SolidWasteHeader

A-Z Recyclery

Purpose

This directory is to help users properly dispose of, or divert items from, landfill disposal. Orange County Solid Waste Management does not promote any particular business. This is only to serve as a guide and is not necessarily complete. However, if you would like an item added, or if you know of an organization or individual who would accept items for reuse, repair or recycling that belong on this list, let us know by emailing recycling.

Reuse

Reuse is better than recycling! For used but useful items consider offering them for reuse at:

A-Z Recyclery Guide


Aerosol Cans

Empty aerosol spray cans may be recycled curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with Bottles, Cans, Jugs and Jars. Do not crush as you would other cans. The spray can must be EMPTY. If it is not empty, either use up the contents or dispose in your regular trash. If it contains hazardous material, bring it to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection.

Aluminum Cans

NC State Law prohibits landfilling of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. They must be recycled! Recycle aluminum cans curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with Bottles, Cans, Jugs and Jars.

These local companies will give "cash for cans":

  • Wagner Metal Salvage
    1611 Hawkins Road, Hurdle Mills, NC 27541
    Phone: 919-732-7547
  • Foss Recycling
    915 Riddle Road, Durham, NC 27713
    Phone: 919-596-2108
  • Other recycling markets can be found by visiting the Directory of Markets for Recyclable Materials.

Aluminum Foil / Pans / Pie Tins

Recycle curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with Bottles, Cans, Jugs and Jars.

Rinse clean before recycling. Foil with excessive food should be disposed of as garbage.

Aluminum Scrap and Siding

All types of clean metal must be recycled in Orange County. Visit the Construction and Demolition page for more information on the Regulated Recyclable Materials Ordinance.

Residents can recycle up to 1/2 pick-up truckload of scrap metal per visit at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Residents and businesses can bring aluminum scrap and siding along with other metals free of charge to the Orange County Landfill. Painted metal is okay. Other metal recycling markets can be found by visiting the Directory of Markets for Recyclable Materials.

Antifreeze

Residents can recycle used antifreeze at any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Disposing of used antifreeze and other automotive fluids (used motor oil, transmission and brake fluids) in storm drains (sewers) or drainage ditches is harmful to our waterways. Antifreeze, particularly the ethylene glycol type, when poured out or spilled on the ground can be highly toxic to animals and its sweet taste attracts them. Spent antifreeze may also contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium and benzene. It can also be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.

Appliances

Small household appliances in WORKING condition can be brought to a Salvage Shed located at one of the following Solid Waste Convenience Centers:

  • Eubanks Road (1 mile west of Highway 86, Chapel Hill)
  • Ferguson Road (near intersection of Old Greensboro Road)
  • High Rock Road (1/4 mile west of Mill Creek Road)
  • Walnut Grove Church Road (1/4 mile west of intersection with Highway 86 North)
  • Or to resale shops:
    • PTA Thrift Shops
      Benefits local schools. Donation points are located at the following addresses in Orange County:
      • 103 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510
        Phone: 919-967-1272
      • Donation Center at Village Plaza
        99 S Elliott Road. Chapel Hill, NC 27514
        Phone: 919-942-9412
    • Club Nova
      Benefits the mental health community. Accept small appliances such as toasters, blenders, microwaves, etc. Seek store employee for help when dropping off items.
      103-C West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
      Phone: 919-967-6985
      Store Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

    • Goodwill Industries
      Benefits individuals working to overcome employment challenges. Appliances must work.
      • 520 Hampton Point, Hillsborough, NC 27278
        Phone: 919-245-1209, ext. 98
      • 598 Deerfield Trace, Mebane, NC 27302
        Phone: 919-304-8890
      • This location will also pick up large loads:
        4318 Garrett Road, Durham, NC 27707
        Phone: 919-493-1182
    • Habitat for Humanity Durham/Orange ReStore
      Accepts working appliances less than 10 years old.
      5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard
      Durham, NC 27707
      Phone: 919-403-8668

Appliances in Non-Working Condition

Residents can bring up to two large appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators to any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers for recycling. Smaller non-working appliances can be recycled with "Scrap Metal".

Residents and businesses can take large appliances such as washers or refrigerators to the Orange County Landfill for recycling. There is no cost or limit to the number of appliances recycled at the Orange County Landfill location.

Architectural Salvage

Bring materials in good condition to one of the re-use businesses below. Orange County residents can bring up to one truck load per day of building materials, construction or remodeling waste from their homes (no contract waste) to any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Clean wood, scrap metal, corrugated cardboard and appliances must be recycled.

  • Barnstar Vintage
    3809 E Greensboro/Chapel Hill Road, Snow Camp, NC 27349-9841
    Phone: 336-376-5694
    Email Tom Lagarde

  • Steve Peters
    Buyer of old house parts, doors, mantels, columns, etc. Drop-off on location between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. everyday; must call ahead for approval.
    619 Foster Street, Durham, NC
    Phone: 919-599-0124

  • Habitat for Humanity Durham/Orange ReStore
    Accepts doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, light fixtures, door knobs, tile, hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, toilets, bathtubs, lumber. Call ahead or visit their website for specific criteria.
    5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707
    Phone: 919-403-8668

  • TROSA
    Accepts lumber in good shape. Also accepts windows, doors, etc. depending on specific type, size, and condition. Donations can be brought to warehouse location - call ahead for approval. Collection service is available depending on the location and amount of material to be collected.
    1820 James Street, Durham, NC
    Phone: 919-419-1059

  • ReUse Warehouse
    Accepts overbuy items from contractors. Offers homeowners a tax deduction if they would like to donate materials through the ReUse Warehouse partnership with The Reuse People of America. They will take salvaged materials on consignment, and work with homeowners and contractors on deconstruction projects.
    1400 E Geer Street, Durham, NC 27704
    919-452-9129

Asphalt

Old asphalt, mostly free of contamination, can be brought to an asphalt company for rebatching/recycling.

  • REA Construction
    3010 Gresham Lake Road, Raleigh, NC 27615
    Phone: 919-876-4550
  • Orange County Landfill
    Accepting aggregate material in basketball sized pieces or smaller. Call ahead to make delivery arrangements.
    1514 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
    Phone: 919-968-2788

    Visit the Directory of Markets for Recyclable Materials, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Education and Outreach at for a list of asphalt recyclers.

Audio and Video Cassette Tapes 

  • GreenDisk
    Also accepts other electronic media such as CD's and DVD's. Purchase of a shipping container known as a "Techno-Trashcan" is necessary.
    2200 Burlington, Columbia, MO, 65202
    Phone: 800-305-3475

Ballasts

Fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) ballasts contain a small capacitor that may contain PCB's, or a less hazardous chemical, DEPH. Residents and businesses of Orange County can bring ballasts to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

Batteries

Orange County residents can bring any type of battery to any of the Orange County Solid Waste Waste and Recycling Centers for recycling. Look for red, igloo-shaped bins at each convenience centers for collection of all types of dry-cell batteries such as those from hearing aids, cell phones, cordless phones, cameras, power tools, flashlights, toys and other battery-operated or rechargeable devices.

Waste and Recycling Centers also accept lead-acid batteries such as those used for autos, boats, motorcycles and lawnmowers. Please do not place lead-acid batteries in the red dry-cell battery receptacle. See site attendant for assistance.

All household batteries are accepted at the Orange County Household Hazardous Waste facilities and at the following businesses:

Rechargeable batteries can also be dropped-off for recycling at:

Bicycles

  • ReCYCLEry
    108 N Graham Street, Chapel Hill, NC
    Phone: 919-533-9196
    Email Bikes

    The ReCYCLEry is a direct-service not-for-profit organization whose mission is to encourage the use of the bicycle as a mode of transportation and recreation. This mission is accomplished through:
    • Hands-on skill building to teach people how to repair and maintain bicycles
    • Outreach to under-served communities with these services
    • Salvaging bicycles, ensuring that anyone who needs a bicycle can earn one

Bicycle Tires

Recycle with automotive tires at Solid Waste Convenience Centers, or the Orange County Landfill.

Books

Soft cover "paperback" books can be recycled with All Paper curbside and at apartment complexes. Paperbacks should be recycled with Mixed Paper at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Hard cover books must have the covers removed, and then the interior pages can be recycled with Mixed Paper.

Reusable books in good condition can be brought to any of the Salvage Sheds located at one of the following Orange County Waste and Recycling Centers:

Or to charities that benefit Orange County entities:

  • PTA Thrift Shops
    Benefits local schools. Donation points are located at the following addresses in Orange County:
    • 103 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510
      Phone: 919-967-1272
      Hours: Monday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • 103 S Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
      Phone: 919-942-9412
      Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Club Nova
    Benefits the local mental health community. Accept small appliances such as toasters, blenders, microwaves, etc. Seek store employee for help when dropping off items.
    103-C West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
    Phone: 919-967-6985
    Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  • Book Harvest
    Collects new and gently used children’s books and places them in the hands and homes of children who need them. Visit their website for donation locations throughout Orange County.

  • Better World Books
    Has a drop-off box at University Mall, Estes Drive, Chapel Hill across from A Southern Season.

Some used books in good condition may be sold to used book dealers including:

  • Flyleaf Books
    No textbooks or encyclopedias, please. See Textbook listing.
    752 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill NC 27514
    Phone: 919-942-7373

Bubble Wrap

  • UPS Stores
    Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows
    • Fordham Square
      1289 N Fordham Boulevard Suite A, Chapel Hill, NC
      Phone: 919-932-9117
    • Harris Teeter North Shopping Center
      1818 Airport Road, Chapel Hill, NC
      Phone: 919-960-0900
    • Carrboro Plaza (next to Food Lion)
      Highway 54 and Main Street, Carrboro, NC
      Phone: 919-918-7161
    • Meadowmont
      510 Meadowmont Village Circle,Chapel Hill, NC
      Phone: 919-942-6262

Buttons

Caps and Lids

Plastic caps from bottles can be recycled with plastic bottles. Leave your cap on! Empty and squash the bottle flat, then put the cap back on to recycle them curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with bottles, cans, jugs and jars. If the cap is not attached to a bottle, it will probably get lost- drop out of the bin or truck and end up as litter, or fall through sorting screens at recycling material processing facilities before it can be captured and baled to go to a re-manufacturer. If you collect a lot of plastic caps and lids together, you can put them inside a yogurt container and recycle them with Rigid Plastics at solid waste convenience centers, not at the curb.
For more information on plastic cap recycling, visit the FAQ on the Association of Post-Consumer Plastic Recyclers website.

You can also bring loose plastic caps to be recycled at:

  • Aveda Institute
    University Place, 201 S. Estes Dr., Suite 200-B, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    Phone: 919-960-4769

You can also leave metal lids on glass jars, but it is considered a contaminate to glass recyclers. They can remove it and will try to sell it as scrap metal, but it costs more for them to separate it from the glass and process it separately then the cheap metal the lid is made with is really worth. The best things to do with your metal lids is to put them in an otherwise empty metal food can (this is for lids removed from the can with a pop top or can opener as well as lids from glass bottles and jars), and pinch the top of the can shut so the lids won't fall out and recycle them curbside, at apartment complexes at 24-Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with bottles, cans, jugs and jars.

Car Seats

Car seats have too much metal to be recycled with rigid plastics and to much plastic to be recycled with scrap metal. Public Health laws prevent selling them for reuse so they cannot be donated to local charities even if they are in good condition. Please discard in your regular trash.

Carpet/Carpet Pads

Good, clean carpet:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
    Accepts clean rugs, not carpeting, in sizes 8'x10' or less.
    5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard
    Durham, NC 27707
    Phone: 919-403-8668

Old carpet pads:

Cartridges

Copier, Fax, Laser, Toner cartridges can all be recycled with Orange County's electronics recycling program. Look for the black trailers at the Solid Waste Convenience Centers and the Orange County Landfill.

See Computer Equipment for more information.

  • Best Buy
    Has kiosks inside the door for the collection of ink and toner cartridges and rechargeable batteries.
    1800 Franklin Street, Number 27, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
  • Staples

Ceiling Tiles

  • Armstrong World Industries
    Armstrong World Industries recycles ceiling tiles for free from large commercial endeavors. The company will pay the cost of shipping the old ceiling tiles to its plant. Neither the old nor the new replacement ceilings need to be Armstrong products to qualify for the program. There must be at least 10,000 square feet of tile and material should be neatly palletized to qualify for free pickup.
    Lancaster, PA
    Phone: 877-276-7876

Cell phones

Recycle old cell phones and chargers with Orange County's Electronics recycling program at all five of the Solid Waste and Recycling Centers and at the Orange County Landfill. Remove cell phone batteries first and recycle separately at all Solid Waste and Recycling Centers or at the Hazardous Household Waste Collection Facility.

  • The Compass Center (formerly the Family Violence Prevention Center)
    Donated phones are provided to victims of domestic violence so they can call 911 in an emergency situation, or the phones will be recycled through the Shelter Alliance and the Compass Center receives the proceeds. Please deactivate service before dropping off phones. Include phone chargers, if possible. 
    210 Henderson Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    Phone: 919-968-4610

    Phones to benefit the Compass Center can be dropped off at the following collection sites:
    • UNC School of Law
    • UNC Women's Hospital Beacon Program office
    • Hedrick Building at UNC’s Friday Center
    • Whole Foods Market, Chapel Hill

Email program manager Conni Rivers to locate a cell phone donation box at your business.

Or recycle cell phones through:

Chemicals

  • Residents should bring household chemicals to the Household Hazardous Waste collection facility. Bring paint, solvents, cleaning, automotive, pool and other caustic, toxic, flammable or otherwise hazardous chemicals to the collection.
  • Businesses that produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month can use the Household Hazardous Waste collection as well. Visit the website for drop-off specifications.
  • Businesses that produce more than 220 pounds per month of hazardous material must adhere to State and Federal regulations. Visit the NC Directory of Recyclable Materials for an extensive list of private companies that manage hazardous material.

Christmas Light Strings

Recycle with Electronics at Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Clothing

  • PTA Thrift Shops
    Benefits local schools. Worn out clothing or other textiles not suitable to go directly on the sales floor is sold by the pound by the PTA. Bag separately, keep clean and dry, and mark as 'rags', then bring them to one of the donation points.Donation points are located at the following addresses in Orange County:
    • 103 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510
      Phone: 919-967-1272
      Hours: Monday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • 103 S Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
      Phone: 919-942-9412
      Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Walnut Grove Solid Waste Convenience Center 
    North of Hillsborough accepts clean used clothing, bedding, shoes, belts and bags. Torn clothing is OK so long as it is clean and has no musty odor. Walnut Grove Church Road is the only Convenience Center with a clothing drop-off receptacle.

  • Club Nova
    Benefits members of the local mental health community.
    103-C West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
    Phone: 919-967-6985

  • Goodwill Industries
    Benefits individuals working to overcome employment challenges. Appliances must work.
    • 520 Hampton Point, Hillsborough, NC 27278
      Phone: 919-245-1209, ext. 98
    • 598 Deerfield Trace, Mebane, NC 27302
      Phone: 919-304-8890
    • This location will also pick up large loads:
      4318 Garrett Road, Durham, NC 27707
      Phone: 919-493-1182
  • Orange Congregations in Mission
    300 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278
    Phone: 919-732-6194
    Donations Accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Coat Hangers

  • Reuse stores (see Clothing) and tailor shops will often accept hangers of all types so long as they are in usable condition. 
  • Bent or broken wire hangers can be recycled with Scrap Metal at Solid Waste Convenience Centers.
  • Opaque polypropylene plastic hangers can be recycled with Rigid Plastics at 24-hourRecycling Drop-off Sites and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.
  • Most dry-cleaners accept wire hangers in good condition for recycling or reuse.
    • Cole Park Cleaners
      11552 U.S. Highway 15-501, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
      Phone: 919-967-7628

    • Dry Clean Warehouse
      1221 Martin Luther King Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
      Phone: 919-929-6300

      Accepts plastic hangers as well as wire hangers for reuse:
    • A Cleaner World
      1210 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
      Phone: 919-929-5554

    • A Cleaner World
      1129 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
      Phone: 919-933-9405

Compact Disks, Computer Disks and DVDs

Reuse is better than recycling! Many music stores will purchase used CDs and DVD's. Electronic media such as floppy disks, DVD's, CD's and jewel cases can be recycled at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Look for the black trailer labeled for electronics recycling. No Audio or Video Tapes please, they get tangled in recycling equipment.

You can collect electronic media at your home, office or school and recycle it through:

  • GreenDisk
    Purchase of a shipping container known as a "Techno-Trashcan" is necessary.
    2200 Burlington, Columbia, MO, 65202
    Phone: 800-305-3475

  • CDs are made of polycarbonate, a high-quality plastic, with a metal coating. CDs can be recycled, but only a small fraction is actually usable. There is little concern about putting them in landfills because they aren't considered hazardous and it is estimated as many as 30 million CDs are tossed in the garbage each month. Recycled polycarbonate is often used in appliances and cars.

Computer Equipment

North Carolina State law bans the landfilling of computers and televisions, therefore they must be recycled rather than disposed. Residents can bring used electronics to any of the five Solid Waste Convenience Centers located throughout the county to be recycled. Look for the black labeled trailers.

Orange County businesses and non-residential institutions such as churches, schools and non-profits should bring their unwanted computers to the electronics recy cling trailer located at the Orange County Landfill during landfill hours of operation, Monday-Friday from 8a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m - noon. Anyone bringing electronics to be recycled at the landfill location must stop at the scalehouse first. If you have more than 10 computers to recycle, please call in advance so we can process the larger load right away.

  • Battery operated toys (batteries must be removed and recycled separately)
  • Cassette players
  • CD players
  • Cell phones (batteries should be removed and recycled separately)
  • Electronic media such as floppy disks, DVD's, CD's, and their jewel cases (please, no audio or video cassette tapes)
  • Fax machines
  • Laser disc players
  • Photocopiers (toner cartridges also accepted)
  • Radios and stereo receivers
  • Telephones and telephone systems
  • Televisions
  • Toner cartridges
  • VCRs all computers and computer peripherals (monitors, mice, keyboards, printers, speakers)

Services are free to Orange County residents, businesses and non-residential institutions such as churches, schools and non-profits.

If you wish to donate your usable computer to a charity, visit these websites for more information: 

  • Cristina Foundation
  • You can sell, donate or recycle your old electronics on Ebay through the Rethink Initiative:
    Ebay

Concrete, Brick and Cinderblock

Construction Waste

Visit the Construction and Demolition page for complete information on how to manage construction waste in Orange County. If you have building materials suitable for reuse, please visit the Architectural Salvage section.

Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated Cardboard is banned from landfill disposal in Orange County and therefore must be recycled! Always empty and flatten cardboard boxes, and remove and discard all packing material.

Residents can recycle corrugated cardboard curbside. Please follow these specifications when recycling cardboard at the curb:

  • No more than 3 feet by 3 inches in size (hopper on the recycling truck is only 3' in length)
  • If you recycle at the curb using an 18 gallon bin, you can recycle up to ten pieces at the curb per household, per collection.
  • If you recycle at the curb using a 95 gallon rolling cart, recycle as much cardboard as will fit loosely inside the cart. If materials get stuck inside the cart, they will not be recycled.

Most apartment complexes have separate dumpsters for corrugated cardboard. Residents can use any of the County's 24-hour recycling drop-off locations or Solid Waste Convenience Centers for large loads of cardboard.

Businesses with 50 boxes or less per week can use 24-hour recycling drop-off locations, or bring unlimited amounts to be recycled at the Orange County Landfill during normal hours of operation at no charge.

Pizza boxes are recyclable at the curb, apartment and at drop-off sites so long as they are completely empty and free of grease and food. If the bottom has cheese adhered to it, separate the top and recycle that. Toss the cheesy side in the trash or compost it instead!

Crayons

Cups, Tubs and Buckets

Recycle small plastic cups, tubs, and buckets Number 2, Number 4 and Number 5 in mixed "single stream" recycling, at the curb, in carts at apartment complexes, at drop off sites, and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

You can also recycle large bulky Number 2, Number 4 and Number 5 rigid plastics at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Look for the purple dumpsters marked "Rigid Plastics" and visit the Rigid Plastics web page for a complete list of items accepted in this collection. No plastics Number 1, Number 3, Number 6 or Number 7 in this collection please.

Uncoated paper cups can be composted or recycled with "All Paper" curbside, and apartment complexes. Uncoated paper cups should be recycled with Mixed Paper at drop-offs locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. However, cups with a plastic or waxy liner should be discarded in your regular trash,

Compostable cups (Number 7 PLA) are not recyclable and will only compost in a commercial composting program. They will not compost in a landfill either, where they do produce methane through anaerobic decomposition.

Number 1 PET or Number 6 PS "Solo" cups commonly used for social gatherings are not recyclable. Please discard them in the regular trash.

If your place of business or other gathering place produces a large number of styrofoam cups (Number 6 EPS), you can purchase a "Recycle-pak" shipping box to recycle the foam cups with Dart Container Company. Details are on their website.

If your organization is hosting an event using disposable cups, contact our office for guidance on reducing waste.

Diesel Fuel

Recycle with used motor oil at any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers or the Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

Drywall / Gypsum Wallboard

  • McGill Environmental
    Can accept clean, unpainted drywall as an ingredient in their compost mix. A tip fee is charged based on volume. Call for a quote, but it is generally much less than the landfill tip fee.
    Moncure, NC
    Phone: 919-362-1788

Egg Cartons

Paper cartons can be recycled with all other clean dry paper that tears at the curb, at apartment complexes, at drop-offs locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Donate clean egg cartons of any type to egg growers at your local farmers market for them to reuse. Styrofoam egg cartons, as well as other food service styrofoam (Number 6 EPS), can also be recycled

  • Dart Container
    3219 Wesleyan Road, Randleman NC 27317
    Phone: 336-495-1101

Electronic Equipment and Scrap

Remember that reuse is the highest form of recycling! Many non-profit and charitable organizations are able to accept used but usable electronic equipment, and offer them to schools, community organizations, and needy individuals. By reusing electronic equipment for its intended purpose, its useful life is extended and those who may not be able to afford equipment are able to use it. An additional benefit of reusing electronics is the conservation of energy that it would take to manufacture new equipment.

For a list of local charities that accept used computers, go to Computer Equipment. For a statewide list of electronic equipment and scrap recyclers visit the Directory of Markets for Recyclable Materials, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. Sell, donate or recycle your old electronics on Ebay through the Rethink Initiative

Orange County residents and businesses can recycle their unwanted computers and other electronics to the Orange County Landfill, 1514 Eubanks Road Chapel Hill. Anyone bringing electronics to be recycled at the landfill location must stop at the scalehouse first.

Residents can recycle used electronics at any of the five Solid Waste Convenience Centers located throughout the county. Look for the black metal trailers labeled for electronics recycling.

Electronics in good working condition can be dropped off for reuse at the four centers where there are Salvage Sheds:

  • Eubanks Road
  • Ferguson Road
  • Walnut Grove Church Road
  • High Rock Road

The electronics recycling program accepts the following materials:

  • Battery operated toys (batteries must be removed and recycled separately)
  • Cassette players
  • CD jewel cases
  • CD players
  • Cell phones (batteries should be removed and recycled at a Solid Waste Convenience Centers)
    compact discs
  • Electronic media such as floppy disks, DVD's, CD's, and their jewel cases (please, no audio or video cassette tapes)
  • Fax machines
  • Laser disc players
  • Photocopiers (toner cartridges also accepted)
  • Radios and stereo receivers
  • Telephones and telephone systems
  • Televisions
  • Toner cartridges
  • VCRs all computers and computer peripherals (monitors, mice, keyboards, printers, speakers)

Services are free to Orange County residents, businesses and non-residential institutions such as churches, schools, and non-profits.

Eyeglasses

  • Contact your local Lion's Club. 

Also:

  • LensCrafters
    Any eyeglass frames including those with missing or broken lenses, missing arms etc. Sunglasses, reading glasses, all eyeglasses welcome.

Film Canisters

Fire Extinguishers

Households may bring fire extinguishers to the to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection. Businesses should consider purchasing rechargeable and serviceable fire extinguishers instead of cheaper "disposable" fire extinguishers. While a fire extinguisher that is rechargeable costs more in the beginning, over time a quality rechargeable fire extinguisher with a metal head will likely save you money.

Fluorescent Bulbs

Includes compact fluorescent (twirly) lights also known as CFLs, circular fluorescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes and ballasts. These lights may contain mercury, a hazardous material, though reduced mercury content fluorescent lamps are now available. They typically have a green metal end caps. Orange County residents and businesses that produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per year can bring fluorescent and other items containing mercury to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Eubanks Road Residents only are permitted to use the Household Hazardous Waste facility located at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center. Do not break fluorescent tubes!

For information on CFLs including how to properly manage broken fluorescent bulbs, see FAQ (PDF) by the EPA's Energy Star office.

Businesses and institutions are required by law to recycle fluorescent lamps if they produce more than a certain amount per year. For a list of companies that manage fluorescent lights and other mercury containing items, visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Materials, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach.

Furniture

Reusable furniture in good condition can be brought to any of the Salvage Sheds located at one of the following Solid Waste Convenience Centers:

  • Eubanks Road (1 mile west of Highway 86, Chapel Hill)
  • Ferguson Road (near intersection of Old Greensboro Road)
  • High Rock Road (1/4 mile west of Mill Creek Road)
  • Walnut grove Church Road (1/4 mile west of intersection with Highway 86 North)

Or to other charities:

  • PTA Thrift Shops
    • 103 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510
      Phone: 919-967-1272
      Hours: Monday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • 103 S Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
      Phone: 919-942-9412
      Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Club Nova
    Benefits the mentally ill
    103-C West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
    Phone: 919-967-6985

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
    5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707
    Phone: 919-403-8668

  • Orange Congregations in Mission
    300 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278
    Phone: 919-732-6194
    Donations Accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

  • Goodwill Industries
    Benefits individuals working to overcome employment challenges. Appliances must work.
    • 520 Hampton Point, Hillsborough, NC 27278
      Phone: 919-245-1209, ext. 98
    • 598 Deerfield Trace, Mebane, NC 27302
      Phone: 919-304-8890
    • This location will also pick up large loads:
      4318 Garrett Road, Durham, NC 27707
      Phone: 919-493-1182
  • TROSA
    Free pick-up is available for sellable donations.
    313 Foster Street, Durham, NC 27701
    Phone: 919-682-1495, ext. 1608

Gasoline

Bring to the Household Hazardous Waste collection. Do not mix with oil or other liquids.

Glass

All glass bottles and jars can be recycled with mixed "single stream" recycling curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers . Do not recycle plate glass, mirrors, crockery, Pyrex, or lab glass! These are contaminates to the glass recycling process. You can leave the lids on glass bottles and jars however.

For a list of markets for plate glass, mirrors or lab glass, visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Materials, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach.

Grease, Fats and Oil

Orange County residents and businesses with 15 gallons or less of used cooking/fryer oil can bring it to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection. Used cooking oil is also accepted at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center. Must be liquid oil only, no water, bacon grease or lard.

Restaurant grease and used cooking oil:

  • Carolina Biodiesel
    1410 Cross Street, Durham, NC 27701
    Phone: 919-957-1500
    Carolina Biodiesel Website

  • Piedmont Biofuels
    220 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC 27312
    Phone: 919-321-8260

Greeting Cards

Reuse cards by cutting off the front and mailing as a post card. Greeting Cards can be recycled with "all paper" curbside and at apartment complexes, at 24-hour recycling drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. If greeting cards have a battery powered audible message, please remove the battery and recycle separately.

Grocery Bags

Minimize paper and plastic bags by using cloth bags when you shop. If you forget your bag, reuse the bag you get from the store over and over. There is virtually no environmental benefit of choosing paper over plastic. The right answer to "Paper or Plastic?" is "Neither"! See this video for inspiration.

If you do choose paper or plastic, they can both be recycled, but in different places.

Paper bags can be recycled curbside and at apartment complexes. They can also be recycled with Corrugated cardboard at 24-hour recycling drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Plastic bags and other plastic film can be recycled at most local grocery stores, but they must be clean and dry. Plastic bags include newspaper bags, bread bags, and dry-cleaner bags, plastic film includes drink and toilet tissue overwrap. Learn more from Plastic Film Recycling website.

Do not try to recycle plastic bags in any of Orange County's recycling programs, They get caught in recycling equipment, can break or slow down operations, and are an absolute no-no. Bring to grocery stores instead. Grocery bags and other plastic film can also be recycled at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center only.

Junk Mail

Junk Mail and other mixed paper can be recycled with all clean, dry paper that tears curbside, at apartment complexes, commercial collections, 24-hour recycling drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Use the website Free My Mailbox to get off unwanted delivery lists for mass mailings, catalogs and phone books.

The Center for a New American Dream also has great tips for reducing junk mail and avoiding other types of advertising.

"Do not rent, trade, or sell my name or address." Say these words every time you order from a catalog or purchase a gift subscription over the phone or online. Watch for "subscription details" that might include sharing your address with other related entities. Write the words next to your name and address every time you fill a warranty, membership or subscription form. This will help prevent your name and address from being spread to mail order lists.

Land Clearing Debris

Stumps, root balls, dirt and debris derived from land clearing activity can be taken to the Orange County Construction and Demolition Landfill. Vegetative waste (trunk and up) can be disposed of with yard waste at Solid Waste Convenience Centers if it is from residential sources, and at the Orange County yard waste facility located at the landfill on 1514 Eubanks Road Tipping fees vary and are reduced for separated loads.

Visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Material, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach for a list of locations permitted to accept land clearing debris.

Magazines

Recycle glossy magazines with all other clean dry paper that tears at the curb and at apartment complexes. 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Unstaffed recycling drop-offs locations also have "Magazine Racks" to trade used magazines in good condition. Check with your physician's office, health clubs, and local elementary schools to see if they can reuse your magazines.

Use the website Free My Mailbox to be removed from unwanted delivery lists for mass mailing, catalogs and phone books.

Mattresses

Residents of the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough should contact their town Public Works Department for details on curbside collection of "Bulky Items".

Mattresses and box springs are not permitted at County Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Orange County residents can dispose of mattresses and box springs at the Orange County Landfill during hours of operation for $10 per piece. Clean and dry mattresses received at this location will be recycled.

Households can also donate lightly used mattresses and box springs to:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Durham and Orange Counties
    Mattresses and box springs cannot have any rips, stains, structural damage, or significant odors. They will be heat sanitized so pathogens, dust mites, and bed bugs are destroyed prior to resale. Mattresses and box springs can be dropped of at the store during hours of operation. The Habitat Restore will only pick-up mattresses and box springs from homes if they are brought to the first floor and come with another large furniture item(s).
    5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard,Durham, NC 27707
    Phone: 919-403-8668
    Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Institutions can recycle high volumes of mattresses at:

  • Purpose Recycling
    2717 Patterson Street, Greensboro, NC 27407
    Phone: 336-478-8662
    Cellphone: 336-337-2141

Metal / Scrap Metal

Clean metal must be recycled in Orange County. Visit the Construction and Demolition page for more information on the Regulated Recyclable Materials Ordinance. Residents can recycle up to 1/2 pick-up truckload of scrap metal per visit at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Residents and businesses can bring unlimited quantities for free to the Orange County Landfill.

Clean metal is defined as material that is substantially metal in nature. e.g. siding, steel studs, banding from around lumber or gutters. Items containing small amounts of metal such as plastic ductwork with wound wire reinforcing are not considered scrap metal.

Mercury Containing Materials

Common household items such as fluorescent bulbs, ballasts, old thermostats and thermometers can contain mercury. Residents and non-residential entities that produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month should bring these items to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Eubanks Road Residents only are permitted to use the Household Hazardous Waste facility located at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center.

Businesses that wish to properly dispose of materials containing mercury should visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Material, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach for a list of certified companies.

Mixed Paper

Mixed Paper, such as junk mail, school and office paper, notebooks (bindings removed), cereal boxes (liner removed), flat-topped (aseptic) cartons and gable-topped cartons, 6 and 12-pack boxes and other paper packaging can be recycled with mixed "single stream" recycling at the curb and at the curb and at apartment complexes. 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. No paper drink cups, tissue paper, or paper towels, please.

Mobile Homes / Manufactured homes

Mobile Homes are accepted at the Orange County Landfill for $200 per section or single wide. Call ahead to make a delivery appointment.

Mobile Home recyclers are also listed in the Directory of Markets for Recycled Material, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. Visit their webpage about House Bill 1134 that relates to abatement and recycling of mobile homes and funds available

Newspaper (and all inserts that come with the newspaper)

Recycle newspapers and inserts with all paper at the curb and at apartment complexes. 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Please remove and discard any plastic bag overwrap. Plastic bags can be recycled at local grocery stores, but we do not want plastic bags in the County's recycling programs.

Oil

Residents can recycle used motor oil at any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Materials accepted with motor oil in the used oil tank:

  • "Coleman" fuel
  • Diesel fuel
  • Gear oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Kerosene

No used cooking oil, gasoline, antifreeze, solvents, parts cleaner or mixed gas. Bring those materials to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection instead.

Disposing of used motor oil and other automotive fluids (antifreeze and transmission and brake fluids) in storm drains or drainage ditches is harmful to our waterways. Storm drains do not drain into a water treatment plant! They drain directly into our streams, lakes, and estuaries. Pouring oil in a sanitary sewer is not acceptable either as wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to handle motor oil and it clogs pipes along the way.

Used motor oil, by NC State Law, may not be thrown away with regular trash. Disposing of used oil improperly is both an environmental and health hazard. Used oil contains toxins and heavy metals and can contaminate surface water, groundwater, and soils. It takes 42 gallons of crude oil to make two and a half quarts of gallons of refined motor oil but only 1 gallon of 2.5 gallons of used motor oil to make two and a half quarts of gallons of refined motor oil.

Contact these businesses for information on recycling large amounts of used motor oil:

Call the Chapel Hill Stormwater Hotline 919-969-RAIN to report stormwater pollution or to confidentially report water polluters dumping into storm drains. Call 911 if after hours for emergency report.

Elsewhere in Orange County:

  • Division of Water Quality (DWQ)
    Regional office for Chatham, Durham, Orange, Wake Counties
    919-791-4200 during business hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
    Nights and weekends, call the DWQ Emergency Hotline (24 hour) at 800-858-0368

Oil Filters

Residents can recycle used motor oil filters at any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers or the Household Hazardous Waste Collection. Businesses managing used oil filters must drain them and they must be recycled. It is against NC State Law to landfill oil filters! For filter recycling services see list for recycling oil in the list above.

Oil Tanks

If they are rinsed and cut in half, Oil Tanks can be taken to the Orange County Landfill at no charge. They will be recycled with Scrap Metal.

These companies are certified for removal of Oil Tanks:

Packaging

Shrink wrap, if clean and dry, can be recycled with plastic bags at grocery stores that accept similar Number 2 and Number 4 film plastics for recycling. This excludes shrink wrap used to cover food.

Paper packaging that is non-metallic and not coated with wax or plastic can be recycled with "all paper" at the curb and at apartment complexes, 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Clear Number 1 rigid plastic formed packaging, also known as "clamshell" packaging is not recyclable Please discard in your regular trash.

Styrofoam:
Learn more about expanded polystyrene production, distribution and management at the Alliance of Foam Packagers website.

Expanded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) constitutes less than 1% by weight of the solid waste stream. It is a high volume, low value, low weight material and Orange County does not have recycling programs in place for it.

However, clean and dry Styrofoam packing peanuts, flat sheets and block, along with bubble wrap and plastic pillow packs are accepted for reuse at the following locations, call ahead to make sure they have the capacity to accept what you are bringing them:

  • Pack it Ship it
    1202 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
    Phone: 919-968-1181
  • Johnny T-Shirt
    416 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC
    Phone: 919-644-2501
  • Myra Dotson
    8418 Orange Grove Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
    Phone: 919-270-7534
    Email Myra Dotson
    Will pick up Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows if in Orange County
  • Nancy Solberg
    Green Hill Farms
    Phone: 919-309-0649
    (Peanuts only)
  • Wrap, Pack and Ship
    1024 Mebane Oaks Road, Mebane, NC
    Phone: 919-563-2591
    (Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows)
  • UPS Stores
    (Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows)
    1289 N Fordham Boulevard, Fordham Square Suite A, Chapel Hill, NC
    Phone: 919-932-9117
  • Harris Teeter North Shopping Center
    1818 Airport Road, Chapel Hill, NC
    Phone: 919-960-0900
  • Carrboro Plaza (next to Food Lion)
    Highway 54 and Main Street, Carrboro, NC
    Phone: 919-918-7161
  • Meadowmont
    510 Meadowmont Village Circle, Chapel Hill, NC
    Phone: 919-942-6262

Recycling options:

  • Shimar Recycling
    Will accept EPS packing foam (aka Large Styrofoam Block) only with tape and labels removed. $2.50 per 48 gallon clear bag. Call ahead for specifications.
    938 Harvest Street, Durham, NC 27704
    Phone: 919-680-6262

  • Tuscarora Plastics
    Will accept styrofoam peanut and block only. Call ahead for capacity and drop off specifications.
    1741 E C Street, Butner, NC
    Phone: 919-575-5100

  • Dart Container
    Will accept Food Service Styrofoam such as clamshells and styrofoam cups.
    3219 Wesleyan Road, Randleman, NC 27317
    Phone: 336-495-1101
    Dart Container Website

Paint and Paint Cans

Paint
Reduce your use! Remember to buy less toxic and non-aerosol paint. Paints can contain chemicals such as solvents and metals that can damage the environment, especially our water supplies, and endanger human health if not disposed of properly. Purchasing latex and low VOC paint is best.

Residents and non-residential entities that produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month should bring these items to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Eubanks Road Residents only are permitted to use the Household Hazardous Waste facility located at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center.

Businesses that wish to properly dispose of large quantities (greater than 220 pounds per month) of paint should visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Material, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach for a list of certified companies.

If you have only a small amount of latex paint to dispose of you can safely dry the paint out at home by removing the lid and allowing the contents to aerate. Accelerate the drying process by stirring kitty litter or sand into the open can of paint. Once latex paint is thoroughly dried, residents can dispose of the cans, with the lids removed, in the regular trash.

Paint cans
If there is only a thin layer of dried residue left in the container (less that a ¼ inch coating in the bottom of the can) it can be recycled. Metal paint cans can be recycled with "Scrap Metal" at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Black plastic paint cans, with the metal handle removed, can be recycled with "Rigid Plastics" in the purple dumpsters at Solid Waste Convenience Centers

Pallets

Pallets are considered "clean wood waste" and must be recycled in Orange County. Visit the Construction and Demolition page to find out more about the Regulated Recyclable Material Ordinance. According to NC State Law they are banned from MSW landfills in North Carolina but may be accepted at other Construction Waste landfills.

Residents can bring pallets and other clean wood waste (wood that has not been painted or treated) to Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Residents and businesses can bring pallets to be recycled to the Orange County Landfill.

The following businesses also recycle used pallets:

Pesticides

Reduce the amount of hazardous waste you use and try buying less toxic products. Contact the NC Cooperative Extension Service to find out how to get rid of pests while keeping your environment clean, or visit the Alternatives section of the Household Hazardous Waste page.

Household insecticides and pesticides are accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities.

Pharmaceuticals / Prescriptions

There are four "Drug Drop Box" locations in Orange County for residents to drop off unwanted medications and prescriptions. Hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding holidays at all three locations. They include:

  • Carrboro Police Department
    Carrboro Century Center
    100 N Greensboro St., Carrboro, NC 27510
    Phone: 919-918-7397
  • Chapel Hill Police Department
    828 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Chapel Hill NC, 27514
    Phone: 919-968-2760
  • Hillsborough Police Department
    127 N Churton Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
    Phone: 919-732-9381
  • Orange County Sheriffs Department
    106 E Margaret Lane, Hillsborough, NC
    Phone: 919-644-3050

Do Drop:

  • Liquid Medications
  • Medicated Ointments and Lotions
  • Medication samples
  • Over the Counter Medications
  • Pet Medications
  • Expired or Unused Medications

Do NOT Drop:

  • Bloody or Infectious Waste
  • Empty Containers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • IV Bags
  • Personal Care Products
  • Thermometers
  • Needles/Lancets/Syringes

Phone Books

Recycle phone books with all other paper in mixed "single stream" recycling at the curb and at apartment complexes. 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. .

Use the website Free My Mailbox to get off unwanted delivery lists for mass mailing, catalogs and phone books.

Photographic Chemicals

Please do not pour photographic chemicals down the drain. It pollutes our drinking water and our environment. Collect them and save them for safe disposal. Residents and businesses that produce less that 220 pounds of Hazardous Waste per month can bring photographic chemicals to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Eubanks Road Residents only are permitted to use the Household Hazardous Waste facility located at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center. See the website for details!

Pizza Boxes

Recycle with corrugated cardboard if they are empty (no pizza or dipping sauce or plastic bits) and free of cheese and grease. Single layer boxes can be recycled with other paper in single stream recycling. See the curbside and drop-off material lists.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags and other plastic film can be recycled at most local grocery stores, but they must be clean and dry. Plastic bags include newspaper bags, bread bags, and dry-cleaner bags, plastic film includes drink and toilet tissue overwrap. Learn more from Plastic Bag Recycling website.

Do not try to recycle plastic bags in any of Orange County's recycling programs, They get caught in recycling equipment, can break or slow down operations, and are an absolute no-no. Bring to grocery stores instead. Grocery bags and other plastic film can also be recycled at the Walnut Grove Church Road Solid Waste Convenience Center only.

Plastic Bottles

NC State Law prohibits landfilling of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. They must be recycled! All plastic Bottles (any number) can be recycled curbside, at Multi-unit housing, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers with Bottles, Cans, Jugs and Jars. A bottle/jug is defined as a container with a neck smaller than the base. Be sure to squash flat and put the caps back on where possible.

  • Small non-bottle rigid plastics Number 2, 4 and 5 such as yogurt and margarine tubs, kitty litter buckets, stadium cups can be recycled all together curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.
  • Larger Rigid Plastics such as toys and totes can be recycled in the purple dumpsters at solid waste convenience centers, not at the curb.
  • No Number 1,3,6 or 7 non bottle plastics please.

Plastic Containers

All plastic Bottles (any number) can be recycled all together with other recyclables at the curb and at apartment complexes, 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. A bottle/jug is defined as a container with a neck smaller than the base. Be sure to squash flat and put the caps back on where possible.

  • Small non-bottle rigid plastics Number 2, 4 and 5 such as yogurt and margarine tubs, kitty litter buckets, stadium cups can also be recycled all together curbside, at apartment complexes, at 24 Hour Recycling Drop-off locations and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.
  • Large Rigid Plastics such as toys and totes can be recycled in the purple dumpsters at solid waste convenience centers, not at the curb.
  • No Number 1,3,6 or 7 non bottle plastics please.

Plastics Explained, or, What's with the "recycling" symbol on plastics that can't be recycled?

Some of the confusion about plastics recycling stems from the three chasing arrow symbol, along with a number, and the series of letters found on almost all plastic products. Many people think this symbol shown on plastics means that an item is recyclable, but that is not always the case. This symbol used on plastic products along with the numbers is known as the "resin identification code." It is a plastic industry trademark and represents the type of resin that was used to make a plastic item, not whether it is recyclable or not.

Recycling markets, that is the companies that collect and sell recyclable commodities, or use those recyclable commodities to make new products determine what can be recycled. The resin identification code is therefore quite confusing because it is found on almost ALL plastic items regardless of recyclability. There are only seven basic resin codes used to define all the types of plastics that make up the hundreds of plastic things that we find in our lives. The numbers 1 to 6 are specific individual resin types. The number 7 is used for "all other," which actually represents many types of resins, and for PLA, plant based plastic. Learn more about the resin identification code.

Currently, Orange County sells a commingled mix of plastic bottles, metal cans and glass bottles and jars to a local Material Recovery Facility (aka MRF) where those materials are sorted, processed and sold to end-users. When it comes to plastics, the MRF want plastic bottles only, not any other type of plastic container. We collect commingled bottles, cans, jugs and jars at the curb, apartment complexes, our commercial recycling program and in blue dumpsters at our drop-off sites and Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Non-bottle plastics that appear in this collection are separated out and discarded by the MRF we sell our commingled containers to. If you are interested in seeing how a MRF works, check out this animated video short produced by the NC State Division of Education and Outreach.

The resin identification code doesn't come into play that much when it comes to bottles because over 96% of all bottles are either Number 1 PET, polyethylene terephthalate or Number 2, HDPE, high density polyethylene and have a high value for many remanufacturers. What defines the recyclability of bottles is how they are manufactured. Bottles are made by a process called blow molding. Blow molded plastics have the characteristic of when they are melted down (which is what a recycler would do to make a new product) the resulting substance is gooey and stretchy, like glue. The polymers hold together well, so it can be made into other products such as new plastic bottles, thermoform plastics such as clear take-out clamshells and produce boxes, yarn to make polar fleece or carpeting, pressed into plastic lumber, and other great products made from recycled plastic. The actual molds into which the hot air is blown are much smaller than the final product, the soft warm plastic is poured into the mold, then injected with air and blown up like a balloon -the molecules must stick together in order to do that.

Most non-bottle plastics are made by a process called injection molding. Injection molded plastics, when melted down can become runny and watery - the molecules do not stick together and thus they do not lend themselves as well to the simple re-manufacturing process used in blow molding. Some markets do use injection molded plastics to make new products, but they are far and few between (especially when compared to the well-established and growing ones for blow-molded plastics). The markets that do exist tend to prefer the typically homogeneous industrial sources of injection molded plastics, not residential. Residential injected molded plastics literally STINK - they are dirty, smell bad, and tend to be messy, expensive loads because they often have to be combed through carefully to remove contaminates (such as Number 1 non-bottle plastics such as clear take-out clamshells and produce boxes. They are a major no-no in our recycling collection! However, there should be some consolation that they are often made with recycled content so keep recycling those plastic bottles!).

Recycling markets are always expanding however, as plastics recycling technology improves, business opportunities increase, and public demand for collection services is heard. The non-bottle Number 2, Number 4 and Number 5 Rigid Plastics collection program here in Orange County is a direct result of this convergence of factors. Residents can recycle large rigid plastics such as plastic lawn furniture, toys and turtle sandboxes at Solid Waste Convenience Centers and small rigid plastics such as yogurt tubs, kitty litter buckets at the curb.

There are two markets for residential grade injection molded plastics that Orange County has sold residential injection molded plastics to, both are located in the Reidsville North Carolina area. Blue Ridge Recycling and Plastic Revolution use injection molded plastics to make plant pots, black plastic garden hose, parking bumper stops, wire sheathing and intermediate products that they sell to other end-users.

These markets are not nearly as well established for residential non-bottle plastics as those for blow-molded plastics, so we want to make our collected material as attractive as possible by having a good sort; that is Number 2, Number 4 and Number 5 ONLY, and only at our Solid Waste Convenience Centers. In this case the resin identification number does matter a great deal. no Number 1, 3, 6 or 7, no bottles, no bags, and as dirt, metal, and food free as possible (rinsing food containers is good). Proper sortation prior to going to market helps keep the value of the commodity up and our collection costs down, and hopefully keeps the market happy and using our collected plastics to make new stuff.

There are currently no domestic markets for Number 1 PET non-bottle plastics such as clear plastic clamshells and produce boxes (strawberries, lettuce, etc). PET trays and cups are different from bottles (lower intrinsic viscosity) but the greater concern for PET bottle reclaimers in accepting this material is the risk that they might end up with other plastics that look like PET trays or PET cups such as PVC Number 3, PS Number 6, or bioplastic PLA Number 7, a major no-no for petroleum-based plastic recycling. Not only do the PLA containers which are made from corn, look like PET, they sink like PET during the critical float / sink processing phase (PP#5, HDPE#2, LDPE#4 float). These other plastics have a different melt temperature than PET and therefore even small amounts can create serious problems.

China is a viable market for non-bottle PET resins, however this is not exactly a "local" market. Chinese remanufacturers might use the PET thermoforms to go into polyester fiber and paint products. If MRFs are accepting it here in North America then it is probably going to China, where it is being recycled. The 2009 NAPCOR PET bottle recycling rate report gives a good outline of where we are with PET recycling, though it is vague about non-bottle PET recycling it is clear that material is being collected and is moving through the markets.

For more industry information on plastics recycling visit Association of Post-Consumer Plastic Recyclers or National Association for PET Container Resources.

Rigid Plastics

Large non-bottle plastics Number 2, 4 and 5 can be recycled at Solid Waste Convenience Centers in the purple dumpsters. Items include:

  • Black plastic drain pipe-no ABS Number 7 or PVC Number 3
  • Plastic dish drainers
  • Plastic drums - must be empty, remove both ends
  • Plastic flower pots - larger than one pint only, no dirt
  • Plastic garbage cans
  • Plastic hangers - opaque tubular type only, not wire hangers or clear plastic hangers with metal hooks or clips
  • Plastic laundry baskets
  • Plastic lawn furniture -no PVC Number 3
  • Plastic milk crates
  • Plastic nursery trays - must be rigid, no soft bubble packs
  • Plastic pet carriers - remove metal gate
  • Plastic recycling bins
  • Plastic soda crates
  • Plastic totes and tote lids
  • Plastic toys - no metal axles or battery operated toys (recycle battery operated toys with electronics at Solid Waste Convenience Centers instead)
  • Plastic buckets - remove metal handles if possible
    Please Note: Small rigid plastic such as cups and tubs should be recycled with single stream recycling at the curb, at drop-off sites and Solid Waste Convenience Centers.
  • Plastic cups - no Number 1 or $#6 Solo cups
  • Plastic tubs and tub lids - yogurt, margarine, sour cream, etc. No clear plastic clamshells and no styrofoam.

See our Rigid Plastics for pictorial representation of these items. no Number 1,3,6 or 7 plastics please. no Metal Items (including battery operated toys, or toys metal axles)

Scrap Metal

Scrap metal must be recycled in Orange County. Visit the Construction and Demolition page for more information on the Regulated Recyclable Materials Ordinance. Residents can recycle one pick-up truckload of scrap metal per day or weekend period at Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Residents and businesses can bring unlimited quantities for free to the Orange County Landfill. Items should be all or substantially metal. Electrical wire is also accepted.

Shoes

Donate to local organizations (see Clothing)

Smoke Detectors

There are two types of smoke detectors. Ionization detectors contain a small amount of americium-241 - a radioactive element. Some consider the radioactivity to be so low that it is harmless and can be disposed of in regular trash. Others believe that these detectors should be properly disposed of.

Send to Curie Environmental Services

Or send the detector back to its manufacturer (name and address should be stamped inside unit) Or surface mail or UPS ground it to:

  • First Alert
    Radioactive Waste Disposal
    780 McClure Road, Aurora, IL 60504-2495
    Phone: 630-851-7330

Photoelectric detectors can be safely disposed of in the trash. Be sure to remove the battery from detector before disposal. See Batteries

Sports Equipment

  • Play It Again Sports
    5318 New Hope Extension, Durham NC
    Phone: 919-493-7300

  • Sport Endeavors
    "Passback" program collects used but still playable gear and sends it to players who are otherwise unable to afford equipment.
    431 U.S. Highway 70A E, Hillsborough, NC
    Phone: 919-644-6800

Steel Cans

Recycle with mixed "single stream" recycling curbside, at the curb and at apartment complexes. 24-hour recycling drop-offs and Solid Waste Convenience Centers, Labels are okay. Pinch can closed to contain loose lid. You can also use the "pinch can closed" method to contain smaller metal lids that would otherwise be too small to be recycled, such as those from beer bottles and other glass bottles or jars.

Styrofoam

Also known as Number 6 expanded polystyrene or EPS. Learn more about expanded polystyrene production, distribution and management at the Alliance of Foam Packagers website. Expanded polystyrene constitutes less than 1% by weight of the solid waste stream. It is a high volume, low value, low weight material and Orange County does not have recycling programs in place for it.

Reuse clean and dry Styrofoam packing peanuts, flat sheets and block, along with bubble wrap and plastic pillow packs at the following locations, call ahead to make sure they have the capacity to accept what you are bringing them:

  • Carolina Packaging
    1202 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
    Phone: 919-968-1181

  • Johnny T-Shirt
    416 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC
    Phone: 919-644-2501

  • Myra Dotson
    Will pick up Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows if in Orange County
    8418 Orange Grove Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
    Phone: 919-270-7534
    Email Myra Dotson

  • Wrap, Pack and Ship
    Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows
    1024 Mebane Oaks Road, Mebane, NC
    Phone: 919-563-2591

    UPS Stores
    Styrofoam peanuts, bubble-wrap and air pillows, limited block (call ahead) at the following locations:
    • Fordham Square
      1289 N Fordham Boulevard Suite A, Chapel Hill, NC
      Phone: 919-932-9117

    • Carolina North Shopping Center
      1818 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC
      Phone: 919-960-0900

    • Carrboro Plaza (next to Food Lion)
      Highway 54 and Main Street, Carrboro, NC
      Phone: 919-918-7161

    • Meadowmont
      510 Meadowmont Village Circle, Chapel Hill, NC
      919-942-6262

Recycling options for Styrofoam products:

  • Shimar Recycling
    Will accept EPS packing foam (aka Large Styrofoam Block) only, must be clean and dry with tape and labels removed. $2.50 per 48 gallon clear bag. Call ahead for specifications.
    938 Harvest Street, Durham, NC 27704
    Phone: 919-680-6262
    Shimar Recycling Website

  • Tuscarora Plastics
    Will accept styrofoam peanut and block only. Call ahead for capacity and drop off specifications.
    1741 East C Street, Butner, NC
    Phone: 919-575-5100

  • Dart Container
    Will accept food service styrofoam such as clamshells and styrofoam cups.
    3219 Wesleyan Road, Randleman, NC 27317
    Phone: 336-495-1101
    Dart Container Website

Syringes

There is no local program to recycle used syringes. Dispose of used syringes in a certified "sharps" container or use a thick plastic puncture resistant container such as a plastic peanut butter jar or laundry detergent bottle. Don't use glass as it might break. Cap the used syringe if possible, drop it in the container, screw lid on tightly, and then place it in your regular trash.

Download this helpful poster (PDF) to share with your healthcare community and ask your doctor's office or other health care provider if they can help you with syringe disposal.

Textbooks

Bookstores and thrift stores are not interested in taking used textbooks. There are online textbook collection companies accept used textbooks:

  • Green Textbooks
  • Better World Books
  • UNC-Chapel Hill conducts a book drive in May at the end of each academic year and will accept used textbooks on campus at that time. Contact the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling for more information.

Textiles

  • PTA Thrift Shops
    Worn-out clothing or other textiles not suitable to go directly on the thrift store sales floor is sold by the pound by the PTA. Bag separately, keep clean and dry, and mark as 'rags', then bring them to one of the donation points.
    • 103 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510
      Phone: 919-967-1272
      Hours: Monday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • 103 S Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
      Phone: 919-942-9412
      Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Visit the Scrap Exchange website.
  • Durham, NC
    Accepts fabric and other sewing notions for resale. Visit the Directory of Markets for Recycled Materials, provided by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, for a list of textile recyclers.

Tires

Residents can bring up to 5 automotive tires per week or weekend period to any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers. Tires from local businesses should be brought to the Orange County Landfill. Recycle bicycle tires here as well.

Toner Cartridges

See Electronic Equipment and Scrap or:

  • Laser Age
    Remanufacturer of laser printer toner cartridges. Delivery and pick up available.
    102 N Main Street, Roxboro, NC 27573
    Phone: 336-599-8733
  • Laser Plus
    Remanufacturer of laser printer toner cartridges, ink jet cartridges and laser printers. Printers are refurbished and given to Durham School System. Delivery and pick up is available.
    2808 S Miami Boulevard, Durham, NC
    Phone: 919-485-0032

White Goods (aka Large Appliances)

Residents can bring up to two large appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators to any of the Solid Waste Convenience Centers for recycling. Residents and businesses can bring large appliances to the Orange County Landfill for recycling at no cost. For more information visit the appliances section.

Wine Corks

  • Weaver Street Market 
    Natural wood cork only, please.
    All three locations, Carrboro, Southern Village, and Hillsborough. 
  • Scrap Exchange
    Collects wine corks of all types for art projects.
    Durham, NC.

Wood Waste

Clean Wood (wood that has not been painted or treated), including pallets and plywood, must be separated and recycled in Orange County. Visit the Construction and Demolition page to find out more about the Regulated Recyclable Material Ordinance. Residents can bring up to one half a pick-up truckload of clean wood waste (wood that has not been painted or treated) to Solid Waste Convenience Centers.

Yard Waste

Compost at home and make your own organic fertilizer to enhance gardens and landscapes! Orange County Solid Waste Management sells compost bins known as the "Earth Machine" for $50 at the administrative office, 1207 Eubanks Road Chapel Hill, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you live in the unincorporated areas of the county, Solid Waste Convenience Centers accept up to one pick up load of yard waste per day or weekend period from Orange County Residents at no charge.

Alternatively, if you live in a single family residence within the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill or Hillsborough, you can contact your Public Works Departments to find out how they collect your yard waste from the curb. Contact information includes: