The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday August 9th

Recycling habits garbage: Downtown businesses not recycling like they should

Recycling efforts on Franklin Street must be improved.

Since 1992, the Orange County Solid Waste Department has recruited bars and restaurants to recycle better. But many businesses are not meeting county expectations.

The businesses on the 100 block of East Franklin Street appear to be struggling the most. This high-density business block is not utilizing an effective recycling regimen and the rest of the town is suffering because of it.

During the warm North Carolina summer months, the pungent smell of garbage wafts from the alleys on Franklin Street. This odor is a direct result of the block’s back-door and alley method of recycling, according to Jan Sassaman, solid waste advisory board chairwoman for Orange County.

The six sites for recycling on the north side of the block are located throughout the parking lots, parking decks and service alleys.

In this type of setting, recycling carts are generally not placed next to the waste compactors. This leads to compactors crammed with recycling and recycling carts filled with non-recyclable waste.

This setup hinders the ability of the 50 or so businesses located on the block to recycle.

Besides failing to put trash and recyclables in the proper containers due to employee laziness or a business’s lack of care, some bars and restaurants put recycling in plastic bags.

Many plastic bags collected for recycling never get recycled. The growing trend is either to incinerate the bags or ship them to third world countries to dump them.

Although the town is making a better effort to monitor waste management and recycling downtown, they should be encouraged to do more.

The town can write tickets for trash left on the ground, but only if the owner can be identified.

The Orange County Waste Management Department and the town need to hold businesses and individuals accountable for their actions.

If this unsustainable trend continues, not only will the environment suffer but so will the beauty of downtown Chapel Hill.

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