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Last week I began diving more in depth into some of the projects I’ll be working on through the course of my stay at the NCDEQ. One of these projects involves research into which counties in North Carolina have a licensing system in place for private haulers. Usually these agreements are written into Solid Waste ordinances that are published by the county. But sometimes these contain language such as “may”, indicating that the county has the option to license if it wishes to do so, but that it doesn’t necessarily. In order to find out if these counties have a licensing system in place I have contacted various individuals in our data base by email. The goal is to follow up by phone next week if we do not have the responses we need. It is my task to also find out which private haulers service just garbage collection and which service both garbage and recycling collection. Beginning this project has involved familiarizing myself with General Statutes giving NC Counties the authority to license and franchise waste collection and locating the ordinances to determine if each county has employed these methods. The Law in Public Administration Course (Shout out to Szypszak!) taught me how to be very comfortable researching through these means and I’m glad that I have that background under my belt.

Additionally, I’ve learned a lot about the different methods of waste collection that NC Counties can utilize. Licensing involves, essentially, providing certain haulers with permits in order to operate within the county. Haulers must fill out an application, most of which require a fee and yearly renewal. By applying to be a licensed hauler in the county, these private entities agree to certain rules and regulations put in place by the county. Many of these surround what materials can be deposited in landfills and in collection and transfer stations and where the material must come from. Some counties do not allow materials collected outside of the county to be dropped off at their landfill or transfer station. Franchising agreements are a little different. These involve granting garbage and/or recycling collection jurisdiction over a certain area to a private hauler. Essentially the county is contracting out the service. Of course there is always public collection where the county operates its own collection services, and there are some other nuances within the line-up.

The other piece I am working on right now is developing an estimated number of unincorporated households by county who are eligible for curbside recycling. To determine this number we have put together various pieces of information such as unincorporated population numbers and American Community Survey Housing Characteristics Data. When we develop an estimate of who is eligible we are hoping to compare that to the number that the counties believe to be true, and to see how many homes are currently being served in the unincorporated areas.

Thanks for reading once again! This week I’m headed to Asheville to meet with various recyclers and that report will be up in next week’s blog!

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