Curbside Recycling

Why should we recycle?

Not only do we minimize the amount of waste that enters our landfill, but making a conscious effort to recycle allows for a decrease in air and other environmental pollution, lowers energy usage, reduces the consumption of raw materials, boosts the economy by providing jobs, provides raw materials for manufacturing and production industry, and reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases. We can never be perfect, but we can take simple steps to leave behind a thriving and healthy community for generations to come.

Facts about Plastics in North Carolina**

  1. Every 17.3 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of the Bank of America Building in Charlotte. 
  2. Every week, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times.
  3. In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Blue Ridge Pkwy 642 times 
  4. In the time it takes you to brush your teeth (2 minutes), North Carolinians send 4,657 plastic drink bottles to a landfill.

General Recycling Facts***

  1. 4.5 Million Tons of paper are thrown away in the United States each year.
  2. Recycling 1 Ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  3. Glass can be recycled forever! It takes 1,000,000 years to fully degrade in a landfill.
  4. Americans throw away enough aluminum in landfills to build our Nation's entire commercial air fleet every three months.

(statistics sourced from *The Center of Biological Adversity; **North Carolina Department of Environmental Equality ***Carolina Recycling Association)

SONOCO Materials Recovery Facility

Onslow County contracts through SONOCO for all commercial and residential recycling.  Recycling materials that are collected through commercial containers and curbside bins are brought to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) here at the Onslow County Landfill to be properly sorted, packed, and distributed to manufacturers.  About 30% of all materials that come through this facility are reused and recycled here in North Carolina, with the majority of the materials sourced out to partners and SONOCO facilities on the East Coast.

Tours are currently not available due to COVID-19, however you may call the SONOCO Administration Office anytime at (910) 455-6903.

Curious as to what occurs at a Materials Recovery Facility? Preview this short video on what occurs at facilities similar to the Onslow MRF:

Curbside Recycling

If you use a private hauler or have garbage services through a municipality within our county district, please use the graphic below as a guideline for what can be recycled in your blue bins/designated recycling containers. Never place grocery store plastic bags, electronics, or household/construction materials in recycling. As a general rule of thumb, when in doubt, throw it out (in the regular trash).

Sonoco-Accepted list NC (003) (1)

Recycling and Community Coordinator

If you have questions about common curbside recycling, services available in Onslow County, specialty recyclables, hazardous waste, schedule a workshop, or simply want to volunteer, please call (910) 937-1449.

Education resources and outreach programs are continuously being scheduled and we are happy to assist you with recycling or sustainability education/projects that you may have.