By Outer Banks Voice on February 2, 2021
Effective April 4, 2021, the curbside collection service in Corolla will no longer pick-up recycling items. Household trash will continue to be collected on its normal service. After April 4, citizens will be able to dispose of recycled goods at self-service containers that will be placed near the Pine Island Fire Station.
Currituck County did not make this decision quickly nor without citizen input. This process was driven by several factors. The market for recycled goods has diminished greatly due to China’s decision to stop purchasing most recycled goods from the United States. Without China’s participation, the American market for recycled goods is a fraction of its former size.
In addition, many of Currituck’s recycling loads were being turned away by purchasers due to the presence of non-recyclable materials. For example, a single pizza box included in a container of recycled goods causes the rejection of the entire container due to “contamination” by non-recyclable matter. These rejections increased with great frequency during the summer vacation season.
Each time a load of recycling material was denied, Currituck incurred additional costs for disposal. It also prevented the county from being a good steward of the environment. The new self-service containers will help ensure that more loads of recycling materials from Currituck County are accepted, as citizens can readily separate the recycled materials and help prevent contamination from occurring.
Facing increasing costs for solid waste disposal, county officials looked for solutions to avoid raising fees for taxpayers. Maintaining the current recycling program would require increasing solid waste fees by approximately $39 per year for each home in Corolla. The Board of Commissioners did not want to pass this added expense to citizens.
The process to make this decision began in 2019, with the expectation that it would go into effect in 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic derailed these plans, and the collection service was not altered at that time. Currituck County staff and officials met with citizens in Corolla to discuss the situation. From those conversations, it was agreed that self-service containers would be sufficient.
Citizens also expressed a desire for more curbside trash bins. Under an agreement with Bay Disposal, the recycling bins will be converted to use for regular household trash after April 4.
Bay Disposal has offered to continue curbside recycling collection in Corolla for citizens who subscribe for their service. A minimum of 250 properties must participate. Anyone who is interested may call Currituck Public Works at 252-232-2504.
Currituck County is not unique in taking this approach. Several coastal communities in the region, including towns in Dare County, have eliminated curbside recycling service for the same reasons as Currituck County. This will be an adjustment for citizens in Corolla, but the county’s recycling program will be more effective, and Currituck will save taxpayer dollars.