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2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Residential Waste

indicatorFor the first time total per capita waste disposed in the landfill is less than one ton per person per year, a 50% decrease from baseline year of 1998.  Residential ​per capita waste disposal however is only slightly decreasing, while residential recycling is relatively flat. 

Per Capita Waste Disposal Rate chart 


Residential Waste and Recycling
Mecklenburg County has made great progress in the per capita waste disposal in landfills.  For the first time per capita waste disposal is less than one ton per person per year for all waste.  Since 2006, the per capita waste disposal for all waste in the County has dropped from 1.9 tons per person to 0.98 tons per person in 2013.  During that same time period residential waste per capita disposal has dropped from 0.50 to 0.37 tons per person, holding close to 0.40 tons per person for the past four years.  
Residential recycling has also remained relatively flat, with only one significant increase in 2010 when the municipalities switched curbside recycling from dual stream to single stream, resulting in a 20% increase.  Since 2010, the per capita recycling has remained between 0.07 and 0.08 tons per person.
There remains great potential to increase residential recycling and reduce residential waste disposal.  All sectors of the residential community do not participate in the current voluntary recycling programs that are offered.  Many multi-family communities do not offer onsite recycling to residents.  Mecklenburg County municipalities offer reliable curbside collection programs and the County has the ability to process more material.  The problem for residential recycling remains changing behavior and extending recycling to the multi-family communities, so that recoverable materials are not sent to the landfill.
For more information contact: Nicholas Crawford, at 
What you can do to increase Recycling:
  • Educate friends and family about the recycling programs offered in your community
  • Participate in your local residential recycling programs and contact your municipality, or visit for more information on what can be recycled 
  • Make recycling a family pastime, enlisting family members to consider if an item could be recycled or reused
  • Use products in containers that can be recycled and that contain recycled content
  • Take items not recyclable curbside to facilities/retailers that accept these items (i.e. plastic film bags to grocery stores, batteries to Mecklenburg County Drop Off Center, CFL lights to retailers)
More information:

Last updated 2/26/14