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Update, February 6, 2020
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, contact Town Manager Cliff Ogburn at Cliff.Ogburn@nagsheadnc.gov or 252-441-5508.
Update, February 1, 2020
January 13, 2020
The Town of Nags Head is in discussions with its residential recycling hauler after being notified by the company that they are not fully abiding by the contract they have with the Town.
In a January 7, 2020 meeting, Bay Disposal of Norfolk, Virginia said that Nags Head’s recyclables are being transported to a waste-to-energy facility in Portsmouth, Virginia. There, the waste is used as a local fuel to generate renewable electricity for a utility. In addition, this facility also provides steam to help meet the needs of the U.S. Navy’s shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Town’s contract with Bay Disposal, LLC., in Norfolk, VA, effective from May 1, 2019 until December 1, 2022, expressly 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.
As seen in the news over the last few years, the market for recyclables has been negatively impacted by China’s decision to stop taking America’s recyclables. Local governments throughout the United States are revisiting, and sometimes suspending, their recycling programs due to exorbitant cost increases.
“While we understand that the market for recyclables has been negatively impacted by China, Bay Disposal, unfortunately, is not disposing of our recyclables according to our contract with them,” said Nags Head Town Manager Cliff Ogburn. “They have made a good faith effort to notify us of this change and we are working together on a solution that our Board of Commissioners can consider. The challenge for us is that there are limited options for the entire Outer Banks when it comes to recycling haulers. When we originally rolled out the curbside residential recycling program in 2016, we were being paid for the material. Then, we started paying $10/ton and today we pay $70/ton because it is so difficult to find an organization that will purchase the material. At what price point does it become too expensive to continue this service?”