for the fall. In addition to a Carolina Plastics Recycling Coalition (CPRC) conference, the CRA is exploring best options for another Recycling Business Collections event. Stay tuned for news related to each event! 

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.