Reducing Single Use

Why is it important to limit our single-use materials?

In order to limit our environmental impact and be good stewards of the resources we have, limiting our amount of waste by recycling and reusing is one of the best options. Replacing these items one at a time helps keep our landfill capacity low and minimizes contamination.  Singe-use materials, such as plastic bags, are typically made from plastics that take over 500 years to degrade in landfills, and actually break down into micro-plastics that attract toxins and other pollutants*.  Protecting our community and extending the life of our landfill is key, and we encourage all of our citizens to start small by making simple changes when it comes to items such as travel mugs, reusable totes, and sturdier/non-plastic materials.

Facts about Plastics in North Carolina**

  1. Every 17.3 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of the Bank of America Building in Charlotte. 
  2. Every week, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times.
  3. In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Blue Ridge Pkwy 642 times 
  4. In the time it takes you to brush your teeth (2 minutes), North Carolinians send 4,657 plastic drink bottles to a landfill.

General Recycling Facts***

  1. 4.5 Million Tons of paper are thrown away in the United States each year.
  2. Recycling 1 Ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  3. Glass can be recycled forever! It takes 1,000,000 years to fully degrade in a landfill.
  4. Americans throw away enough aluminum in landfills to build our Nation's entire commercial air fleet every three months.

(statistics sourced from *The Center of Biological Adversity; **North Carolina Department of Environmental Equality ***Carolina Recycling Association)