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Background & Summary of Ordinance

Sort.Recycle.SaveOn August 15, 2000, the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted the Solid Waste Management 10-Year Plan which established a 2006 per capita waste reduction goal of 19% from fiscal year 1999 and a 2010 per capita waste reduction goal of 23% from fiscal year 1999. Recognizing that non-residential waste accounts for 78% of the solid waste, Mecklenburg County appointed a task force to develop a mandatory source separation ordinance for corrugated cardboard and office paper.
Intent of Ordinance:
To reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills. The ordinance specifically targets office paper and corrugated cardboard generated by businesses.
What is required of the business? 
Businesses will be required to keep corrugated cardboard and office paper separate from their trash for the purpose of recycling.  A business entity may either contract with a vendor to pick up their corrugated cardboard and office paper or they may take these materials to a recycling facility including one of the County's recycling drop-off centers. A business is allowed to commingle corrugated cardboard and office paper with the rest of their trash if they are contracting with a certified mixed waste recycler who will do the separation for them. Otherwise, once separated, these materials may not be mixed together.
Who does the ordinance affect? 
Any business that generates 16 cubic yards or greater of trash per week is included in the ordinance unless the business qualifies under one or more of the exemptions (see below).
Who is Exempt? 
  • Businesses that contract less than 16 cubic yards of trash per week.
  • Businesses that generate less than 500 pounds of corrugated cardboard per month will be exempt from separating corrugated cardboard from their solid waste.
  • Businesses that generate less than 500 pounds of office paper per month will be exempt from separating office paper from their solid waste.
  • Source separation is not required if doing business from a temporary location (e.g., street vendor, construction site, outdoor festival)
  • Businesses may apply for an exemption if physical constraints preclude compliance with the ordinance. These will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Businesses may be exempted if compliance with the ordinance would require them to violate codes or regulations such as the Zoning Ordinance.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The County will provide the business with three notices before penalties will be assessed. Each notice will be accompanied by an offer of technical assistance. A civil penalty of $50 per day will be assessed if a business fails to comply with the ordinance within thirty days of receiving a third notice of violation. 

The Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction staff is available to help you with any of your questions. Call the Business Recycling Infoline at 704-432-3200 for consultation, information and assistance.


Office Location:

2145 Suttle Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28208


Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.


General Inquiries
311 or 980-314-3867