At their February 5, 2020 meeting, Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners voted to give their recycling hauler permission to continue to divert the town’s recyclables at least through June 30, while the Town pursues additional information and possible options for its curbside recycling service.
Bay Disposal of Norfolk, Virginia, notified Town officials on January 7, 2020, that Nags Head’s recyclables were being transported to a waste-to-energy facility in Portsmouth, Virginia because the hauler had been unable to find a purchaser for the material. Owned by Wheelabrator, the facility uses waste to generate renewable electricity for a utility. In addition, steam from the facility is provided to help meet the needs of the U.S. Navy’s shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia.
In diverting the Town’s recyclables to the waste-to-energy facility, Bay Disposal was not fully abiding by their contract with the Town, which stipulates that no more than 10% by weight of all collected recyclable materials is to be taken to the landfill and/or incinerated without the Town’s permission.
“The recycling industry has been negatively impacted by China’s decision to stop taking America’s recyclables,” said Nags Head Town Manager Cliff Ogburn. “We are now among the many local governments throughout the country that are revisiting their recycling programs due to cost increases.”
Further, Ogburn said, “We want everyone to understand that the recyclables collected currently are not being sold to a manufacturer who will re-use the material; instead, they are being incinerated in a waste-to-energy facility. While that is better than sending the material to a landfill, it is not true recycling. Our Board of Commissioners has decided to continue the current process while we investigate other fiscally-responsible and environmentally-friendly options.”
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has notified the Town that it is aware of the issue and is working on a possible solution for the area.
For more information, email Town Manager Cliff Ogburn or call him at 252-441-5508.