Greensboro made some major changes to its recycling program this year and some residents still have not gotten the message that glass placed in the brown residential recycling bins ends up at the landfill.

But along with that was a major financial change. Instead of being paid $15 a ton for recyclables only, July 1 Greensboro started paying $30 a ton. July 1, 2020, Greensboro will start paying $60 a ton, and on July 1, 2021, it will increase again – to $90 a ton.

Even though for Greensboro that is a $45 a ton differential to the bad the first year, compared to other cities in the state, Greensboro is way ahead of the game.

The Raleigh City Council, faced with Sonoco canceling its recycling contract altogether, is going to agree to start paying $105 a ton through June 2020. At that point the contract will be renegotiated and the trend is for these contracts to go up, not down.

Cary is paying $90 a ton. Durham about $70 a ton. Orange County, which has the lowest rate in the Triangle area, pays between $45 and $55 a ton, which is still a lot more than Greensboro at $30 a ton.

Also, while Greensboro has a high contamination rate for the recycling program compared to the national average, when compared to Raleigh and Durham, Greensboro’s rate of about 20 percent is not so bad. Durham has a contamination rate of between 15 percent and 20 percent and Raleigh’s is roughly 15 percent.

Contamination is any material in the recycling stream that is not recyclable. If people aren’t sure if an item can be recycled, they are now encouraged to put it in the garbage bin. The slogan being used in the industry now is, “When in doubt- throw it out.”

Glass is still being recycled by Greensboro, just not in the brown recycling bins. For those who want to recycle their glass bottles and jars there are now nine drop off points in the city. These sites are for glass bottles and jars only and not for other recyclables. They are:

  • Fire Station 19, 6900 Downwind Road
  • First Presbyterian Church, 108 W. Fisher Ave.
  • Glenn McNairy Library, 4860 Lake Jeanette Road
  • Kathleen Clay Edwards Library, 1420 Price Park Dr.
  • McGirt-Horton Library, 2501 Phillips Ave.
  • Leonard Recreation Center, 6324 Ballinger Road
  • Medford Service Center, 401 Patton Ave.
  • Solid Waste Transfer Station, 6310 Burnt Poplar Road
  • White Street Landfill, 2503 White St.