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“Recycle More, Save More” in Greensboro

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Greensboro, N.C. --- The City of Greensboro is now accepting more items for recycling as they kick off their "Recycle More, Save More" campaign this new year.

Solid Waste Division Manager Sheldon Smith said, "The highlights of the program are that we're now going to be accepting pizza boxes. We're actually accepting pots and pans, too, and instead of only plastics # 1 and 2, we're accepting plastics # 1 through 7."

Residents are now also able to recycle milk and juice cartons, too, and plastic containers for foods like butter and yogurt.

"Hopefully with luck down the line, we'll look at even more items," added Smith.

Residents might assume recycle a wider variety of materials will cost more money, but Smith said the City will actually save money.

The new 5-year contract with ReCommunity, the company that handles Greensboro's recyclables, no longer includes processing costs or residue fees, Smith explained.

"That will be at least a million dollar savings to our operating budget and, more importantly, to the citizens of Greensboro... That's the best way to show that we are being wise with their tax dollars and providing excellent service," he said.

Furthermore, he added, residents recycled close to 30,000 tons of materials in 2012.

They are hoping to increase that amount, especially because the city will now make $30 per ton of recycled goods.

Last year, about 10,000 tons of items that could have been recycled ended up thrown away.

This year, city officials hope those lost tons will be recycled and become revenue.

Merritt White lives in Greensboro and has a passion for anything recycled. He even named his bike repair shop Re:cycles.

White explained, "One man's trash is another man's treasure. That's kind of the motto here. We try to make ultimate use of the products we have."

"I was telling one of our customers a minute ago," he continued, "He got some Gatorade from us and tried to throw the bottle away. I was like- hey wait a minute! We gotta recycle that."

White said he and his wife fill up their recycling bins more frequently than their trash cans at home. He and his employees also save any and all metal at Re:cycles.

They have extra bins from the City of Greensboro outside their business to collect cardboard, glass and plastic.

"It's just a couple seconds out of your life to know that you're lessening the impact on the earth's environment. It should mean a lot to you," he added.

Recycling seems to be meaning more and more to people in Greensboro; in four years, Smith said the percentage of citizens who are recycling has jumped from about 30% to 63%.

Smith said despite their expectation to take on more recycled goods with the new contract, recycling collection will continue to be every other week.

"It would take a lot of tons for us to return back to a weekly service, but I would be more than happy to take it back to a weekly if we had the tons to support it."

His goals for the year now include increasing commercial recycling at businesses in Greensboro.

He pointed out that while extra recycle bins do have a $50 per year fee, the city will work with anyone to lower that cost if they are especially interested in extra recycling.