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Charlotte Talks Earth Day Edition: Answering Your Questions About Recycling

Mecklenburg County

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and we tackle something that came out of the environmental movement by going into everything you want to know about recycling.

Does the stuff we put in the recycling bin actually get recycled, or does it wind up in a landfill? What exactly can I put in my curbside bin? Recycling has been around awhile, but people continue to have questions about what is and is not recyclable.

That confusion is costing us. In fact, improper recycling costs Mecklenburg County taxpayers over $1.5 million a year. So-called "wishful recycling" – tossing something in the bin that you hope is recyclable but really isn’t – also puts the global recycling system at risk and sends more of our unwanted junk to the landfill.

It doesn’t help that the rules keep changing. For instance, did you know you can no longer recycle some kinds of plastics, like yogurt cups, in Mecklenburg County? We’ll talk about recycling in Charlotte and answer your questions on this Earth Day edition of Charlotte Talks.


Jeff Smithberger, director, Solid Waste Management, Mecklenburg County

Beth Porter, author of "Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine: Sorting Out the Recycling System." She is also a campaigns director at Green America, a national nonprofit focused on environmental sustainability.

Recycling resources from Mecklenburg County:

Credit Mecklenburg County

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.