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1 Local governments can quickly and cost effectively enhance their waste reduction programs by making simple improvements to an existing drop-off program. Five major opportunities for optimizing drop-off sites and three successful North Carolina programs are highlighted below. Because of the variability in local conditions, some strategies may be more appropriate and work better than others- 1. Collect a wide range of materials to increase recovery per household. Some North Carolina sites collect as many as 12 categories of materials, which range from common recyclables to corrugated cardboard, telephone directories, and textiles. The following materials can be added to increase the diversion rate: steel food cans mixed paper oil and other petroleum products (such as transmission fluid, kerosene, and gear or crankcase oil) appliances textiles (clothing) corrugated cardboard magazines car batteries yard waste bulky items NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance PO Box Raleigh, NC (919) Reuse programs such as swap shops or exchange sheds for books, clothing furniture, household items, etc., as well as one-time paint swaps or periodic HHW collection days, can capture materials that still have a useful life. At staffed sites, attendants can maintain the exchange sheds and the flow of materials. Periodic drives can collect products with unstable markets, such as mixed paper, or with seasonal disposal patterns, such as telephone books. Use of volunteers can help decrease contamination of collected materials, or these items can be collected at staffed sites. Staff sites to increase local interest and ensure a cleaner materials stream. Over 20 cities and 80 counties in North Carolina operate staffed collection sites. Staffing offers multiple benefits. Ideally staff can do all of the following: Maintain the site. Collect fees at sites with unit-based pricing. Operate compactors or other special Track participation data. equipment. Check registration to deter out-of-county Educate citizens. users. Prevent scavenging and contamination.

2 If people from the surrounding community are used as staff, the need to check registrations may be reduced; or private security guards could be used. Volunteers are the least expensive option, but a staff comprised of volunteers generally limits the number of hours a site can operate. 3. Educate and promote programs consistently to ensure success. Various educational media, including one-on-one contact, can educate citizens at sites. Staff can provide information on the items to recycle, the proper ways to do it, and the importance of waste reduction and reuse. They can hand out literature, answer questions, and show citizens creative ways to reduce wastes; for example, to compost food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials. Bulletin boards placed next to swap shops or high traffic areas can also be used to communicate recycling or community information. Not only do participants need to be educated; staff may also need it. Chatham has created a manual detailing the full range of on-site operations for its attendants. This manual covers typical questions such as the materials acceptable on-site and those that must be taken elsewhere. The program can be promoted in a variety of ways - from newsletters to articles in local papers to flyers in stores or at community fairs. Studies have found that personal contact and flyers have more impact than radio and TV spots. Orange uses a quarterly newsletter to all county residents that highlights materials that can be recycled, waste reduction opportunities, and other solid waste issues. Duplin sends a raccoon (the county recycling coordinator in disguise) into the schools with its litter enforcement officer to educate children about recycling. Roving exhibits also offer the opportunity to spread the word at community fairs or in the school system. Community meetings are another option; however, those are best saved for launching programs, explaining major changes, or requesting community feedback. Keep America Beautiful (KAB) volunteers and Cooperative Extension agents can also be good sources of information and ideas. 4. Use convenient locations to enhance participation. Primary destinations are easily accessible and have high traffic. Examples include landfills, shopping centers and industrial complexes, schools, recreational areas, and major intersections. Shopping centers work especially well; because they conform to typical traffic patterns of area residents, shopping centers enable people to combine other errands with recycling. Chosen locations should be in full view to discourage improper disposal and contamination and identifiable clearly from main roads. The less the distance participants must travel to sites, the greater their participation. 5. Design and maintain drop-off centers to improve overall performance. Sites can be designed with m-house labor, and multiple sites can be constructed simultaneously to achieve economies of scale in contracts. Designs should consider traffic flow and site use. Some sites have placed a staff building in a center island to promote a circular traffic flow; others have grouped common recyclables up front or ensured that access to recyclables is as easy as access to garbage containers. The site should have sufficient parking space for at least five cars, and flower beds can be added that use local compost or mulch. A gate or fence will limit after-hours scavenging. To make the site as efficient as possible, containers, vehicles and existing processing equipment should be coordinated. For example, if all materials are collected in 6-yd 3 containers, containers can be switched out as they fill up. Magnetized signs also facilitate switch out. Recycling and solid waste containers of different colors may help the public identify bins. Split top containers work well, as do containers with access holes that are only big enough for the appropriate recyclables. Baiting containers with appropriate materials or labeling them with pictures helps users know the material that goes in each bin. Clear signage is also important. Optimizing Recovery at Drop-Off Centers -2- February1997

3 Another option is to use a stationery hydraulic compactor to densify materials before they are hauled. Since concrete pads last longer under heavy wear and tear than asphalt, they should be used where possible. For paved sites equipped with roll-off containers, concrete pads should be long enough so that the roll-off collection apparatus does not dig ruts into the asphalt. Participation at various times should be tracked so that hours are tailored to the busiest times. Given staff availability, sites should stay open as long as possible, and they must be kept clean and well landscaped. Three Successful Drop-Off Programs in North Carolina The successful convenience centers of three North Carolina counties-chatham, Gaston, and Scotland-are featured below. Each operation combines recycling and solid waste collection. Basic information on each program is listed in the table, and unique features of each are described in the text.

4 February 1997

5 Characteristics of Chatham, Gaston, and Scotland Recycling Systems Chatham Gaston Scotland Population 41, ,902 34,630 No. Drop-Off Sites / No. 13 / 12 5/5 6/6 Staffed Sites All sites accepting solid waste are staffed. Hours Open/Week 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Varies. Most sites Mon-Sat; Mon-Sat; open 7:00 a.m.- 6:00 1:00-7:00 p.m. Sun. 1:OO-5:30 p.m. Sun p.m. Mon-Sat; some have extended hours until 8:OO p.m. several days. Materials Collected Aluminum and steel Aluminum and steel Aluminum and steel cans, glass, ONP, HDPE cans, glass, ONP, plastic cans, glass, ONP, and PET plastics, OCC, bottles, OCC, oil and plastic bottles, OCC, mixed paper (including other petroleum products, lead acid batteries, white paper and lead acid batteries, antifreeze, white magazines), oil and other antifreeze, white goods goods and other petroleum products, lead and other metals, yard metals, magazines, acid batteries, appliances waste, bulky items, tires. yard waste, bulky and other metals, yard Mixed paper items waste, pallets, bulky periodically. items Containers for Recycling 6-yd 3 boxes, 30-yd 3 Mostly 30-yd 3 covered Mostly 30-yd 3 open covered containers, 10- containers top containers yd 3 w/slit at top for OCC, w/canvas, 90-gallon roll carts for some 20-yd 3 magazines, 55-gallon containers drums for foil Transport of Recycling Private firms Processing and Marketing of Recycling Private firms, some county Private firms DPPEA The North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance provides free, non-regulatory technical assistance and training on methods to eliminate, reduce, or recycle wastes before they become pollutants or require disposal. Telephone DPPEA at (919) or or for assistance with issues in this Fact Sheet or any of your waste reduction concerns. DPPEA copies of this public document were printed on recycled paper at a cost of $14.40 or $0.14 per copy.

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