As a result of the world's waste exports containing large amounts of contamination, China instituted a policy in 2018 called the National Sword, banning the imports of 24 types of recyclables. The ban included mixed paper, which represents 35% of the residential single stream program composition. Unprocessed plastics were included as well. They also implemented a contamination rate of 0.5% on all other plastics and recovered paper. All plastics were eventually banned. This policy has put pressures on pricing trends and the ability to move materials that have traditionally relied heavily on export markets.

The export markets were more lenient on contamination than domestic markets which is why it was easier to export the waste. Now that exporting is not an option, we have no other choice but to reduce the contamination. Luckily, North and South Carolina both have strong processing and end use markets for paper and plastics which has kept local markets safe from any market instability that we've seen in other parts of the country. With that being said, we still have to clean up our act to meet new standards domestically. We need to stop "wishful" recycling, which is putting items in your recycling bin hoping that it will be recycled. If you are not 100% sure that an item belongs in your recycling bin, it is better to put that item in the trash for now. I understand that no one wants to do that but it is the only way that we are going to get clean, quality material that can be recycled into new products. This will help reduce the contamination that has been hurting recycling.

The North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) uses local government's annual reports to determine the per-capita recycling rankings each year. The performance ratings were recently released for the fiscal year 2017-18. Brunswick County improved it's ranking from 13th to 12th in the state for common household recyclables per-capita. This is a reflection on the amount of commingled recycling that was recovered in Brunswick County. The county also held it's previous ranking of 6th in the state for public recycling per-capita. Pulblic recycling is a reflection of all other materials that are recovered such as concrete, shingles, hazardous waste, electronics, used motor oil, antifreeze, oil filters, textiles, used cooking oil, scrap tires, metal, appliances, fluorescent bulbs, cellphones, oyster shells, thermostats and smoke detectors.

For a printable copy of the new accepted items list above, just click on the image and print. For a Spanish version of the list, click here . A new Brunswick County Recycling Guide is available by clicking here .
While you are out and about this summer, remember the Clean Swell app. Anywhere you find litter and dispose of it in the correct way can be entered into this app to provide researchers and policy makers the information that they need to provide solutions to the issues on litter. The data is collected globally by the Ocean Conservancy.

The app allows you to:

  • Record the trash you collect.
  • Share your results with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email.
  • Track the total distance cleaned.
  • See the total weight of the trash you collect.
  • Keep a record of your efforts.
  • Help identify trends that are useful in finding solutions.
  • Learn scientific facts about the impact of trash on ocean animals and what you can do to help.

For more information on the program, visit the Ocean Conservancy website .
Keep Brunswick County Beautiful conducts a Community Appearance Litter Index of 50 roads throughout the county. We divide the county into 5 sections and choose 10 roads from each section. We try not to include roads that are already apart of the Adopt A Highway program or where litter is picked up by a contractor.

In June 2019, the board set out to conduct the litter index and the results are in. Overall, the county looked pretty clean. Each road is given a score from 1 through 4, 1 representing minimal or no litter and 4 representing extremely littered. Once we completed scoring the individual roads on our list, we then take and average of each section to provide the overall score. The June index for 2019 had an overall score of 1.54. We will now use this list of roads and scores to choose areas that need attention in the county. We also provide this data to residents and organizations that are looking to provide community service in the county.

Waccammaw School Road in Ash was one of the highest scoring roads for the 2018 Community Appearance Litter Index so on May 8, 2019, the Keep Brunswick County Beautiful Board decided to make this road a priority. Board members E. Gifford Stack (Secretary), John Henderson (Treasurer), Lora Sharkey, Gere Dale, Anne Neeley, Amy Chapman and Ed Gutnecht joined Executive Director Micki Bozeman in a litter sweep of Waccammaw School Road. A total of 28 bags with 580 pounds of litter was collected from the roadside and ditches. This also included some tires, rims and a television.

Thanks to all the volunteers that participated and we hope to continue this program year after year.
Keep Brunswick County Beautiful and Coastal Water Watch were honored to be recognized by the City of Southport for promoting the reduction of plastic waste in their city. The Alderman and Mayor J.V. Dove presented the resolution of commendation of support to both organizations on June 13, 2019.

Keep Brunswick County Beautiful, Plastic Ocean Project, NC Aquariums and Coastal Water Watch recognize local restaurants and businesses as Ocean Friendly Establishments. The goal is to bring awareness of the plastic pollution problem in the world. The restaurants have agreed to only serve straws upon request in addition to other waste reduction activities. This is a self-regulated initiative and the businesses are encouraged to educate their staff and ask that they adhere to the initiative. This is not only a way to raise awareness of the amount of plastic waste but it also saves money! Several Brunswick County businesses have joined the initiative with much excitement. Check out their websites below.

Shagger Jacks (Oak Island), Mojos on the Harbor (Bald Head Island), Inlet View Bar & Grill (Shallotte), George's Pancake House (Calabash), Cafe Koa (Southport), Dry Street Pub & Pizza (Southport), Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar (Leland), Pepperoni Grill (Oak Island), Pepperoni Grill (Boiling Spring Lakes), Swain Seafood Shack (Oak Island), Kai Joe's Tacos (Oak Island), Mr. P's Bistro (Southport), Fibber McGees (Sunset Beach), Captain Nance's Seafood (Calabash), Blue Cow Grill (Southport), StrEAt Side Take Out (Southport), Fish House Restaurant (Oak Island), Moore Street Marke t (Southport), Christophers Steakhouse and Seafood (Leland), Tommy Thompsons (St. James), The Players Club (St. James), The Members Club (St. James), The Founders Club (St. James), The SeaSide Club (St. James), The Reserve Club (St. James)

Anyone interested in becoming an Ocean Friendly Establishment, please contact us by clicking here .
Keep Brunswick County Beautiful received the Keep America Beautiful President's Circle Award during the Keep America Beautiful's 2019 National Conference. The President's Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance by certified affiliates of the national nonprofit in creating clean, green and beautiful communities.
In qualifying for a President's Circle Award, Keep Brunswick County Beautiful has met Keep America Beautiful's standards of merit by conducting an annual Community Appearance Index, calculating the affiliate's cost/benefit ratio, and administering activities in the areas of Ending Littering, Improving Recycling, and Beautifying Brunswick County. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful consists of a national network of more than 620 community-based affiliates whose programs, initiatives and efforts, supported by millions of volunteers, help transform public spaces into beautiful places.
"One of Keep America Beautiful's most effective tools is the work of our grassroots network of affiliate organizations, which has an impact on millions of Americans each year," said Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons. "Our affiliates are providing real solutions that help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound."
Brunswick County residents and property owners can dispose of the following year around.
Electronics, fluorescent bulbs & CFL's, single stream recycling , scrap metal, appliances, propane tanks, oyster shells, tires (limit 5 per resident), used cooking oil, latex paint & cans, textiles, corrugated cardboard, household & automotive batteries, used oil, oil filters, antifreeze, fuel, smoke detectors and cellphones.

Electronics, fluorescent bulbs (4 foot or smaller) & CFL's, single stream recycling , corrugated cardboard, scrap metal, household batteries, appliances, oyster shells (all locations except Leland), tires (Southport and Leland only, limit 5 per resident), used cooking oil, smoke detectors, textiles and cellphones.

For location and hours, please visit the  Brunswick County Solid Waste & Recycl ing   website.