New Hanover County is seeking public feedback on new strategies that will affect recycling operations, landfill space and other aspects of countywide waste management. At an open meeting Tuesday night, half a dozen locals expressed mounting concern over the lifespan of the county landfill.
The current landfill can support 40 to 50 more years’ worth of solid waste, according to the county’s department of environmental management. Department director Joe Suleyman says the county is looking for cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways to reduce landfill waste composition.
"If you were to take a load of garbage delivered to the landfill and spread it all out and sort it out into different constituents, it’s not unreasonable to say that up to seventy percent of these materials can in some way either be diverted away from the landfill, recycled or reused in some way."
Members of the public suggest consolidating all county municipalities’ recycling operations, offering pickup of yard and hazardous waste, shipping restaurant waste to pig farms, and composting programs. But Suleyman says the future of the landfill will benefit most from increased education and public awareness of the importance of recycling and other waste reduction efforts.
"We need to make a cognizant push to make the public aware of what we’re doing, why we’re doing and the long-term impact is. It really starts at the elementary level."
Suleyman will present recommendations to the County Commission on September third. In the meantime, New Hanover County officials are encouraging residents to weigh in with their ideas by completing survey. Here is a link to the survey.