Beyond the Blue Bin
Local government recycling programs are limited, but additional materials are recyclable if you know where to take them.
Plastic film (grocery bags and other #4 flexible plastics)
These can’t go in your bin because they clog recycling equipment, but
many grocery stores have receptacles for them, as does UNCW’s Recy-cling
Depot. Plastic film includes bubble mailers, zip-top bags, air pillows
for shipping, six-pack rings, and similar items.
New Hanover County collects batteries, including alkaline, zinc-carbon,
zinc-air, lithium, sealed lead-acid, and any type of rechargeable battery,
for recycling at designated bins in public libraries and at the Government
Center as well as at Fort Fisher Aquarium, Cape Fear Community College
and UNCW. Just look for the bright yellow “igloo” receptacles. Neither
Brunswick nor Pender County accepts batteries for recycling. Onslow
County accepts batteries and other household hazardous waste at
semi-annual collection events.
Computers, appliances, phones and other electronics contain some
hazardous materials, so they need to be disassembled for recycling. Some
local governments accept electronics for recycling, as do certain elec-tronics
retailers like Best Buy. Wilmington offers free electronics pickup
to waste collection customers; just call in advance of your regular pickup
day. UNCW also accepts electronics, including cords and string lights, at its
Recycling Depot. The general rule for electronics recyclers is, “If it has an
electrical cord or runs off batteries, we’ll take it!”
The staff at New Hanover County’s materials recovery facility removes
remaining trash from items that have passed through the mechanical
The New Hanover County HazWagon travels to several sites, including
Wrightsville Beach, on a regular basis to collect household hazardous
Household Hazardous Waste
Each county has collection sites for hazardous waste including paints,
acids, chemicals, motor oil, cleaning products, pesticides and more.
Check county websites for drop-off locations and a list of accepted
materials. New Hanover County has a mobile hazardous waste collection
van, the HazWagon, with regular collections at Ogden Park, Wrightsville
Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Check the county website for
times and locations.
Snacks that come in #4 plastic can be recycled with grocery bags.
Foods that come in composite packaging (those that are both shiny and
plastic-y, for example) can’t be processed locally. Stores like Tidal Creek
have special containers, such as those from TerraCycle, to collect snack
packaging. TerraCycle bins can also be ordered for homes or offices.
Clothing and Other Textiles
Textile recycling technology exists, but the collection stream is sepa-rate
from other recyclable materials. If the cloth is too worn or stained to
be used or donated, look for bins from a textile recycler like Green Zone.
There are several textile recycling bins around Wilmington and surround-ing
Food Waste Composting
New Hanover County residents can take unpackaged food waste
to the county’s composter on U.S. Highway 421 or to the HazWagon.
The finished compost is then used in New Hanover County parks and
The Future of Recycling
Individuals, institutions and nonprofits continue to invent new uses
for recycled materials and new avenues for recycling, so stay informed on
what’s available locally, or better yet invent something yourself!
WBM FILE PHOTO
COURTESY OF NEW HANOVER COUNTY