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2012 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report
Commercial Waste

Green up arrow indicatorLandfilling of Co​mmercial Waste has been declining at a rate to exceed the Mecklenburg County goal of reducing commercial waste by 24%.

Landfilled Commercial Waste graph 


Commercial Waste
Commercial waste remains the largest contributor to Mecklenburg County's total waste stream, at almost 50%. However, the amount of commercial waste being landfilled has been declining. This is demonstrated by the decrease in the amount of commercial waste generated per person. Per capita, commercial waste was close to a ton annually in 2008, but it has hovered near the half-ton mark for the past two years, a 37% reduction. Looking back to the baseline year of 1998, the reduction is even greater at 47%.

While some of the decrease in commercial waste disposal can be attributed to the downturn in the economy, there are other contributing factors as well. New state regulations such as the recycling requirement for ABC permit holders and the increased number of landfill bans, the most recent of which went into effect in 2011, have had an impact, as has Mecklenburg County's own Source Separation Ordinance. These laws and policies, combined with the increased demand for raw materials within the world marketplace, have also played a major role in encouraging the development of recycling markets in the County. The establishment of a privately owned single-stream Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) helped to provide new recycling options to waste haulers and their commercial customers. Lastly, there has been an increase in the number of corporations implementing environmental or sustainability programs. All of these factors have led to Mecklenburg County exceeding the 2009 Solid Waste Management Plan goal of a 24% commercial waste reduction from the baseline year by 2011.

For more information contact: Lexin Murphy, Sr. Environmental Specialist,

What you can do to increase Commercial Recycling (& decrease commercial waste)?
  • Support community businesses that practice recycling and waste reduction initiatives. In many cases, these businesses can be identified by their membership in the Wipe Out Waste Ambassador Program.
  • Practice Enviroshopping and request that producers use less packaging when possible.
  • If you notice a small business not recycling, let them know about the availability of free commercial drop-off centers throughout the County.

More information

Return to Solid Waste Chapter Page 

The trends shown in the State of the Environment Report are not all based on tests of statistical significance. Data analysis, anecdotal evidence, and best professional judgment have been compiled to represent these trends. The State of the Environment Report takes a snapshot of important environmental indicators in an effort to educate the public while highlighting challenges, successes and the general direction of change for each indicator. For additional information on these indicators and the determination of trends, please follow the links and feel free to contact the appropriate resources.

Last updated 4/16/12

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