Wednesday, November 15, 2023

DEQ Recognizes “America Recycles Day” and Highlights NC’s Circular Economy

Nov 15, 2023

RALEIGH – In recognition of America Recycles Day, DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser and members of the Secretary’s Circular Economy Council are highlighting the state’s recycling infrastructure with a focus on moving toward a more circular economy.

Today, the Secretary and Council members toured Powerhouse Recycling, which is developing North Carolina’s first dedicated solar panel recycling line. Earlier this month, they also toured two North Carolina manufacturers that rely on recycled materials to make new products. UNIFI in Yadkinville uses plastic bottles to create 100% recycled yarn for fabric and other textiles. Southeastern Container in Kings Mountain manufactures high-quality polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles for Coca-Cola beverage products. 

“North Carolina has an opportunity to ensure the state’s infrastructure and markets support productive use of end-of-life materials,” said Secretary Biser.  “These tours showcased ways companies are effectively using recycled materials to create new products and economic investment in North Carolina and advance a circular economy within our state.” 

Secretary Biser convened the Circular Economy Council in 2023 to identify ways to expand and accelerate beneficial impacts of recycling in the state.  Members of the Council include leading recycling companies, non-profit organizations, industry associations, and product manufacturers. 

Some of the Council’s findings: 

  • North Carolina has a robust and multifaceted circular economy, putting the state in a strong position to compete for jobs and economic development in this increasingly important sector.
  • The North Carolina circular economy is able to recycle a wide range of materials. It can innovate quickly to take on new waste streams such as discarded solar panels.
  • The public should have confidence that materials collected for recycling are used by manufacturers to make new products. Materials that are collected and recycled in North Carolina are made back into an array of products that are used by consumers every day. 
  • One of the keys to growing the North Carolina circular economy is access to a consistent supply of high-quality collected materials.
  • North Carolina’s landfill capacity is limited. Increasing the diversion of recyclable materials from disposal will protect this capacity and reduce the environmental and social impacts of new or expanded landfills. 

DEQ’s Recycling and Materials Management Program helps create a robust recycling infrastructure and advises businesses and local governments on managing successful recycling programs. The division provides grants and technical assistance to recycling businesses and local governments that help build North Carolina’s circular economy.  Learn more at