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 Winter/Spring 2017 Recycling Works issue:

2017 RBAC Grant Awards Spur Private Investment

State recycling business grants awarded this spring are expected to generate about 39 jobs, spur more than $1.4 million in new, private business investments and further reduce the state’s dependence on landfill disposal.

Twenty-six companies that collect, process and manufacture new products with recycled materials will receive more than $550,000 in funds from N.C. DEQ’s Recycling Business Assistance Center in 2017. Grants will support food recovery, food waste collection and composting processing capacity, upgrades to material recovery facilities, and recycling processing and end-use market capacity for a variety of other materials.

Additional information about the Recycling Business Development Grant Program and the 2017 awards can be found here. For questions, please contact RBAC Manager Wendy Worley at 919-707-8136 or

Recycle Better: Two NC MRFs Invest in Glass Processing Improvements

With grant support from the Recycling Business Assistance Center and the Glass Packaging Institute, two North Carolina material recovery facilities made significant capital investments in 2016 to modify their glass processing systems to improve glass quality and production efficiency. 

In the fall, Sonoco Recycling of Raleigh reconfigured its processing line by relocating and installing a glass-breaker screen and adding an OCC screen. The project helped increase overall annual processing capacity at the MRF by an estimated 15,000 tons. Sonoco has already observed less wear on rubber discs and belts and reduced cross-contamination of multiple grades of paper and plastic. Preliminary data indicates that total glass recovery in the system has also increased.  A photo depicting the installation of Sonoco's glass-breaker screen can be seen below.

Similarly, American Recycling of Western North Carolina in Candler replaced its glass breaker with a larger, more efficient model and installed a glass screening line to improve the quality of glass yield from single-stream collection. American also installed new glass bunkers to store source-separated glass.  These facility improvements have allowed American to increase the volume of glass produced by an additional 100 tons of glass per month. Further, American is now receiving a better price for its higher quality glass cullet. 

These two success stories illustrate that strategic investments in glass handling at MRFs can increase overall processing capacity, improve the yield of recyclables, raise production efficiency, and enhance the quality of the recycled glass for market. The projects also demonstrate the potential benefits of partnerships between the glass industry, MRFs and state recycling programs to address glass issues in single stream processing.

For more information, contact RBAC Manager Wendy Worley at 919-707-8136 or

Sonocco Raleigh Glass Breaker

New River Tire Recovers, Grows

In what could have been a devastating turn of events, New River Tire Recycling of Pilot Mountain has fully recovered from a fire at the company’s recycling facility last year.

The fire started around 1 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2016, and burned for several days. Although there was damage to the roof and one wall, the fire primarily affected the loading area that held tires waiting to be processed. The fire was ruled to be arson and is unsolved at this time. Service to local government and corporate customers continued uninterrupted during the recovery process.

Facility repairs and improvements have led to a more effective operation. In replacing the only piece of damaged equipment, a newer tire grinder has allowed New River to increase its processing capacity.

According to New River Tire’s owner, Ben Bryant: “The fire was the hardest thing we have been through as a business. Thankfully, the determination and extremely hard work of my team resulted in New River Tire Recycling bouncing back to be better than ever.”

Construction Drywall Finds Second Life as Soil Amendment with A.L. Baucom Farms 

A.L. Baucom Family Farms has partnered with Mecklenburg County to divert clean drywall construction waste from disposal, using the material instead as a valuable soil amendment in its local farming operations. Mecklenburg County’s Foxhole Landfill and Recycling Center receives, grinds and screens the drywall into a “spread-able” agricultural product. A.L. Baucom, a third generation family farm in Monroe, picks up the finished recycled gypsum product for direct land application to grow a wide variety of crops, including corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, strawberries, squash, cucumbers and other seasonal produce. Utilizing more than 7,000 tons per year of the locally-sourced recycled drywall, the farm is able to replace nearly all (95.5%) of its expected annual need for virgin ag gypsum. With its experience in determining a utilization rate of the recycled drywall and its success in partnering with a local C&D operation, this effort can serve as a model for other farms to source and use recycled gypsum.

For more information, contact RBAC Manager Wendy Worley at 919-707-8136 or

Farm Tractor Pulling Dirt

NC Challenge: Expand Food Waste Haulers

North Carolina is fortunate to enjoy a geographically widespread and growing infrastructure able to process food waste in a regenerative manner. One of the state’s next challenges is to expand the collection infrastructure to move food waste from generators to these processors. 

A core set of companies, some connected directly to composting operations, have been spearheading food waste collection for years, some for more than a decade. These food waste haulers move anywhere from 1-2 tons per week of food waste to more than 200 tons per week. Haulers’ pickup locations include corporate cafeterias, grocery stores, residences, schools, universities, hospitals and factories, within 100 miles of their drop off locations. Some collectors have about 100 accounts while others have more than 800.

However, for the state to meet its food waste diversion goals, the collection infrastructure needs to grow. Some areas of the state lack access to these services and some potential food-diverting sectors are underserved. For example, the only areas with access to residential food waste collection are downtown Charlotte and the Triangle. 

Food waste generators can play a vital role in helping build this infrastructure by seeking and using food waste collection services. If you generate commercial or institutional food waste and would like to learn who can haul it to a processor, please visit the NC Organic’s Recycling Program website on the topic.

Announcements & Opportunities

  • RBAC Welcomes New Team Member The Recycling Business Assistance Center is pleased to welcome Sandy Skolochenko to its team. Sandy is transitioning from her former role within the Recycling and Materials Management Section as the state agency recycling coordinator and as part of the Local Government Assistance Team. Her experience in working with public programs, including her previous time as Chatham County’s recycling coordinator, brings an important perspective to RBAC on how those programs rely on and work with markets. With the RBAC, Sandy will oversee the Recycling Markets Directory, administer grants, and take responsibility for a range of technical issues affecting the state recycling economy.

  • CRA's New Executive Director  RBAC congratulates Mary McClellan on her new position as the executive director of the Carolina Recycling Association. Mary brings many years of experience in the public and private sectors of the recycling industry to her new role. See the full story at the CRA website.

  • 2017 CRA Conference The Carolina Recycling Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Trade Show will take place March 27-30 at the Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C. This conference is regularly attended by more than 500 recycling professionals from North and South Carolina, as well as diff​erent parts of the Southeast.  In addition to sessions covering a wide range of current recycling topics, the conference will feature a large exhibit hall with many different kinds of vendors and plenty of opportunities to network and do business. For more information, including sponsorship and exhibiting details, please visit the CRA website.

  • 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.