Advocating for recycling has been a continuous thread in ECO’s woven history of protecting natural resources. In 1989 ECO and the League of Women Voters talked the County into hiring its first Recycling Coordinator. In 1993, the Henderson County Landfill was capped and closed. A Transfer Station was set-up to consolidate waste and ship it to Union County, SC. By 1994 County residents had 3 drop-off centers to take their recycling to. However, over the next few years, due to political push-back and poor recycling markets, 2 recycling centers were closed, and the recycling coordinator was deemed unnecessary. In 2005 conditions at the one remaining drop-off center were so deplorable that ECO organized an Ad-hoc Committee for Recycling Reform, which brought together representatives from seven different local organizations, to force political change. The ECO Environmental Education Committee worked with the school system to establish recycling infrastructure at every school.
In 2006 ECO helped the County run an electronics-recycling event that was so successful it almost shut down Highway 176 because of the traffic bringing in recyclables. It took several years of dedicated advocacy for another Recycling Coordinator to be hired. In lieu of building and staffing additional drop-off centers the Commissioners chose to make it mandatory for all private waste haulers to offer to pick up recycling from their customers. So curbside pick-up became available to everyone. Now, although there is only one drop-off center, it is centrally located, clean, and well managed. Not only does the center take electronics for recycling everyday, it will hold scheduled household hazardous waste collections.
Things really started to change in 2009. The city and county started coordinated Recycling collection at the Apple Festival. In 2011, the county opened the new Convenience Center for collecting recyclable waste. In 2012, American Recycling Company opened a Material Recover Facility (MRF) in Candler, NC. Henderson County now sends all of its collected recyclables to the MRF. Also, in 2012, Hendersonville installed permanent recycling bins next to trash collection containers on Main Street.
ECO wants natural resources preserved. The State of North Carolina is requiring that more and more waste items be banned from landfill disposal; Plastic bottles, oil filters, pallets, aluminum cans, used oil, tires, batteries, antifreeze, appliances, and electronics.
The county can be fined for not having a good recycling plan and/or programs in place. Click for NC GS 130A-309.10 state law on recycling.
Henderson County’s New Convenience Center
The Recycling drop-off center (opened in 2011) is located next to the Waste Transfer Station (and the closed landfill) on Stoney Mountain Road. As of 2013, the center now also collects all plastic containers 1-7, gable-top drink containers, and electronics.
Here is a link to a news article about the new Convenience Center.