To celebrate America Recycles Day this month, Wake County is making recycling all fun and games for November. Starting today, the Waste and Recycling team has launched its annual bingo game to help residents learn about recycling and win some prizes!
“America Recycles Day falls on Nov. 15, but every single day we should be thinking about minimizing waste and recycling better because it impacts generations,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Susan Evans. “As we head into the holiday season, buying large amounts of foods, gifts and other packaged goods, it’s a perfect time for us to get into the habit of wasting less, because it saves us more!”
Wasteful habits, such as buying large amounts of individually packaged foods in nonrecyclable plastics, negatively impact not only the county’s landfill and the environment, but also the wallets of individuals. Nationwide, there are hundreds of billions of dollars lost by households annually in the trash.
Today through Nov. 30, Wake County residents can download their bingo game card from wake.gov/ardbingo and complete activities that will help them learn about best recycling practices and available resources. Some activities include taking a virtual tour of the local landfill, avoiding the use of plastic straws and visiting the new Recycling 101 webpage, wake.gov/recycling101.
Those who complete a bingo card will receive a reusable stainless steel straw with a cleaning brush and pouch. Disposable plastic straws have a huge impact on the environment. In the U.S. alone, people throw away millions of straws daily, which can last 200 years, polluting waterways and sickening animals.
In addition to the reusable straw, everyone who submits their bingo card also has a chance to win a free composting bin, worth more than $50. One-third of the waste filling up our Wake County landfill is food waste that could be composted.
Wake County residents are also encouraged to take the pledge to reduce waste, recycle more and purchase recyclable goods. It's estimated that every resident in North Carolina produced 1.3 tons of waste last year, according to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality – that’s 2,600 lbs. of waste for every person! The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 75% of the waste produced in the U.S. is recyclable, yet nationally only a little more than 30% of waste is recycled.
There are 11 convenience centers across Wake County where residents can drop off recyclables and trash. Improper recycling, also known as contamination, costs more money, as the process of sorting mixed recycling can be delayed by improper recycling and can even endanger recycling facility staff. The county is required to pay a fee to its recycling processor if the contamination rate exceeds 10%. The current contamination rate in Wake County is 15.8%.
The America Recycles Day Bingo game is just one of the tools helping residents learn more about the county’s recycling programs. Wake County’s Waste and Recycling team has developed multiple outreach programs to educate communities about how to compost and recycle correctly to reduce contamination at Wake County’s recycling facilities.
Families are encouraged to complete activities together, as only one bingo card can be submitted per household. Cards must be submitted by Nov. 30 to obtain prizes.
Visit Wake County’s Waste and Recycling page to learn more about the various recycling resources available near you.