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Latest News


  • The February edition of the Orange County NC Solid Waste and Recycling News published on February 24.  Click here to view it.

  • The latest Orange County Solid Waste Management Newsletter "Waste Matters" published in June 2013. View it here!
  • Outdoor Compost Bins are available for sale at the Orange County Solid Waste Management office, 1207 Eubanks Rd. Chapel Hill. They are $50 each, cash or check only please, Monday-Friday 8-5. To learn more about the "Earth Machine" outdoor composting unit that we sell, visit

  • You can sign up for our monthly list-serv by registering on this page


Good Friday and Easter Holiday Schedule for Recycling, Landfill, and Solid Waste Convenience Centers

The Orange County Solid Waste Administrative Office, located at 1207 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill, will be closed on Friday, April 18.

Curbside recycling will be collected as regularly scheduled on Friday, April 18.  If your regular recycling day is on Friday, please be sure to have your bins to the curb by 7:00 a.m. or put them out the night before. 

The Orange County Landfill and its regular operations, such as Mulch Sales and the Household Hazardous Waste Collection will be CLOSED on Friday, April 18.

Orange County Solid Waste Convenience Centers will be OPEN on Friday, April 18.  They will be CLOSED on Sunday, April 20. 




The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is sponsoring two free Shred-A-Thons in April, in cooperation with University Mall and local law enforcement.

Orange County residents and small businesses (including those in the Town of Chapel Hill within Durham County), and local government employees that work for the County or the Town of Carrboro, Chapel Hill or Hillsborough may securely destroy their personal confidential documents at no cost.

Both events are from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will take place at the following locations:

  • Thursday, April 24 -- University Mall, at Estes and Willow Drive, Chapel Hill
  • Saturday, April 26 -- Hampton Pointe 24-hour Recycling Drop-off Site, behind Home Depot, Hwy 86, Hillsborough.  

There is a limit of five “banker-box” sized boxes or five large bags of paper per person, and a limit of one trip per person or business.

Please remove any non-paper materials prior to bringing loads to the Shred-a-thon such as plastic binders, plastic folders, metal tabs, laminated paper, computer disks or other electronic media.  The shredded paper will be recycled so we want to keep it clean! Shredding will take place on-site in full view of people delivering paper. 




The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is promoting reuse and supporting local non-profits!


If you are moving or cleaning things out, considering bringing used, but useful items to this special collection that will benefit local non-profits, reduce waste and support reuse in our community!

The Spring Move Out Reuse Rodeo is taking place from Wednesday, April 30 – Saturday, May 3, from 9:00 a.m. ‐ 2:00 p.m. at the Hargrave’s Center “lower lot” on Mitchell Lane, in Chapel Hill.


Review the following list and bring your items to benefit non‐profit groups!


PTA Thrift Store and local schools:

• Clean clothing, belts, bags, shoes and accessories

• Small appliances: toasters, microwaves, blenders, heaters (must be in working order)

• Housewares: shelving, lamps, area rugs, dish sets, sheets

• Furniture in good condition


Too large to move?  Call the PTA Thrift store at 919.417.0553t o make a pick up appointment for large items and furniture

BacktoSchool for kids at the Hargrave’s Center:

• Blank notebooks and binders

• Unused paper of all colors and types

• Lightly used book bags

• Calculators

• Pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, and other unused school supplies

The InterFaith Council:

• Clean, reusable cloth bags

• Unopened cans and boxes of food

• Unopened personal hygiene products (shampoo, lotion, feminine products)


Compass Center for Women and Families:

• Cell phones (with chargers if possible)


Electronics equipment, such as computers, TVs and stereos:

• The equipment will be triaged, donated or recycled


If it is not on this list, do not bring it to the collection. Do not leave items here before or after collection hours. The goal is to reduce move‐out waste and support local re‐users. Volunteers will be on hand to assist with unloading.

For more information, please call 919.968.2788 or send an e-mail to



Public Hearings were held regarding a proposed Solid Waste Service Tax District for rural curbside recycling


  • March 18, 2014 – 6:00PM – Southern Human Services Center, Chapel Hill


  • April 1, 2014 – 6:00PM – Department of Social Services, Hillsborough

In accordance with General Statute 153A-302, Orange County Solid Waste Management has provided a Notice of Public Hearing to all property owners that would be included in the proposed service district for rural curbside recycling to notify them of upcoming public hearings regarding the establishment of a service district for recycling.  For the majority of properties within this proposed service district, the service district would replace the former 3R fee of $38/year, which has been discontinued. 

North Carolina Statutes require notification of property owners at least 30 days prior to a public hearing.  In addition, a report shall be available for public viewing in the Clerk to the County Board of Commissioners office 30 days prior to the public hearing.   

Below, you will be able to view on the county’s recycling web site information identical to that which is available in hard copy at the County Clerk’s office, located at 200 South Cameron Street, Hillsborough.

MAP of Proposed District

Solid Waste District Report

Frequently Asked Questions





Background for Solid Waste Service Tax District Proposal

February 2014


In 2004 the Board of Commissioners approved an every other week curbside/roadside recycling collection program for about 13,000 residences in unincorporated Orange County.  At that time the Board adopted a fee to fund the program, called the Rural 3-R Fee, that all eligible residences were billed annually on their tax bill.  The fee was assessed to all eligible for the service, regardless of whether or how often a resident used the service.

In 2012 the County Manager and the County Attorney advised the Board that they had concerns regarding the statutory justification for assessing this fee and recommended that the Board eliminate the fee immediately and consider other ways to fund that program.  So the 2012 tax bill was the last time the fee was assessed; the fee was $38/year.  In 2013 the Board provided an interim funding for the program from landfill reserve funds.

Over the next several months the Board discussed various options on how to address this funding problem.  Even elimination of the program was considered, but unanimously abandoned due to measured participation of the rural community of about 57%.  Some residents eligible for this service chose not to recycling, others delivered their recycling to convenience centers and a very few employed private haulers.  It was also considered that the service was important in order to meet the county’s aggressive waste reduction goal of 61%.

Ultimately, after considering and rejecting numerous funding alternatives, in December 2013 the Board indicated intent to implement a solid waste service district tax as the means to replace the funding lost when the fee was eliminated.  The Board also discussed a subscription service option whereby those residents who wanted to retain the service could pay and those who wished not to pay could voluntarily opt-out.

If the solid waste service district is ultimately adopted it is estimated that the district tax rate would be 1.5 cents per $100 dollars of assessed value of the property.  For example, property with an assessed value of $100,000 would pay $15/year in service district tax.  A solid waste service district is similar to a fire service district.

State statutes require a public hearing to be held prior to a Board adopting a service district and the property owners of all parcels to be included in the district must be notified by letter of the hearing.  The County Board will be hosting two public hearings:

  • March 18 at 6:00 PM at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill
  • April 1, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the County Social Services Center, Hillsborough Commons, 113 Mayo Street in Hillsborough



Eubanks Rd. and Walnut Grove Church Rd. Solid Waste Convenience Centers only,  opening Thursdays, starting Sept. 12

Starting September 12, 2013, the Eubanks Road and Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Centers will be open Thursdays, 7:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.  The new hours are in response to requests by citizens to expand hours of operation at the County’s two busiest centers.  Operation hours for the other three sites will remain the same.

A full schedule, including the new expanded hours, is shown below for easy reference.

Orange County Solid Waste Convenience Centers Hours of Operation (September 12, 2013)









Eubanks Rd.








Walnut Grove Church Rd.








Bradshaw Quarry Rd.








Ferguson Rd.








High Rock Rd.









All centers will continue to be closed on Wednesdays, and all centers will be open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Only the convenience centers at Eubanks Road and Walnut Grove Church Road will be open on Mondays and Thursdays.  



The Orange County Landfill closed on June 30, 2013. Other services will remain active.

As of June 30, the County Municipal Solid Waste Landfill will close.  This facility will no longer accept household waste or any other putrescible (wet, due to potential food content) garbage from any individual or business.   Household and business waste must be taken to a permitted transfer station or landfill that can accept those materials. Tipping fees and recycling/preparation policies may vary by facility.

The following properly separated materials will also continue to be accepted at the Orange County Solid Waste Management Facility on Eubanks Road:  

  • Yard waste
  • Tires
  • Scrap metal
  • Clean (unpainted, untreated) wood waste
  • Large appliances
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Oyster shells
  • Electronics (up to ten units per trip)
  • Mattresses and box springs (no other upholstered furniture) 
  • Hazardous waste collection facility (220 pounds/month limit for businesses)

The Construction and Demolition Waste (C&D) Landfill will continue to accept waste from construction, remodeling and demolition projects subject to the County disposal bans on corrugated cardboard, scrap metal and clean wood waste. Those materials must be separated to be accepted.

Mulch and compost sales will also remain active.

Residential services for garbage and recycling collection will continue uninterrupted at all five of Solid Waste Convenience Centers located throughout Orange County.  No commercial or other non-residential use is permitted at these locations.


Walnut Grove Solid Waste Convenience Center is open for full service!

Remodeling, site improvements, new equipment installation, new signage, and final paving have been successfully completed at the Solid Waste Convenience Center on Walnut Grove Church Road in Hillsborough. 

The gates will open at 7:00 a.m. on Friday May 10, providing full service to Orange County residents.


The Walnut Grove Solid Waste Convenience Center includes the following amenities:


  • Fully paved surfaces to control dust, mud and runoff
  • Compactors with low loading height for household waste, bulky items, corrugated cardboard, and single stream recycling
  • Dropped-level containers for yard waste, tires, scrap metal, bulky waste, and large appliances for easier disposal
  • Separate routing for County trucks, plus improved entry and exit for added safety
  • Household Hazardous Waste collection for paint, pesticides, chemicals, fluorescent lights, and other toxic items found in the home
  • Food waste collection for composting (the first residential food waste drop-off in NC)
  • Used cooking oil collection, which will be converted into biodiesel
  • Plastic bag and plastic film recycling
  • Clothing and shoes drop-off for charities
  • Lumber Salvage – an annex to the Salvage Shed for sharing solid sawed lumber 

Orange County made these changes to improve efficiency and safety of disposal and collection, while expanding recycling opportunities for County residents.  The overall plan concept adopted by the Board of Commissioners in 2010 includes two larger district Centers and three neighborhood centers.

Improvements to the remaining convenience centers will take place in phases over the next several years.  The Walnut Grove site was chosen because the County owns the property, and it will provide improved recycling and waste collection services for the residents in the northern part of the County.


Orange County to host first-ever Off-Campus Reuse Rodeo for Student Moveout!

The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is inviting the public to its ReUse Rodeo Student Move-out week!

The event will take place four consecutive days from Tuesday, May 7- Friday, May 10, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. each day at the Hargrave’s Center Mitchell Lane parking lot in Chapel Hill.

Student move-out is a notorious period of wastefulness where some residents just dump and run. Before you ride out of town, we hope you will look through your belongings and choose to donate, instead of contributing to the landfill! The goal is to reduce move-out waste and help support reuse in our community,” said Muriel Williman, event coordinator.

Whether you are moving out or cleaning up, take advantage of this special collection! Local non-profits will be on hand to accept materials that you don’t need, but perhaps someone else in our community could use. 

The following items are requested to be in GOOD CONDITION:

PTA Thrift Store

  • Clean clothing, belts, bags, and shoes
  • Furniture and shelving
  • Working housewares - toasters, coffee pots, dish sets, microwaves, lamps, area rugs, sheets, etc.

Back-to-school at the Hargrave’s Community Center

  • Blank notebooks
  • Unused paper of all colors and types
  • Lightly used book bags
  • Binders
  • Pens,  pencils, erasers, glue sticks and other unused school supplies

The Inter-Faith Council

  • Unopened food
  • Unopened personal care products
  • Clean, reusable cloth bags

Compass Center for Women and Families

  • Cell phones (with chargers if possible)

Job Training Programs

  • Working computers and accessories


If an item is not on this list, do not bring it to the Rodeo!  Non-profits reserve the right to turn away items that are not in good and working condition. 

The event is sponsored by the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department in cooperation with the above referenced non-profits, the Town of Chapel Hill, and the Hargraves Community Center. 

Students that live on campus should take advantage of the UNC Chapel Hill "Dont Ditch it, Donate it!" program


Orange County Ranks Best in the State for Waste Reduction!

The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is recognized as being number one in the state for waste reduction, reaching 59% of its 61% aggressive reduction. The County is disposing only 0.56 tons/person compared to the base year of 1991-92, when the disposal rate measured 1.36 tons. 

In the region, Wake County achieved a 25% reduction rate, Durham County rate is at 21%, Chatham County is 37%, and Alamance County with 26%. Orange County’s 61% waste reduction goal was adopted in 1997 by the County and by the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough as part of the County’s original Comprehensive Solid Waste Plan.

“It is to the credit of proactive residents and innovative County services, such as the conversion to single stream recycling that we are leading the state in our waste reduction efforts. Years ago some said our 61% goal was unrealistic, but we now anticipate the day when all of Orange County can celebrate achieving our lofty goal and setting the bar even higher,” said Gayle Wilson, director of Orange County’s Solid Waste Management Department.

“Being good stewards of the environment and reducing the amount of waste hauled to the landfill have been priorities for the Commissioners and County residents. We recognize that one person's waste is another person's raw material, and can be recycled rather than discarded,” said Barry Jacobs, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners.

The County’s recycling and waste reduction programs date back to 1987, starting with five unstaffed drop-off sites for newspapers, glass bottles and aluminum cans.  Now programs include curbside recycling for more than 80% of single-family households and 95% of apartment complexes, 10 drop-off sites, permanent household hazardous waste, an innovative program for reclaiming construction and demolition debris, and electronics collections. 

“Orange County’s waste reduction achievements are due in large measure to its steadfast investment in recycling services and its leadership in implementing effective recycling policies,” said Scott Mouw, director of the State Recycling Program. “Orange County’s diversion of valuable materials from disposal is helping us to create jobs and rebuild North Carolina’s economy.”

To review the North Carolina Solid Waste Per Capita disposal report for 2011-12, please visit


Student Move-out Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Resources!


The end of April marks the end of the collegiate Spring semester.  It’s time for the population in Chapel Hill to drop and for the number of available parking spots to rise.  It is also time for a huge slug of move-out goodies to hit the landfill.  Do your part to make move out less waste-full.  Use the following guidelines to reduce waste, support local charities, and recycle as much as possible!

If you are interested in an end-of-year-move-out collection point at your apartment complex for clean, dry clothing, canned foods and usable household goods, contact our office and we will work with you to set up such a site and help provide publicity to your residents as they prepare to move out. Our office would provide a set of labeled, clean roll carts during the month of May. Your obligation would be to publicize the program, locate carts in a secure, dry area that is easily accessible for residents. Periodic policing will help ensure that the contents are usable and sanitary. Orange County Solid Waste would set these carts out April 29 and pick them up May 12 and bring the donated materials to various local charities. Let us know by April 25 if you would like a set of roll carts for clothing, canned goods and small household items.

Reusable furniture and other household items in good condition can be offered for reuse at “Salvage Sheds” located at three of the five Solid Waste Convenience Centers.  Used mattresses can NOT be left at Solid Waste Convenience Centers 

  • Eubanks Rd. (1 mile west of Hwy 86/ Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill),
  • Ferguson Rd. (near intersection of Old Greensboro Highway, three miles west of Carrboro), and
  • High Rock Rd. (1/4 mile west of Mill Creek Rd. in Efland).

Solid Waste Convenience Centers have recycling collection for bottles, cans, jars, mixed paper, newspaper, magazines, non-bottle plastics such as yogurt tubs and stadium cups and corrugated cardboard. Recycle all batteries, motor oil, antifreeze, televisions, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices there too! 

Electronics can also be recycled at the Orange County Landfill on Eubanks Rd. in Chapel Hill. Hours there are Monday – Friday 7am to 4pm and Saturday 7:30am to noon.

Clothing and household items in good condition can be donated to local charities and pick-up can be arranged for large loads.

  • PTA Thrift Shop Village Plaza, S. Elliott Rd, Chapel Hill (919) 942-6101
  • Club Nova Thrift Shop, 103-C West Main Street, Carrboro (919) 967-6985. 

Furniture and appliances in good condition can be picked up by the Habitat for Humanity Hand-Me-Up store. Appliances must work and be less than 10 years old.  Call (919) 403-8668 to schedule a collection if you can’t drop your items off at 5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707

Donate unopened cans and boxes of non-perishable food items and unused personal care items to the Inter-Faith Council Food Pantry at 110 West Main Street in Carrboro, between 9-5 weekdays. If you need to make special arrangements for weekend drop-off, call them at 929-6380 ext. * 16.  Unserved perishable food can be brought directly to the Community House Facility at 100 W. Rosemary St.


Styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap should be brought to local packaging companies like “Pack It Ship It” at MidTown Market on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, or UPS packaging stores throughout the County.  Packing materials should not be left at the recycling dropoff sites.

Metal cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars and all clean, dry paper including, newspapers, phonebooks, envelopes, junk mail, class notes, can be recycled at all five of the 24-hour recycling drop-off sites. 

  • Cedar Falls Park: Weaver Dairy Road
  • University Mall: Mall parking lot behind the gas station on Estes Drive
  • Carrboro Plaza: Behind ABC Store in southeast corner of the Plaza
  • Meadowmont: Behind Harris Teeter (this is the least used site)
  • Hampton Pointe Shopping Plaza: Hwy 86 in Hillsborough behind Home Depot

If the site is full, please take the recyclables to another site (usually Meadowmont site or Hampton Pointe site at Home Depot in Hillsborough are underutilized).  Never ever leave plastic bags at a drop-off site. Take clean, dry empty plastic or paper bags to grocery stores to be recycled.

Hazardous Waste such as “CFL’s” (compact fluorescent lights), paint, hair spray, bug spray, drain cleaner and any flammable, toxic or corrosive liquids should be taken to the Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Collection at the Orange County Landfill on Eubanks Road. HHW is open Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturday 7:30 am to noon.

Please contact our office if you have any move-out questions!

(919) 968-2788


Special Event Planning for Waste Reduction

Spring “special event” season is approaching and many planners want to do right by their event goers, and the environment.  The Orange County Landfill is closing on July 1 of this year, and Orange County has the highest waste reduction rate in the state at 59%. It is simply a priority among many of our residents. The marketplace has recognized that trend so store shelves are full of products that claim to be “green” -- but sometimes the labeling is misleading, and if the event doesn’t go the full distance with recycling and composting, “green” purchasing is not going to make a bit of difference.  Here are some myth busters and basic guidelines to help out.

Buying products labeled “compostable” does not make you green.  If you buy “compostables” make sure they are labeled “certified compostable” and are going to a commercial composting facility.  Corn-based #7 PLA cups usually have a green band around them and claim to be compostable.  They are… but only in a commercial composting facility, not in your backyard bin, and certainly not in the landfill.  They cannot be recycled either! Unless they are actively separated from the rest of the trash and brought to a collection point for a commercial composter (with permission or by contract), they will go into the landfill.  There they break down slowly and produce methane. It’s no better for the environment and more costly for consumers than serving with petroleum-based plastics and tossing them in the landfill.   

“Biodegradable” and “compostable” and “recyclable” do not mean the same thing. Two groups of materials have been developed in terms of degradable plastics. The first group includes plant based resins like #7PLA in corn based cups discussed above. The second includes petroleum-based conventional plastics that have chemicals added (known as oxo-degradables) which, when exposed to heat and oxygen, break apart the carbon bonds resulting in micro-fragments of plastic and metals. The fragments will remain in the environment but will not be seen as a visual contaminant.   


There are serious concerns amongst plastics, composting and waste management experts that these products do not meet their environmental claims. European Bioplastics considers terms such as “biodegradable” and “oxo-biodegradable” without reference to existing standards as misleading, and as such not reproducible and verifiable. Testing by the Association of Post-Consumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) shows that these plastics are NOT RECYCLABLE.  APR states “they [oxo plastics] are a contaminant in the recycling stream. Claims of recyclability are unfounded, untested, and possibly misleading as outlined in the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide.”  The principal concern is that a recycled resin containing degradable additives renders any product made with those resins unsellable because the product has reduced quality and shortened service life.  

With all the plastics recycling in North Carolina, this is a big concern for businesses here. The NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources has just released the report: “Study on the Effects of Degradable Plastic on Recycled Feedstocks” which can be found at: Pursuant to that, a new bill is being prepared to go the legislature this session to require OXO plastics to be labeled as not recyclable and any plastic labeled as degradable or compostable to comply with American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard D6400-04, "Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics."

What is an organizer to do? Know your waste stream! Identify what is going to be served and therefore what will be thrown out at your event.  Replace disposables with durables or recyclables wherever possible.  Many local caterers are becoming accustomed to this request. If you have recyclables, make sure you have containers for collection, and a system for proper recycling after the event. For example, instead of fountain drinks and plastic cups, serve beverages in bottles and cans and have recycling containers next to every trash can.  At the end of the event bring them to one of Orange County’s 24 hour recycling drop-off sites.  Serving hotdogs?  Good choice—finger food requires no plates or utensils, but the buns are going to come in recyclable plastic bags.  Stuff empty bun bags into another plastic bag, and recycle at a participating grocery store.  Serve condiments in bulk containers rather than disposable packets.  Want to go the distance and have compost collection?  Purchase appropriately and ensure that the compost collection containers are watched so that absolutely no plastic or metal goes in! 

Orange County Solid Waste Management can help.  We loan recycling containers for special events and consult with planners to reduce the waste stream, identifying systems for diverting waste through reduction, recycling or composting.  Larger public events in Orange County have worked with the Solid Waste Department to reduce their waste as much as 95%!  Each has their own method - Hillsborough Hogg Day works closely with food vendors to make sure they serve only on compostable ware.  Organizers of Farm-to-Fork and Terra Vita provide compostables directly to the vendors, but also reduce waste by providing each event goer with only one utensil (it’s not “Farm to Forks!” the organizer will explain).  All three of these events rely on Solid Waste staff and trash-savvy volunteers at sorting stations to keep it all separated and moving smoothly. 

CLICK HERE for the Guide to Using Durable, Disposable or Compostable Serving Ware for Special Events


Single Stream Recycling effective in Orange County as of July 1, 2012

Residents and businesses in Orange County will no longer have to divide their recycling into two separate containers-- all paper, magazines, newspaper, phonebooks, cartons and junk mail can be commingled with plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans, aluminum trays and foil, glass bottles and jars at the curb, in carts, and at drop-off sites.

This system of recycling, commonly referred to as “Single Stream”, will make recycling easier and more convenient for residents and businesses, while also saving trips and reducing lifting strain for recycling collection staff.   Recycling trucks won’t fill as fast because everything goes into one compartment, thus reducing transportation costs.  The technical sorting capability at recycling processing facilities (known as Material Recovery Facilities or MRFs) has improved greatly using a combination of automated equipment and manual labor, so a wide range of commingled materials can be efficiently separated and processed to achieve high-value marketable commodities. 

Curbside residents can still recycle corrugated cardboard at the curb.  The same rules apply as in two-stream -- empty and flattened boxes that are 3’x3’ or less, and 10 pieces or less, unless you can fit them all in your bin.

Businesses, apartment dwellers, and other multifamily site residents with recycling collected in blue County-owned carts still need to recycle their cardboard separately either in a designated dumpster or at a recycling drop-off location. 

Orange County Solid Waste has made a significant investment to publicize this exciting new change.   Hopefully residents and businesses received the latest issue of "Waste Matters", our 4-page newsletter that was mailed at the end of May of this year.  Curbside recycling customers received a full-color postcard with curbside recycling details.   Informational recycling decals were replaced at all apartment complex and commercial cart sites. Anyone with questions, comments or concerns or who would like copies of any of these new outreach documents is encouraged to contact the Solid Waste Management Administrative office at (919) 968-2788 or e-mail

County Removed Plastics Recycling Dumpsters from Recycling Drop Off Sites, now only availble at Solid Wasdte Convenience Centers.

Due to excessive contamination levels, sometimes exceeding fifty percent, Orange County Solid Waste Management will permanently remove the large purple roll-off dumpsters for recycling rigid plastics from four unstaffed recycling sites on November 1.  Banners have been placed at each site stating that the rigid plastic containers will be removed.  All other recycling collection containers will remain at the unstaffed sites.

Rigid Plastic Recycling Pulled at University Mall

The purple dumpsters for recycling resin types #2, #4 and #5 cups, tubs, buckets, pipe, lawn furniture and other non-bottle plastics will remain at the five staffed convenience center sites along with all other current recycling and trash services.

Orange County has been collecting the non-bottle rigid plastics for recycling from both staffed convenience center sites and unstaffed recycling sites since February 2010 and averages about 13 tons per month incoming material, of which about nine tons of which are suitable for sale. This is the highest rate of contamination from any public recycling program. The contaminants must be manually sorted by County staff and landfilled before the good material can be sent to market.  

Only about 10% of the material in purple dumpsters from staffed sites is contaminants. The majority of contaminants come from the four unstaffed sites at Carrboro Plaza, Cedar Falls Park, Meadowmont and University Mall.  The dumpster at the Hampton Pointe recycling site behind Home Depot in Hillsborough was removed a year ago for excessive contamination, but contamination at the other four sites did not improve even with extensive public education.

Since the County established this program ongoing efforts have been made to educate the public about the proper materials including placement of high quality signage, extensive paid advertising, articles in local papers, shows on local radio and two major efforts staffing the usually unstaffed drop-off sites with temporary personnel to educate site users.  

Rigid plastics #2 (HDPE), #4 (LDPE) and #5 (PP) for which there is a reliable, regional market that Orange County sells to include items such as five gallon buckets, kitty litter buckets,  plastic storage totes, plastic lawn furniture, black pipe, and kiddie pools. These items are not recycled when put in curbside recycling bins with cans and bottles, only when kept separate and brought to the staffed Solid Waste Convenience Centers.  See the County web page for a full list of acceptable plastics in the purple bins: to request a pictorial brochure.


North Carolina Electronics Ban in effect July 1, 2011; Electronics recycling details for Orange County.

Computer equipment and televisions will be banned from disposal in North Carolina landfills as of July 1, 2011, as required by NC Session Law 2010-67 passed last year by the General Assembly. As of July 1, televisions, computers and computer equipment such as laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, scanners, and peripherals such as mice and keyboards cannot go in the trash or be disposed in any NC landfill.

Orange County residents can recycle their electronics at all 5 of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers located throughout the county, during hours of operation.  Visit for details.

Orange County residents, businesses, and other non-residential entities can recycle their electronics at the Orange County Landfill, 1514 Eubanks Rd. in Chapel Hill, Monday- Friday from 7:30a.m.-4:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon.  Please call ahead to make an appointment for large loads so we can process those right away.

Collected electronic items include any audio or visual data carrying devices such as computers, monitors, mice, keyboards, televisions, IPods, scanners, printers, speakers, cables, copiers, cell phones, telephones, stereos,  fax machines, CD and DVD players, cassette players, VCRs and electronic media such as cassette and VHS tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, and their cases.  Look for the black trailers labeled “Electronic Recycling”.

Orange County has been providing residents with electronics recycling since 2002.  Orange County will recycle close to 1,000,000 pounds of electronics this fiscal year.  That is approximately 11 tons per week, or 8 pounds per person, per year.  Orange County contracts with a North Carolina based electronics recycling firm called Synergy Recycling, LLC Synergy is certified with numerous environmental and employee health and safety standards, and their downstream markets are also certified to be environmentally sound and non-polluting.

Other components of the law are designed to create statewide recycling opportunities for discarded electronics and to place significant responsibilities on electronics manufacturers to help fund and create those opportunities.  All computer manufacturers are required to offer at least a free mail-back program for their own equipment, and some will offer additional kinds of recycling options. A number of retailers also offer recycling of electronics, as do some nonprofit and charitable agencies. A comprehensive list of recycling options for residents and businesses in the state of North Carolina can be found at: