Products carry confusing labels like “degradable,” “biodegradable,” “photodegradable,” “landfill degradable,” and “compostable.” But these labels can add to the confusion – is biodegradable better than degradable? How is an average consumer to know?
The bottom line is that none of the products with these labels are recyclable in Greensboro’s program. “Compostable” and “biodegradable” do not mean recyclable. Compostable plastic undergoes biological decomposition in an industrial compost site, but not in home composting systems.
Three criteria need to be met to call it compostable:
- Biodegrade - breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass at the same rate as paper
- Disintegrate - the material is indistinguishable in the compost
- Eco-toxicity - the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth
Biodegradable plastics “degrade by microorganism’s in the environment over time.” They break down into water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and some bio-material. It's important to note that the temperature and humidity must be just right for these items to break down fully. Biodegradables are often composed of bio-plastics, which are made from renewable raw or all-natural plant materials: corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants. Typically the raw materials are melted and poured into molds of various shapes such as water bottles, food packaging, agriculture films, medical sutures, and utensils.
Biodegradable plastics don’t decompose unless disposed of properly, meaning they must be treated similarly to compost. The natural breakdown of the plastic will NOT occur if tossed in a landfill. There is also a slightly higher cost to produce biodegradable plastics. It’s still a matter of debate if these biodegradable plastics will someday replace traditional plastics.
Remember, never put any of these types of “plastics” in with your recyclables! Even small amounts of these plastics can contaminate an entire processing batch.
Not only are they not recyclable, most plastic packaging that claims to be “biodegradable” or “compostable” will only partially break down under the conditions typical in most residential composts. Contrary to most consumers’ understanding, most “biodegradable” bioplastics don’t break down in compost facilities and therefore end up in a landfill, taking up space for thousands of years. So when buying products, look for the BPI label, make sure the item has been labeled compostable, meaning it’s guaranteed to meet compost facility standards and will break down within 180 days.
The best option when it comes to any type of plastic, is to go with reusable instead of disposable – a reusable item is always a better choice than a disposable one.
You can always use the Waste Wizard in GSO Collects if you aren’t sure whether an item should be landfilled, recycled, or disposed of another way! Find GSO Collects online or find it in the App Store.
Greensboro's trails cover diverse territory, from park paths to greenways to roads. Many trails need upgrades to surface, ADA compliance, lighting and signage.
- Establish safe walking routes from neighborhoods to parks, building on the "safe routes to schools" program.
- Create opportunities for bike rentals (like LimeBike stations) and facilities close to major trail connections.
- Examine City bus routes to identify opportunities to link transit to trails.
Greensboro has 94 miles of city trails and another 20 miles of county, federal and private trails. to keep up with growth, 20 more miles are needed by 2030.
- Complete a city-wide outer "Community Loop" trail that connects to the region and the Downtown Loop.
- Connect trails into the overall multi-modal system, including bike facilities.
- Link trail plans with other planning efforts to seek federal and state funding.
Greensboro aspires to provide services equitably to the entire community. The play prioritizes universal access, affordable fees and equitable distribution of future parks.
- Create a policy to ensure adequate open space within new developments and growing neighborhoods.
- Make improvements to enable universal access to all parks, facilities and programs.
- Expand learning places and programs for all ages, including additional space for the growing senior population.
Greensboro's neighborhood parks and centers are well-distributed, but lack differentiation. Going forward, investments should be focused and customized to create social gathering spaces and reduce maintenance.
- Focus additional activity in large neighborhood parks and centers to become community gathering spaces.
- Seek community input before investments are made to ensure local needs are met.
- improve trails and sidewalks to encourage safer biking and walking. Right-size parking supply to local needs.
Only 20% of households participated in a city recreation program over the past year. Participants rated programs to be of excellent quality, but city programs are consistently priced below other providers.
- Fill program gaps such as inclusive recreation, seniors, children under 5, wellness, women's sports, arts and culture, and environmental education.
- Invest in competitive, high quality programming.
- Determine program fees that balance community service and cost recovery.
Partnerships with other organizations can be helpful ways to elevate parks, programs and facilities in the face of municipal budget constrains and ca help to support positive changes in declining neighborhoods.
Formalize key existing partnerships with the following groups:
- Other public agencies (federal, state, county, city)
- Land trusts and conservancies
- Non-profit organizations/foundations
- Health institutions
- Higher education institutions
80% of Greensboro believes that floodways can be both important trail connections and natural resources. Despite having great natural areas, today Greensboro has gaps in environmental education programs.
- Introduce more environmental education and STEAM programs.
- Create "green infrastructure" by formally incorporating the floodways and designing them for water resilience.
- Reduce the need for mowing to increase wildlife habitat and lower maintenance.
According to a community survey, 48% of Greensboro residents do not use the system because they do not know what is offered. Likewise, many layers of differing signage systems create confusion.
- Install consistent, contemporary signage and furnishings that reflect the character of the community.
- Continue to grow the Department's web and social media presence, including centralizing program information.
- Embrace marketing to get the word out about parks and programs!
Greensboro has 110 neighborhood parks. These walkable parks provide basic amenities, but need accessibility and quality upgrades as well as more diverse activities. At community conversation #1, the top dream was for more interactive play!
- Over time, upgrade all neighborhood parks and add new ways to play.
- Increase shade and reduce need for mowing especially along floodways.
- Better connect neighborhoods to parks by repairing sidewalks and paths in parks to improve ADA access.
Greensboro Parks and Recreation is partnering with Piedmont Fat Tire Society and Greensboro Water Resources to construct a mountain biking trail along Lake Townsend off Yanceyville Road. Phase I and II are complete. The trail will add to Greensboro's existing watershed trail network and be open to hikers as well as mountain bikers.
The Peeler Community Park Master Plan was approved in July 2018. Phase I components of the plan include renovation of existing tennis courts, conversion of one court to a multi-sport court, and purchase of Wibits for the pool. Construction on Phase II is pending approval of grant funding in March 2019.
The reconstruction of two (2) existing tennis courts will feature:
- One tennis court with standard and blended lines for 10 and under play and lines for four (4) pickleball courts for a portable net system; and
- One court will be converted to a regulation sizer basketball court with multisport goals for basketball and soccer. ADA access from designated ADA parking will be provided in this project.
- Complete renovation including ADA retrofit for the existing bathrooms located at Glenwood will begin in early fall 2018 and be completed in early 2019. This will not impact service at the center. Temporary facilities will be available during construction. A parking improvement plan is currently in design.
- The completion of the interior of the Visitor's Center located at Gateway Gardens is anticipated to be completed in winter 2019. This will allow the space to be used for meetings and events. The Center will include a catering kitchen, audio-visual equipment, and a bridal/small meeting room.
The A&Y Greewnay is a 7.5 mile greenway that incorporated the the Battleground Rail-Trail, the Lake Brandt Greenway, and a portion of the Bicentennial Trail. Greensboro Parks and Recreation works with the Greensboro Department of Transportation to fund and develop greenways. We are currently working to expand the green to downtown Greensboro.
Greensboro Parks and Recreation partners with the Greensboro Department of Transportation to fund and develop greenways. The Downtown Greenway is a proposed loop around downtown Greensboro, made up of on- and off-street greenway links. The greenway is a partnership between the City and Action Greensboro.
Henry Street Park is a neighborhood park located at 3113 Henry Street. Park improvements based on initial community conversations in 2014 recommend the development of the park as Greensboro's first multi-generational park. The community has been very engaged since the beginning and were instrumental in supporting the sale of the approximately 7 acres of parkland to Kisco Senior Living for the continued development of Abbotswood. Following City Council approval of the sale with land proceeds to be used solely for the development of the park City moved toward implementation in late 2016.
In December 2016, the Parks and Recreation Department held its first community conversation to receive input specifically on park improvements components. In January 2017, a RFQ was issued for a firm to provide a conceptual design of the park based on community input. In April 2017, Stewart Engineering, Inc. was chosen as the design firm. On May 17, 2017 a second Community Conversation was held at Henry Street Park to gather input for future renovations at the park. Input was gathered from teens separate from other participants. On May 31, 2017 a third Community Conversation was held with residents of Abbotswood at Irving Park which is the senior living community to the west of the park. Stewart Engineering, Inc. is currently finalizing the design plan based upon the community input.
Henry Street Park is currently under construction and anticipated completion is spring 2019.
- Trotter Recreation Center is currently closed due to construction. Exterior improvements will be completed by spring 2019. Additional improvements including field renovations are currently in design.
On January 25, 2019, Greensboro Parks & Recreation celebrated the grand opening of the Barber Park Community Building and Ruth Wicker Tribute to Women. The community building includes a 3,000 square foot multi-purpose space that will be available for meetings and special events. The Ruth Wicker Tribute to Women showcases women who have contributed to Greensboro and was funded through a donation from the estate of Ruth Wicker. Additional information on the rental facility can be found on the Barber Park Event Center Webpage.
- Phase I of the North Buffalo Creek Greenway was completed in Spring 2018. Phase II is currently under design in coordination with Self Help, LLC.
Brightwood Park, located at 4698 Fewell Road, was purchased by the City of Greensboro in 2006 for development of a passive neighborhood park adjacent to Cove Creek Gardens, a private, 1.4 acre conservation and teaching garden. The overall park vision was to develop a passive tree preserve with walking trails, a small naturalistic play area and a wetland observation boardwalk. The City has increased the size of the initial 6.8 acre park site by securing an additional 5.2 acres of open space adjacent to the park site. Additional land donations have followed since the announcement of the park development to include a .51 acre parcel by Cove Creek Gardens, Inc. and a .56 acre parcel by the Michael W. Haley Foundation, Inc. to increase the overall acreage to approximately 13 acres.
Sussman Park is a neighborhood park located at 299 Sussman Street. The park has over 14 acres including a multipurpose concrete court, basketball court, picnic shelter, and playground. Outdoor fitness equipment was recently installed.
Steelman Park is located on Highland Avenue within the Glenwood neighborhood. This three-and-a-half acre neighborhood facility has a community garden, basketball court, open areas and a small stream. The adopted master plan incorporates feedback received from the neighborhood meetings and includes renovated walking trails with exercise stations, expanded basketball courts, refurbished and repaired chess area, new stage, shade at playground, park signage, improvements to concrete pad, new bike racks, modified drainage at multi-purpose field, proposed fencing at park boundary, landscaping along stream, replaced bridges, and stream restoration.
The recently completed Steelman Park Streambank Restoration Project enhanced and stabilized eroding streambanks. This has improved water quality and the stream itself within the park as well as protect park infrastructure. The project was a collaborative effort initiated by the City's Water Resources and Parks and Recreation departments. Construction was completed in the spring 2018. As a component of the project, vegetation was planted along the streambanks. Typically, it takes three growing seasons for vegetation to become completely established and evident.
The Griffin Community Park was made possible by bond funds approved by Greensboro voters in 2006. Greensboro Parks and Recreation held a groundbreaking ceremony on August 5, 2017.
Phase II is currently under construction and will include a dog park and associated amenities, and picnic shelter. This project will be completed summer 2019.
Heath Park is located on Holts Chapel Road within the Heath Community. The park is approximately 13 acres and features a softball field, basketball court and playground. The adopted master plan includes walking trails with exercise stations, relocated and additional parking, expanded basketball courts, relocated and multi-age playground equipment, modified baseball field, improved picnic area with shade structures and enhanced landscaping and fencing throughout the park. The master plan also recommends connecting the park to the proposed sidewalk along Holts Chapel Road and relocates the main entrance to provide for a more well-defined and identifiable entrance that is consistent with new signage being installed at other parks and recreational facilities. Parking will be relocated to a more visible portion of the park and will be accessed by a single point on Holts Chapel Road. The drive will extend towards the baseball field and picnic areas allowing for ease of delivery to these areas.
The Battlegrounds Parks District is comprised of four hundred acres in the heart of Greensboro and contains the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, the Natural Science Center, Country Park, and Forest Lawn Cemetery. An innovative partnership with the City, County, State, Federal Government, and non-profit agencies requires a coordinated planning effort. The first Battleground Parks District Master Plan was completed in 2011. This plan is currently being updated to reflect the forward thinking nature of the Battleground Parks District. Phase I is under design.
The Keeley Park Master Plan was updated in April 2016. The updated document will be used to guide the development of the park and will take the place of the previous master plan for all levels of implementation. The elements planned for Keeley Park shall keep the pastoral nature of the park while introducing new programs to be enjoyed by people of any and all age groups, backgrounds, and abilities. Keeley Park established itself as an oasis in northeastern Greensboro upon its opening and is sure to be treasured as such by generations to come.
The Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department was recently awarded a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant of $250,000 in support of the second phase of Keeley Park development. The project, which is already in the design phase, will include a beginner mountain bike trail to complement the existing pump track, 18-hole tournament/recreational disc golf course, playground overhaul to include an “all children’s playground” accessible to children of all abilities, community garden renovation comprised of raised beds and additional plots, enlargement of the shade area for the sprayground, outdoor fitness area, shelters, festival area, and cornhole courts. The second phase is also supported by a 2008 voter-approved bond referendum.
In September 2018, Greensboro Parks and Recreation chose INNOVA Disc Golf to design a new disc golf course for Keeley Park. See the press release here. We anticipate selecting a trail design firm for the beginner mountain bike trail in October 2018.
It's a common occurrence at our house when someone asks "is this item recyclable?" As a resident recycling nerd, you might be on the receiving end of this question and sometimes wonder whether or not you are 100% sure of the correct answer.
GSO Collects is a great fact-checker so that you will never deliver fake recycling news. Searching "plates," "plastic plate," and "paper plate" will forever give you bragging rights when family or friends try to end your reign as official recycling nerd. Download GSO Collects from the App Store, or use the web-based tool.
All kinds of plates are non-recyclable. Even if the packaging says they are. I promise. Why? Well the answer depends on what type of plate you're talking about:
Just like the superheroes from The Incredibles can't have capes according to their super suit designer, Edna Mode, our recycling carts must have "no plates!"
Ceramic/Glass Plate: we can't recycle any kind of ceramic in our recycling program. Glass plates are made to withstand higher temperatures than regular glass bottles and jars, so they do not melt properly when recycled. Trash it, donate it if still usable, or creatively repurpose it into something completely different.
Paper Plate: food and/or grease residue of any kind is not ok and oftentimes, the plates are made of low quality paper, plastic layers, or waxy coatings that make them non-recyclable. These will contaminate other good paper so it can’t be recycled either.
- Plastic Plates: since they are flat, they get sorted like other flat things at the recycling center: paper. That plastic plate ends up in a big bale of paper, goes to a paper mill, then gets shipped to the landfill anyway.
With the advent of social media, digital picture frames, and a million other ways that we can digitally keep photos, printed photos are becoming less and less prevalent. Yes, ALL of our family and friends can check out those goofy kid pictures for… well, ever. Plus, you can keep taking pictures until you get just the right shot, with no closed eyes or weird expressions (unless you're my family). But you might still have stacks of printed photos that you may or may not want to hang on to.
If you were to search "photo" or "picture" in the GSO Collects Waste Wizard, you find that photos are not recyclable. Yes, they are printed on paper, but the layers of sheen that make you nostalgic for that long-ago vacation, mommy-daughter outfit or powder blue prom tux choice, make it impossible to separate from other materials.
So whether you've got your teenage glamour shots, awkward family photos, or simply the 43 shots of grandpa's thumb… make sure you dispose of them in the garbage. If you have really old photos that you're ready to part with, but think they might be historically significant, consider swinging by the Greensboro Historical Museum to see if they'll accept them as a donation.
For more "is that recyclable" questions answered, use our Waste Wizard online and sign up for trash and recycle collection reminders. The reminders will automatically adjust to holidays and inclement weather too!
Have you heard of Plastic Free July?
Take the July (or any month!) challenge and choose to refuse single-use plastic during July - and beyond!
- The problem: we all use plastic bottles, bags, utensils, and takeaway containers, but these plastics are designed to last forever.
- The goal: to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenge you to change something you actually have control over. Join millions of people from 159 countries worldwide in making a difference together!
- Join now online and choose to refuse!
Why are single use plastics a problem? Well, simply put, plastics don’t break down. They become permanent pollution in the environment, and can be ingested by wildlife. They are mostly downcycled, which means they are made into low-grade products or they’re sent to landfills to take up space forever. Since the U.S. has 3,091 active landfills, what’s the big deal? Every year the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic and we toss an immense 2.12 billion tons of waste. If our throwaway culture continues, we’ll eventually run out of landfill space.
Single-use plastics are also known to be escape artists - they blow out of bins, trucks, or away from events, and become accidental litter! That means those items you threw away could easily end up downstream in our waterways and oceans. At this rate, there will be more tons of plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
And plastic can transfer into the food chain, carrying pollutants with it. The bottom line is that by using single use plastic, you are increasing your eco-footprint because plastic manufacturing consumes about 6% of the world’s fossil fuels.
Feel like you’re already making a difference? A lot of us are, more than 60% of us are already refusing plastic bags, avoiding pre-packaged fruit and veggies, and avoiding buying bottled water! Here are a few more ways to swap disposables for alternatives to plastic:
- Doggy doo bags --> Folded up newspaper
- Toiletries --> Shampoo and Conditioner Bars (Yes they do exist!)
- Toilet paper --> Look for toilet paper wrapped in paper and then use the wrap for your pup’s poo
- Fabric softener --> Add one cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle
- Plastic Wrap --> Beeswax paper!
To read more about going plastic-free, checkout My PLASTIC Free Life.
It may seem hard to reduce plastic use, but try to challenge yourself to take a few small steps. Here’s a good guide to get started.
By making the choice today to be a part of the solution, you can reduce your plastic use, refuse plastics like straws, takeaway cups, utensils, balloons etc. and always recycle what you can!
Most disposable plastic items are not recyclable in your brown bins. Use the Waste Wizard in GSO Collects to search if an item should be trashed, recycled, or disposed of another way! Search GSO Collects in the App Store, or find it online.
Happy Plastic Free July!
Takeout food. Wonderful, delicious, hassle-free takeout food. It can be a huge help after a long day when you don’t have the groceries or energy to craft a home-cooked meal for yourself or your hungry family. But, what do you do with the various items you get when you order in? Forks, napkins, tiny sauce cups and packets, paper, plastic, or foam containers, chopsticks, oh my!
In the US, packaging makes up the largest portion of municipal trash, and single-use items account for 10% of trash coming from homes. The production, use, and disposal of packaging and single-use items generates 29% of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, in the US--that's more than driving or heating homes. These items are used for a few minutes, or even seconds, before they are landfill-bound, where they do nothing but take up space for virtually forever. Plus, we then need to go out and extract more raw materials to make more single-use items.
A large amount of useless trash is created because businesses just hand it to you. Straws, a huge wad of napkins, and a handful of condiments you may not even need, but then have to deal with. This creates a lot of unnecessary waste in our culture. So, what can you do to make a difference?
Reduce, reuse, THEN recycle. There is a reason recycle is the third of the 3Rs. Ever get a paper bag inside of a plastic bag when you receive takeout?
Ask for no plastic bag. Try going straw-free for the rest of this month, and let wait staff know you don’t want one when you order. Don't hesitate to say "no thank you," - it saves the business money because they don't have to reorder as quickly--plus, they may catch on with this trend!
Americans use ~100 billion plastic bags a year. That's BILLION. One study showed that 75% of people will take a plastic bag if it is offered for free, but only 16% will take one of there is a 10-cent fee. If NYC had a plastic bag fee, we could save roughly 7 BILLION plastic bags a year! This also encourages shoppers to bring their own reusable bags more often.
Out and about and need a drink? Bring a reusable water bottle with you. Many communities, including Greensboro, are installing water bottle refilling stations with their water fountains in public spaces. This is a GREAT way to reduce your need for single-use plastic bottles.
Eating out at a business that only uses disposable utensils? Bring your own. There are many options for reusable, portable cutlery. A quick Google search of "cutlery holder" will yield multiple results, plus this in-state non-profit makes them: www.dontwastedurham.com/reuse-marketplace/. Some take-out delivery services are even starting to offer a way to opt out of things like napkins and plastic ware. This helps save a lot of unnecessary waste, since you would probably be eating that in your home or office and would have access to reusable options.
You may feel like your individual action doesn't matter. It does! Your choices create cultural shift. Policies are put in place by legislatures that want to listen to their constituents. Culture change starts with individual action. When you ask a manager to stop automatically giving disposable straws at their restaurants, that small request goes a long way to making a big cultural change!
So now you know how to reduce and reuse, but what about recycling to-go packaging items? Here are your answers:
Of the items that generally come in take-out meals, none of them can be recycled. Utensils and straws are too small and low quality, napkins too low quality, plastic and foam trays can't be recycled in our area, and paper take-out containers are very soiled and mistakenly get sorted with 3D plastic and metal objects instead of with their paper compatriots.
Have another possibly-recyclable item that you're wondering about? Download our GSO Collects app and use the Waste Wizard search engine to search virtually any item to find out how to properly dispose of it. You can also sign up for collection day reminders so you never forget recycling day again! Search GSO Collects in the App Store to download, or use the online version of the app at www.greensboro-nc.gov/collects.
It’s no secret we humans produce way too much garbage. Case in point: the plastic 6-pack ring. These were developed in the 1960’s to conveniently carry canned drinks, and within 10 years, completely replaced paper and metal based holders. The plastic rings caused many environmental issues from being ingested by animals to being wrapped around their necks or wings.
Today’s plastic 6-pack rings have improved since the original - many are now made with LDPE photodegradable plastic, free of heavy metals or toxic additives. While these rings degrade more quickly than the old rings did, they remain problematic because the plastic still gets eaten by animals.
If you have any 6-pack rings, you’re probably wondering if they’re recyclable. In Greensboro, the answer is NO. The rings act as “tanglers”, and get stuck in recycling machinery. Since they’re flat, they are treated as paper in the assembly line, thus contaminating the paper pile. Plastic rings are also NOT recyclable in the recycling programs at local grocery stores. Did you know that the following items can be recycled at local grocery stores (clean and dry please):
- Any plastic retail bags, including produce, bread, and dry cleaning bags
- Zip-top food storage bags
- Plastic wrap on cases of water/soda bottles, paper products, and diapers
- Furniture and electronic wrap
- Plastic cereal box liners (but if it tears like paper, do not include)
- Any plastic bag or film packaging that has the How2Recycle label on it
The following items cannot be recycled at local grocery stores:
- Degradable/compostable bags or film packaging
- Pre-washed salad bags
- Frozen food bags
- Candy bar wrappers
- Chip bags
- Six-pack rings
Check out Plastic Film Recycling to learn more about what can and can’t be recycled at your local store.
If you are interested in recycling your 6-pack rings, you might want to ship them to The Ring Leader Program, where they are part of the open loop recycling program which helps reduce litter and waste in landfills.
And the good news is that there are companies that are working to improve the environmental friendliness of 6-pack rings. A start-up company in Florida, E6PR, has developed rings made of waste wheat and barley generated from brewing operations that can either biodegrade or serve as a treat for wildlife! The products are now appearing in stores throughout South Florida. They can be disposed of in a compost facility, but even if they end up on the ground or in the water, they degrade within weeks, and don’t harm wildlife if ingested.
Though this item isn’t in North Carolina yet, you as a consumer have more power than you realize. Call or write your favorite manufacture to let them know you would like to see more products like these! Cans sporting the E6PR label are now available in South Florida stores like Publix, Total Wine, Whole Foods, and ABC Liquors, and owners hope to appeal to retailers throughout North America.
While the best decision is to just stop buying two, four, six and twelve packs made with plastic rings, if you do have some, please remember to cut them, so they can’t entrap any animals!
Adopted by City Council in 2003, Connections 2025 is Greensboro's first comprehensive plan.
Visit our interactive map to the right.
The plan was developed with significant stakeholder input to represent the values, aspirations and interests of our diverse community.
The plan is designed to serve as a guide for Greensboro's residents and leaders by setting a positive course for the future.
It articulates an overall vision for Greensboro in 2025, establishes goals and policies in support of the vision, and lays out a specific action plan defining the steps the City will take to achieve the desired future.
At the core of the plan is the idea of building social, physical, business, and economic connections among people, organizations, and government within Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad region. Look at the Connections 2025 plan document here.
Adopted in 2015, the Fresh Food Access Plan focuses on increasing retail access to fresh, local produce in Greensboro's food deserts.
The plan was made possible by a grant from a US Department of Agriculture program aimed at supporting local food business enterprises that connect farmers with consumers. This includes expanding entrepreneurial opportunities both for local farmers and residents interested in starting local food-related businesses.
The plan takes into consideration all parts of the food system, though it does not contain recommendations for helping feed people with immediate needs. The focus is on strengthening the local food system with elements that are economically viable and sustainable as business enterprises, particularly in food deserts.
The Aycock Neighborhood Strategic Plan was adopted in September 2003. This plan was a follow-up to the Aycock Traditional Neighborhood District Plan, developed by the Aycock neighborhood.
The area is loosely bounded by Church Street, Bessemer Avenue, and Lindsay Street, centered on Summit Avenue.
The objectives of this plan were to identify issues and concerns, set common objectives, and develop proposed actions.
Key recommendations included the improvement of Summit Avenue as a primary gateway to downtown, enhance the organization of the Neighborhood Association, and highlight the historic nature of the neighborhood.
The Aycock Neighborhood is now known as the Dunleath Neighborhood.
Balanced Economic Development: a Strategic Plan for East Greensboro
Completed in 2011, this strategic plan includes a market analysis and recommendations for areas of east Greensboro pertaining to residential development, household income, the street network, and public schools.
City Council adopted the Cedar Street/Bellemeade Area Plan in November 2005 for an area bounded by Battleground Avenue on the north, Eugene Street on the east, Friendly Avenue on the south, and the railroad tracks between Prescott and Hillside streets on the west.
This study of the northwest corner of downtown was developed in response to a series of contentious rezoning cases.
Goals of the plan include:
- Stabilizing, protecting, enhancing and complementing the existing neighborhood’s character, diversity and appearance
- Encouraging appropriate future development of a variety of uses (business, commercial and residential) in the neighborhood
- Improving how Cedar Street is perceived and seen as a downtown neighborhood
- Creating a pedestrian, bicycle, and resident friendly environment in the area that encourages walking to downtown, the stadium, universities/colleges, and adjacent neighborhoods.
The Central Gateway Corridor Plan was adopted in December 2008 and covers the area along W. Lee Street and High Point Road, between S. Eugene Street and west of Siler Street, at varying distances between 200 and 2,700 feet from the centerline of W. Lee Street/High Point Road.
The objectives of this plan are to guide future development and redevelopment of a key reinvestment corridor identified in the City’s Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan and present a coherent strategy for coordinating significant public and private investment to overcome an existing decline in character, property values, business district strength, and neighborhood vitality.
Key recommendations in the plan are focused around spurring reinvestment and re-envisioning land-use patterns, improving transportation access and safety (especially for pedestrians bicyclists, and transit users), improving quality of infrastructure, enhancing appearance of properties, capitalizing on key assets in the corridor, and improving public safety.
In January 2009, the College Hill Neighborhood partnered with the City to begin the process of creating a neighborhood plan.
At the neighborhood's request, the process was put on hold in fall 2009, when a proposal to re-zone the former site of the Newman Machine Company was received by the City.
In October 2013, College Hill and the Planning Department re-launched the planning process. The College Hill Neighborhood Plan was adopted by the Greensboro City Council on March 17, 2015.
The Plan includes background information describing the neighborhood's history, current conditions, geographic features, and recent trends. The Plan also contains a shared neighborhood vision statement, an extensive table of goals, strategies, and action steps to achieve the vision, and a map of future land uses in the neighborhood.
Review the neighborhoods' tree inventory report and check out this interactive GIS system that illustrates the findings.
Re-Starting the College Hill Neighborhood Planning Process
College Hill Neighborhood Plan Draft - November 2009
College Hill Neighborhood Plan Draft Vision, Goals, & Strategies - November 2009
Basic Neighborhood Planning Process Diagram
Frequently Asked Questions About Neighborhood Planning
The Downtown Area Consolidated Plan was accepted by City Council in 2011, this plan emphasizes downtown's connections to adjacent neighborhoods and nearby economic centers. The plan synthesized previous plans for downtown and identified a time-line to implement recommended action steps.
The East Greensboro Study Committee was created in March 2014 to undertake a holistic examination of East Greensboro and identify strategies to make it attractive, safe and prosperous for residents and businesses alike.
The committee collected existing conditions data for a study area comprised of approximately 60 square miles of the City generally lying east of N. Elm Street, US 220 South and Randleman Road. Extensive public input was sought through a series of focus groups to understand East Greensboro’s strengths, opportunities, aspirations and desired outcomes.
Recommendations based on this input were drafted in four broad categories.
- Economic Opportunity
- Community Pride
- Quality of Life
These recommendations will be used to guide and prioritize policies and programs and build new partnerships to help achieve the committee’s goal of an attractive, safe, and prosperous area. The East Greensboro Study Committee Report was approved in August 2015.
Yes, the Friendly Avenue Area Plan covers a section of Friendly Avenue from Elam Avenue to Holden Road and was adopted by City Council in December 2016.
Designated as an Activity Center in Connections 2025, Greensboro’s Comprehensive Plan, the Friendly Avenue study area has seen an increased rate of change and development since 2000, including major expansions of Friendly Shopping Center and Wesley Long Hospital.
The plan’s recommendations cover access, land uses, and communications.
A holistic look at transportation issues such as strategic improvements to major roads, improving access for pedestrians and cyclists and slowing cut-through traffic in adjacent neighborhoods
- Land uses
Includes a focus on preserving neighborhood integrity and stability and encouraging denser development in land that is already commercial
Ensures the different neighborhoods and institutions in the area work together to implement the plan
Due to the rate of change in the area, the plan will be revisited no later than 2021.
City Council adopted the Glenwood Neighborhood Plan in February 2008.
The plan covers a large triangle bounded on the north by West Gate City Boulevard, on the east by Freeman Mill Road, and on the west by Coliseum Boulevard.
Glenwood is one of Greensboro’s oldest suburban neighborhoods, which over time became troubled as homes fell into disrepair, businesses closed, and crime increased.
Plan goals are to increase home ownership and maintenance, improve walk and bike-ability, promote desirable infill, reduce crime and perceptions of danger, promote vibrant and accessible retail and services, and strengthen the community fabric.
Approved in 2013, the Heath Community Strategic Plan was prepared for a group of neighborhoods that are bound together by their proximity, type of development, and common challenges.
The plan includes neighborhoods that lie on either side of Franklin Boulevard between E. Market Street and McConnell Road.
The goals and recommendations were developed in a year-long planning process that involved significant neighborhood input. The goals of the plan include improve traffic safety, create community pride, address code violations, invest in public infrastructure, and encourage economic development.
The Jonesboro/Scott Park Neighborhood Plan was developed over a period of time beginning in 2007 and adopted in 2009.
City Planning Department staff worked with neighborhood residents and property owners to develop a plan that included the goals of increasing public safety, improving the appearance of the neighborhood, upgrading public facilities, and increasing home ownership. The area is located east of US Hwy. 29 North and NC A&T State University.
East Greensboro Now is working with the neighborhood association and City staff to implement the plan.
On March 19-22, 2014, Greensboro residents, business owners and government officials gathered to participate in a community design workshop focused on the Lawndale Drive corridor. The specific focus areas was the Kirkwood Corridor of Lawndale Drive between Cone Boulevard and Cornwallis. Urban Design Workshop Report (2014)
The Lawndale Drive Corridor Plan, Phase I was adopted in April 2015. The City, in cooperation with neighborhood stakeholders, developed a shared vision for the future character of this section of Lawndale Drive as a guide for future growth decisions. The desired outcome is a set of tools and strategies the City can use to support stability in the neighborhoods adjacent to Lawndale Drive while accommodating anticipated growth.
City Council adopted the Lindley Park Neighborhood Plan in August 2004.
The plan covers the area bounded by W. Market Street on the north, S. Elam Avenue and Bitting Street on the east, Oakland Avenue on the south, and Holden Road on the west. Walker Avenue forms the southern boundary between Holden Road and W. Market Street.
The plan includes studies of the Spring Garden Street and Walker Street corridors and resulted in the Spring Garden Street Pedestrian Scale Overlay.
Other recommendations focus on balancing the mix of residential, commercial and industrial land uses, taking advantage of Lindley Park, and using the neighborhood association to its full potential.
The Randleman Road Phase I Corridor Plan was adopted in May 2016. This phase covers the northern half of Randleman Road, from Freeman mill Road south to I-40. The Plan's recommendations focus on improving public perceptions of the corridor, transportation, enhancements and encouraging reinvestment. The June 2015 Existing Conditions Summary includes data and analysis for the entire corridor.
Adopted in September 2013, the Western Area Plan is bounded by Interstate-40 on the south, NC 68 on the east, and N. Bunker Hill Road and Reedy Fork Creek on the west and north.
The need for this plan was identified in the Heart of the Triad study and it envisions a future where the economy continues to grow and prosper and lands valued for their agricultural and historical importance are conserved. The City saw a need to plan for the area because it is next to the airport and several major highway projects, and contains large tracts of undeveloped land.
The plan’s recommendations focus on directing growth to areas with existing infrastructure to balance the need for jobs, agriculture, and green space.
This group of plans has proposed redevelopment activities that are underway or remain to be implemented.
- Arlington Park Redevelopment Plan
- Eastside Park Redevelopment Plan
- Heritage House Redevelopment Plan
- Ole Asheboro Redevelopment Plan
- Phillips Lombardy Redevelopment Plan
- South Elm Street Redevelopment Plan
- Willow Oaks Redevelopment Plan
The Arlington Park Redevelopment Plan was approved in 1979 with the objectives of removing structurally substandard buildings and encouraging extensive rehabilitation.
Comprehensive neighborhood revitalization activities have been underway in the neighborhood since the early 1980s. Over the years, most of the goals of this neighborhood plan have been accomplished.
The redevelopment area encompasses 90 acres and is bound to the north by Andrews Street, to the south by Florida Street, to the west by Vance Street, and to the east by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Key recommendations for redevelopment include the development of four remaining lots currently owned by the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro. Redevelopment in the area is still active.
The Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro first began work here in the 1970s and initiated the most recent redevelopment activities along Bingham Street in 1990, with an expansion to include a wider area in 1993.
The overall objectives of the plans were to provide rehabilitation assistance to homeowners to acquire blighted properties, eliminate illegal activities, and construct a neighborhood park, in addition to other improvements.
The redevelopment area encompasses 47 acres and is bound to the north by Peachtree Street, to the south by Spencer Street, to the west by O. Henry Boulevard, and to the east by Bingham Street.
Key recommendations for redevelopment include neighborhood reuse plans for six lots currently owned by the Redevelopment Commission. Take a look at the Eastside Park Redevelopment Plan. Redevelopment in the area is still active.
Adopted in 2015, the Heritage House Redevelopment Plan was initiated after a condominium complex in south-central Greensboro was condemned and ordered vacated.
Located east of Randleman Road, off W. Meadowview Road, the 6.9 acre site includes an event center that will remain in place.
The plan calls for the acquisition and demolition of the condominium complex, and preparation of the site for alternative non-residential uses.
City Council approved the redevelopment plan following a review and favorable recommendation by the Redevelopment Commission and the Planning Board.
The Ole Asheboro area was designated in 1979 and the first comprehensive neighborhood plan was adopted in 1983.
This comparatively large neighborhood revitalization encompasses the area between E. Lee Street to the north and the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and E. Florida Street to the south. To the east, the area boundary runs along Arlington Street approximately to Broad Avenue, where the Arlington Park Redevelopment Plan area begins. To the west, Bennett Street defines that boundary.
Activities have included stabilizing existing housing stock, providing for new housing, adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of historic buildings, development of a daycare center, and upgrading of the area’s deteriorated infrastructure.
City Rehab, local ordinance enforcement, and Lead-Safe Housing Assistance programs are active in the area.
A second redevelopment plan was adopted in 2004 to respond to the changes in neighborhood and market conditions. Several areas for development were rezoned as Traditional Neighborhood Zones as part of the 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive North Plan.
Although most activities in the original plan have been completed, Ole Asheboro will remain an active redevelopment area until activities in those rezoned areas are complete. Take a look at the Ole Asheboro Redevelopment Plan
Adopted in 1989, the Phillips Lombardy Redevelopment Plan focuses on removing blighted properties and improving traffic circulation and land use patterns.
The plan also describes measures for developers to use to ensure consistent, new construction housing options.
The plan acquired a large contiguous site bounded by Phillips Avenue, Lombardy Street and the eastern property lines of Bartos Place. This redevelopment plan is still considered in active status.
The South Elm Street Redevelopment Plan was adopted in 2006. This redevelopment plan covers a 10-acre core area between Lee and Bragg streets bounded by the railroad spur to the west and Arlington Street to the east.
The target area is situated within a 75-acre redevelopment corridor that stretches from the Norfolk Southern rail line to the north to the intersection of Elm and Eugene streets to the south.
The central goal of this plan is to clean up contaminated brownfield sites and revive and reconnect this location into downtown.
Redevelopment of the site is planned for a mixture of uses including residential, commercial, and institutional.
The redevelopment area will remain active until the properties owned by the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro are sold for development.
The Willow Oaks Redevelopment Plan, an update to the Morningside/Lincoln Grove Redevelopment Plan, was approved in 2000. This plan calls for removal of substandard buildings, elimination of blighting factors, creation of a Traditional Neighborhood Development district, rehabilitation of existing homes, construction of new homes and apartments, and the upgrading of certain public improvements.
Two-hundred and 10 rental units and more than 100 single-family homes have been constructed.
Still to be completed are more than 150 single-family homes, Phase III Cottage Grove, Phase III McConnell Road, and the commercial/retail component of the Willow Oaks Village Center.
Remaining single-family lots are owned by the Greensboro Housing Development Partnership, which acts as the agent for the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro. The commission owns the land earmarked for the Village Center. Until these activities are complete, the redevelopment area will remain active.
This group of plans is where the redevelopment activities have been completed. The policies incorporated within these plans remain in force.
- Benjamin Benson Redevelopment Plan
- Bingham Street Area Redevelopment Plan
- College Hill Redevelopment Plan
- Cumberland Project Redevelopment Plan
- Downtown Redevelopment Plan
- East Market Street Redevelopment Plan
- Glenwood "A" Redevelopment Plan
- Glenwood Northeast Redevelopment Plan
- Glenwood West Redevelopment Plan
- Gorrell Street Redevelopment Plan
- Hampton Redevelopment Area
- Logan Redevelopment Plan
- McConnell Road Redevelopment Plan
- Office Center Project Redevelopment Plan
- Pear Street Redevelopment Area Plan
- Phillips Avenue Redevelopment Plan
- Southside Area Development Plan
- Retreat Street Redevelopment Plan
- Rosewood Redevelopment Plan
- Vance Redevelopment Plan
- Warnersville Redevelopment Plan
- Washington Project Redevelopment Plans
Recently, there has been quite a bit of media buzz regarding single-use plastics. The European Union has proposed new legislation regarding cutlery, straws, the plastic tube used in some cotton swabs, and seven other items that make up 70% of litter in our oceans. Not only is the EU planning to ban these items, but companies that create them will bear the cost of their clean-up from oceans and beaches.
That's all well and good for the EU, but unfortunately the U.S. is not there yet. So what can you do in the meantime? The truth is, anything that is smaller than approximately 2in x 2in is going to fall through the cracks of the sorting machinery and are destined for the landfill because it is too small to sort from other materials.
So what kinds of things have we seen fall through the cracks? A LOT of stuff.
Here are just a few that cannot be recycled at all:
- Eating utensils and straws (low quality plastic)
- Pens, pencils, markers (multi-material items)
- Toys (low quality or unknown type of plastic)
- Small tubes or compacts for makeup (non-recyclable/multi-material items)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes (multi-material items)
- Chicken wings, lemon wedges, and other food products (again, gross)
- Plastic applicators of feminine products (yes really, it's gross, PLEASE don’t recycle these)
Here are a few things that we see that should be recycled at the HHW drop-off location.
- Lightbulbs (multi-material items)
- Batteries (fire hazard--dangerous for recycling staff)
- Nail polish (also a fire hazard!)
Basically any item that is about yogurt-cup-sized or smaller will end up in the glass pile and go to the landfill. These items are recyclable, but have a good chance of ending up in the glass pile if not properly prepared:
- Plastic caps
- Plastic tamper evident rings
Make sure to reattach plastic caps securely to their plastic bottles before recycling them.
Thank you for trying to recycle all you can, but please rethink your recycling mantra and remember: When in Doubt, Throw it Out! Or look up the answer for yourself on our app's Waste Wizard. Download GSO Collects from the App Store, or use the online tool here.
Disposable straws, plates, cups, cutlery--all of these items and countless more are single-use. As a global society, we use more single-use items today than EVER before. This is because they're cheap, convenient, and available virtually everywhere. But where in the word did this disposable culture come from?!
Believe it or not, when plastic was first widely used, it was praised as a savior of wildlife. The first synthetic plastic was created in response to a growing demand for billiard balls--which were made from elephant tusks (ivory). Plastic also filled a need previously filled by animal horns and tortoise shells. #SaveTheElephants #SaveTheTurtles
In this fascinating history of plastic, the author writes that “plastics could protect the natural world from the destructive forces of human need.” Yet today, we see the detrimental effects plastic has on the environment because it doesn’t safely biodegrade. This hurts both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. One widely-known culprit is the plastic straw.
Plastic straws are a common single-use item. They are given (requested or not) at virtually all restaurants. Straws themselves have been around for centuries, commonly made from rye stalks. Paper straws were first widely used in the 1900s--when polio was rampant--to prevent transmission of the disease.
Around the 1960s, straws transitioned from paper to plastic. Plastic straws are particularly problematic because they are so lightweight that they travel easily through wind and water. You may think to yourself “we are so far away from the ocean, our litter only affects our local environment.” Greensboro is uniquely positioned at the headwaters of the Cape Fear River Basin. That means that EVERYTHING we do here flows downstream to Wilmington, the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. Every straw used has the potential to become litter, so consider asking wait staff for your beverage with “no straw please.”
One question I frequently get is “why can’t we just recycle these single-use items? They are plastic!” Single-use plastics, like straws and cutlery, cannot be recycled for two reasons: quality of plastic and ease of separation.
- The quality of the plastic is too low to justify recovering these items. Think about the flimsiness of a plastic spoon or straw compared to a sturdy laundry detergent bottle. The type of plastic is very cheap and therefore difficult to reprocess into something new.
- During the sorting process, small items such as straws and cutlery fall though screens and end up being taken to the landfill.
Plastic was created with the best of intentions--but the irony is obvious: plastic was created to protect animals, and it is now hurting more animals than ever! To help, take steps to reduce your use of single-use plastics. For the single-use plastics you do use, ensure that they up where they belong--the landfill. Also, check out the attached images for artistic representations of what single-use plastics mean for our world and our oceans.
If you have any additional questions about waste reduction, please do not hesitate to private message or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS--E-mail me if you would like to share any of my Ever Wonder Wednesday posts in a community or HOA newsletter. I will be happy to share content and images with you.
Plastic is virtually unavoidable in today’s society. Despite its environmental unpopularity, plastic remains one of the number one products found in our everyday lives. Beverages, laundry detergent, shampoo, ketchup, cleaning products, and even reusable beverage containers can all be made from plastic.
So… if plastic is unavoidable (without deliberate effort), why make the effort to recycle it? Because it keeps it out of the landfill and it creates jobs. Check out this cool video: https://youtu.be/WxgG3-0jpAI
In the Carolina's, 3,500 people depend on you recycling your plastic bottles and jugs to go to work every day. Yet over 70% of all plastic bottles are thrown away. It’s vital that more plastic bottles be recycled. Companies right here in the Carolina's who make new products from plastic bottles CAN’T find enough recycled plastic to run their plants efficiently.
A wide variety of objects can be made from recycled plastics.
- When laundry detergent, shampoo, and milk containers are recycled, they can make new bottles and containers, plastic lumber, picnic tables, lawn furniture, playground equipment, recycling bins and more.
- When plastic water, ketchup, mayo, and hand soap bottles are recycled, they can be made into t-shirts, sweaters, fleece jackets, insulation for jackets and sleeping bags, carpeting and more bottles. It takes about 10 bottles to create enough plastic fiber to make a cool new t-shirt, 63 bottles to make a sweater, 14 bottles to create enough insulation (fiberfill) for a ski jacket, and 114 bottles to make enough insulation (fiberfill) for a sleeping bag!
- Even though they’re made with a different type of plastic than the bottles, the caps should be put back on bottles before you toss them in recycling bins. What can they become? Plastic bottle caps can be recycled into batteries for your car, garden rakes, storage containers, reusable shopping bags, yarn, ropes, brooms… and more bottle caps.
How can you do your part?
Rinse. Recap. Recycle.
Look around your home (and not JUST in your kitchen), in your car, at your office, and everywhere you go for plastic bottle and jugs to recycle. Make it your mission to ALWAYS recycle bottles and jugs that you personally use, and encourage family and friends to do the same. The simple act of recycling plastic bottles creates well-paying jobs, and companies that have a good supply of recycled bottles will continue to invest and expand their businesses in North and South Carolina.
You can also help by telling others. Share the information in these posts via social media, e-mail, and personal conversations. Every voice helps spread the importance of recycling and it's positive impact on not only our environment, but our economy. And since money talks, try to buy items with recycled products in them as often as possible. You’re helping your neighbors! #YourBottleMeansJobs
Have you ever wondered what happens to glass when it's recycled at our Glass Recycling Drop-off sites?
Sure, most of us know that recycled bottles and jars are turned into new glass bottles and jars...but did you know you won’t ever purchase a glass bottle or jar made from 100% recycled glass? Even more interestingly, not all glass bottles and jars will be turned into new glass bottles and jars.
Primarily, recycled glass is crushed into cullet. To make new glass, manufacturers will use up to 95% cullet and at least 5% virgin material. Cullet is useful because it lowers the melting point required to make glass. However, virgin material is necessary to ensure high quality glass that is not stronger in some places and weaker in others. Cullet can be used to create new glass bottles and jars, but it also can be used for something less common: sandblasting.
Glass is made from three ingredients: sand, limestone, and soda ash.
All three of these ingredients are found in the United States, and the largest soda ash mineral deposit is here in the US. Sand has historically been used for more than making glass. It was also the key material used in sandblasting. Sandblasting with sand releases free silica, which when inhaled, causes a deadly lung disease called silicosis. When sand is heated, however, the free silica is neutralized, making refined cullet the perfect replacement for sand in sandblasting. Glass was integral in helping OSHA resolve this public health issue.
It is important to mention that not all glass is created equal. Tempered glass--found in car windows, glass candles, and glass cookware--has a higher melting point than regular glass, meaning it cannot be recycled with glass bottles and jars. The options for disposing this type of glass are limited to creative reuse centers (that may use the glass pieces for projects) and the landfill.
Another cool fact about glass is that it is infinitely recyclable. The glass jar you hold today could be made from parts of glass bottles that were used years ago and recycled. It is important for us to protect natural resources mined both domestically and abroad. So important, that there is one state in the US that has a law requiring ABC permit holders to have separate glass recycling for their business.
You may be thinking California, Oregon, or New York… but North Carolina is that state! Several years ago, North Carolinians felt it was extremely important to ensure recycled glass processors that call NC home have feedstock for their operations. Coincidently, the Craft Brewing industry has also flourished in the past couple years. So every time you partake in an adult beverage at a Greensboro restaurant or bar, you are helping create jobs right here in the NC glass recycling industry!
Each year, as we begin to come out of hibernation from winter, local garden and hardware stores get busier and busier with shoppers looking to improve their gardens, lawns, and landscapes. Personally, I have big plans for a little plot in my back yard that involves tomatoes, green beans, squash, pumpkins, and more! Yum.
We have set up a compost bin in our backyard made from reused pallets, and garden fabric (my husband's design, pictured here). For the past year, we have been slowly adding our fruit and veggie food scraps, and some of our lawn trimmings. As this waste breaks down, it creates an extremely nutrient dense, loamy material with beneficial microorganisms that bring life to your soil. Your food scraps are recycled into something that will make your plants stand up and cheer!
Compost isn't called "gardener's gold" for no reason… head to the store and you'll pay a pretty penny to feed your plants. Consider creating your own gardener's gold for next year's garden. It's really easy, compost is very forgiving if you do mess up, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t smell or attract unwanted critters. I'm pretty sure my pets have no idea that the compost bin contains former food scraps.
If you are interested in learning more about creating your own backyard compost, check out our "Beginner's Guide to Backyard Composting". Are you interested in taking a backyard composting class? Let us know if you’re interested with a comment below, and we will be sure to update Nextdoor (and Facebook) if a class is scheduled in the future.
If you don't have time to create your own backyard compost for this year's garden, never fear! At the White Street Landfill complex, all of the yard waste collected by City crews is composted using large scale industrial equipment throughout the year. If you would like to purchase compost or mulch, it only costs $20 per truckload or ton, and leaf mulch is free. For details about compost and mulch at White Street, please visit our compost and mulch webpage.
Please do not mix food waste in with your yard waste collection. Currently, there are no plans to begin a curbside pick-up program for food waste in Greensboro.
We all appreciate the convenience and variety that single-use coffee pods like K-cups bring. But what happens after you enjoy that cup of piping-hot deliciousness? Can it be recycled or does it need to be landfilled?
The quick answer is to landfill the k-cup and other single-use coffee pods. The first reason is that they are too small to be sorted by the machines at the recycling center. The second reason is that they consist of three different types of materials: plastic, paper, and organic material (coffee/tea grounds). So even if the k-cup was large enough to be sorted by our machines, they still couldn’t be recycled.
The best option would be to avoid single-use coffee pods. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on a perfectly portioned single cup of coffee! There are reusable single-serve coffee pod options. They are refillable at home with any coffee/tea grounds that you like. Once you’ve used it, you can compost the used coffee/tea grounds, wash your pod, and reuse it over and over again!
If you’re absolutely hooked on the single-use coffee pods, there is a tool you can purchase to separate out the three different materials (a quick google search should yield results). The coffee/tea grounds and paper filter can be composted, but the plastic cups and foil lids still needs to be landfilled.
The process of separating out single-use coffee pods is a tedious one that takes away the convenience factor of a single-use coffee pod in the first place. Consider ditching the single-use pod for a reusable one, or switch back to the old-fashioned coffee pot instead!
I often get asked why Greensboro doesn't service recycling carts as often as trash carts. Yes, we used to have weekly recycling collection, but in 2008 we made the switch to Every Other Week (EOW) recycling.
This may sound counterproductive, because we want everyone to recycle all they can. The State of NC Recycling Program did a study and found that each household generates about 850 pounds of recyclables each year. However, only about half of that amount is being recycled properly. The other half of the potential recyclables from most homes is being landfilled.
Before switching to EOW recycling, about 30% of homes in Greensboro were putting out their recycling cans each collection day. That meant we were driving by 7 out of 10 homes every single week without stopping to pick up their recycling. We were also picking up 29,600 tons each year. That translates to about 569 tons a week. It cost us about $3.9 million to collect recycling in ‘06-‘07.After we made the switch to EOW recycling, our participation rate doubled to 60% of homes setting their recycling carts out each collection day. In ’07-’08 when we switched, we picked up 29,700 tons--about 570 tons a week. The number of houses recycling doubled, the average tons collected each week stayed relatively the same, and the cost of collecting recyclables dropped to $3.3 million that year.
Across the City, we are still seeing tonnage that is too low to warrant picking up recycling every week. If you want to see every week recycling, two things need to happen: more and better recycling.
I understand that you and your neighbors are frustrated about not having enough room in one recycling container to hold all your recycling. You have the option of requesting a second recycling container for your home if you have too much recycling to last you two weeks between pickups. You can do so through our new GSO Collects App, available on the app store (no waiting on the phone)! Or you can call 336-373-CITY (2489).
Currently, about 20% of the stuff that goes to our recycling center is actually trash (aka contamination). The national contamination rate is averaging about 5-10% trash in the recycling. Please, when in doubt, throw it out, if you're not sure if something is recyclable. If you want to find out, use our Waste Wizard search engine in the GSO Collects app to search virtually any item and find out how to dispose of it properly. If something is not in the search engine, you can report it as missing and we will add it to our database! The GSO Collects Waste Wizard and reporting tools are also located on our website.
Recycling correctly is just as important as increasing recycling. Trash in the recycling can be detrimental to the process because it can cause recyclable items to be too dirty to be recycled. Also, employees at the recycling center could be injured by some items in your recycling. Please make sure that you recycle better before you recycle more. Know where to throw!
Download and print the contamination poster.
It may be obvious to most of you that insecticides, herbicides, and other pesticides or garden chemicals do not belong in your recycling bin. You may even know that they don’t belong in your trash bin either. So where should they go?
Pesticides should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Center located at 2750 Patterson Street. These chemicals should not go to the landfill because many pesticides are flammable. If these chemicals get into the natural environment, they can pollute waterways and harm plants and animals. In fact, pesticides are created to harm plants and animals, so it's critical that we keep them out of the environment!
Putting these chemicals in your recycling poses the same fire hazard as putting them into your trash bin. If the pesticides were to leak out in the truck on the way to the recycling center, they could ruin an entire truckload (between 3-5 tons) of recyclables!
Empty pesticide containers are different. If you have empty and dry plastic containers that once held pesticides, these can go into your recycling bin. If you purchase dry pesticides that come in bags, these go into your trash bin as long as they are empty. If you are trying to discard a partially full bag of pesticides, take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Center.
Pesticides are created to harm plants and animals, and they do just that. In an effort to reduce pesticide use and reduce your waste, consider alternative methods of pest control. One common (and effective) method is crop rotation. Even if you have a small flower or vegetable garden, simply switching up what you grow every few years can reduce pest infestation, and improve your soil quality!
There are many other ways to control pests that don’t use chemicals so harmful that they require special disposal at the Household Hazardous Waste site. Be sure to do your research this gardening season to find a method that could work best for you!
Oftentimes, residents think of the kitchen when they think of recyclable items. It’s easy enough to remember that your pizza box, milk jug, and soup can should all go in your recycling container. But what about the other items in your home that are recyclable? Today we shine a light on other places you might find recycling in your home.
In the bathroom, it can be tempting to put toilet paper tubes, shampoo bottles, and the plastic wrap around toilet paper (can be recycled at the grocery store) in the trash can. Consider having a small recycling bin in your bathroom along with your trash can (twin the bin!) to make it easy to separate your tissues, make-up wipes, and cotton swab trash from the jugs and recyclable paper products in your bathroom.
Have a home office, craft room, shed, or man cave? All of those rooms may contain recyclables that don’t belong in your green garbage cart. These rooms are ideal places for a small recycling bin. Put paper, magazines, mail, and envelopes in the recycling!
Have a question about whether an item in your house is recyclable? Try using our mobile app, GSO Collects.
Recycling isn't always convenient, but it makes a big difference if we all make small simple changes to increase our recycling efforts!
Make sure to return the following items to retail locations, like grocery stores, for recycling!
As a country, we landfill enough aluminum each year to build a fleet of aircrafts. Much of this waste comes in the form of cans and dish containers. Here in Greensboro, most aluminum found in the kitchen is recyclable - including aluminum foil and pie pans.
But, like with many good things, there is a catch. In order to recycle aluminum foil properly, it needs to be relatively clean (a quick rinse should do the trick, no need to spend minutes scrubbing the foil spotless), and loosely balled together to at least the size of a softball. It is important to ball up the foil so that it will be separated properly. Flat foil will act like paper in the machinery and end up in the paper piles.
If your aluminum foil isn’t ripped, reuse it! If you’re going through the effort to clean your aluminum foil or dish containers spotless, there is no reason to recycle them after one use. If you’re having trouble getting your foil or dish containers clean enough for reuse in the sink, aluminum is dishwasher safe on the top rack!
In addition to looking for ways to recycle more, consider creating less waste in the first place. There are reusable options such as beeswax paper or even plastic/glass reusable containers that can be used over and over again to keep food fresh.
If you have any additional questions about waste reduction, please do not hesitate to private message or e-mail me at email@example.com.
PS--Email me if you would like to share any of my Ever Wonder Wednesday posts in a community or HOA newsletter. I will be happy to share content and images with you.
Also, if you would like to view a complete list of all our Ever Wonder Wednesday posts, please visit www.greensboro-nc.gov/wonder
Clothes hangers are typically made from three different materials or a combination of plastic, metal, and wood.
Regardless of the type of hanger, they don’t belong in your recycling bin. Metal and wood hangers can jam and damage the machines at the recycling facility, causing dangerous situations for the employees there. Plastic hangers (which are often a plastic/metal combo) can break, fall through the machinery, and end up contaminating other recyclables.
When it comes to hangers, reducing and reusing are your best options. Leave the plastic hangers at the store when you buy new clothes. Purchase sturdy, durable hangers that are unlikely to break so you can use them for a lifetime.
Another option is to sell your metal hangers to a local metal recycler if you no longer need them or they are damaged (a quick Google search will yield several local metal recyclers). Undamaged hangers can be donated to your local thrift store. Damaged non-metal hangers must, unfortunately, go to the landfill. Even damaged wood hangers must go to the landfill because they are coated in a varnish that makes them non-compostable.
Have you ever wondered what to do with your old dried out nail polish? Did you know that it shouldn’t just be tossed in the trash?
Nail polish often contains toxins that are harmful to the environment, so nail polish should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Center.
You can also consider creative reuse options for your old nail polish! A quick google search will show you how to revitalize dried-out or gummed up nail polish and give you plenty of uses for it other than painting your nails.
Consider taking your old nail polish to Reconsidered Goods so that others in our community can use the paint, bottles, or both for creative purposes.
There is also a mail-in recycling program for nail polish through Chemwise. They process the bottles and recycle the glass container, applicator brush, and the polish. It's not a cheap program, but if you gather enough nail polish between you and your neighbors it could be worth it!
There are many options to dispose of your old nail polish, so please, don’t send it to the landfill.
This department is a centralized human resources administration program consisting of seven functional divisions/sections:
- Employee Health & Safety
- General Administration & Policy
- Learning & Development
- Recruitment, Staffing, & Employment
- Workforce Strategies & Analytics
What are the Benefits division's key responsibilities? Where do I learn more about the City’s benefits?
The Benefits Division is responsible for developing and administering a comprehensive program for employees and their families, as well as coordinating the provisions of benefits through third-party providers. The City employs more than 2,800 full-time, 200 part-time, and up to 1,000 temporary and seasonal employees.
Benefits are provided to City employees in full-time positions (budgeted at least 40 hours per week) and also for employees in part-time positions (budgeted at least 20 hours per week).
For more information about the City’s benefits programs, please review the City of Greensboro 2018 Benefits Book.
- Please review the 2017 Benefits Book. You can also contact your Benefits Specialist. The benefits specialist serve retired employees based on their last name.Review the contact list for your benefits specialist.
The City’s Medical Services unit provides both pre-employment and periodic (Public Safety) physical exams for employees, as well as treatment of worker’s compensation injuries, administration of immunizations/vaccines, medical referrals, and routine clinic visits. This unit is also the internal referral unit for employees in need of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and provides a variety of healthy lifestyle educational activities, programs, and screenings. Additionally, this unit is responsible for the administration of FMLA, post accident drug screens, and other substance abuse screenings.
The City’s Medical Services unit is available to current City of Greensboro employees and retirees. Having this program available to City employees is part of the City’s efforts to create a safe and healthy workforce.
- Maintaining a safe and healthy work environment is vital to the City’s success. The Safety, Health, and Worker’s Compensation Division is responsible for managing the accident and injury prevention program, auditing OSHA compliance, administering the Worker’s Compensation program, conducting Fit for Duty evaluations, and addressing ADA compliance for the City of Greensboro.
The division partners with other City departments to develop programs, policies, and operational guidelines. The occupational components of the program include regulatory review, training in a variety of areas, equipment, vehicle, and facility assessments, accident investigation, and accident history analysis. The team also provides safety and health guidance/assistance to management and supervisors.
This division, along with other support services, is designed to assist employees when returning to work and ensure proper delivery of worker’s compensation benefits that comply with the North Carolina Industrial Commission laws for governing work-related employee injuries and illnesses.
Building a skilled and customer-focused employee base is important to the City. Training and Development is conducted by the Organizational Effectiveness and Development division. This division’s mission is to provide opportunities for employees to achieve exemplary performance through quality learning experiences and organizational development. The vision is to be the organization's preferred and most reliable source for learning and organizational development activities, programs, and resources by providing customized training for work groups, retreats, meeting facilitation, and team building.
The Organizational Effectiveness and Development is housed within the Law and Compliance Team. This team manages all employee relations functions and services including formal grievances, employer/employee complaints, dispute resolution, and claims of discrimination.
- Each department recruits and hires employees. The City’s Employment Office is a responsible partner for organizing and coordinating the recruitment, initial screening, and selection processes for all positions (except temporary events staff at Greensboro Coliseum). The goal of this office is to attract qualified applicants and ensure equal opportunity employment for all without regard to age, race, gender, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, or sexual orientation.
Information on current announced vacancies can be found on the City’s Employment Job Board. Please do not send unsolicited resumes as they will not be reviewed. The City will only accept applications for current openings.
The City’s total compensation program is a critical part of the City’s human resources strategy because it provides management with a powerful, cost-effective tool to meet customer needs by bringing about desired behaviors from employees. It begins with the City’s mission, vision and business strategy. In turn, the City’s business strategy greatly influences its human resources strategy with one of the outcomes being a total compensation philosophy.
The City embraces a pay-for-performance philosophy, thereby mapping rewards to results. Performance evaluations are conducted at least annually. Merit award program guidelines are presented to the City Manager and City Council on an annual basis for review and program approval.
- The HRIS component has the primary responsibility for administering the City’s Human Resource Information System (HRIS) as part of an enterprise resource planning team. Major areas of responsibility include reviewing and confirming all payroll/personnel transactions, ensuring HRIS data integrity, creating management reports, authorizing employee security access, training City staff in the functional uses of HRIS, and filing required federal and state reports.
Have you ever wondered about plastic bottle caps? Or had a question about whether they're recyclable? Should they go in the trash?
Here's your answer:
Recycle your plastic bottles with the caps ON the bottles. If the caps are placed in the recycle bin separate from the bottle, they will essentially get lost and end up in the landfill.
“But wait… I thought it was off” you might say. It used to be that way. Caps were made of more than one type of plastic melted together that made recycling virtually impossible. But a few years ago, the Plastic Bottle Council ruled that caps should only be made of one kind of plastic to promote more recycling. Now that most plastic bottle caps are all made of the same, single material, recyclers can separate them out.
1. You recycle your bottle with cap on
2. Bottle and cap are sorted out from the rest of your recycling (paper, metal, glass, etc) and baled
3. Bottle and cap go to a Bottle Washing Plant
4. Bottles and caps are chopped into tiny bits called “flake” and washed with water
5. When washed, the cap flake floats and the bottle flake sinks
6. The cap flake is strained off of the washing tank, dried, and sent to be made into composite lumber (plastic decking material)
Used needles and other sharps… believe it or not, these are things we see far too often at our recycling center. Part of our recycling process includes hand sorting of items. While our employees wear personal protective equipment, including puncture resistant gloves, they can't always protect against tiny needles. Needles can injure people and spread infections that cause serious health conditions.
Never place loose needles and other sharps in household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet. These acts put sanitation workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, and children at risk of being harmed.
Safe ways to dispose of your sharps
In NC, it is currently legal to dispose of home injection needles by putting them in a plastic laundry bottle. This also includes syringes, vials, and other injection-related materials you might use for self-injections. Please follow these directions:
Never place loose needles and syringes in the trash or recycling!
- Label container “Do Not Recycle.”
- Put sharps in point-first.
- Containers more than half-full should be disposed of.
- Store sharps in closed container with the cap screwed on.
- Place in your trash can ONLY.
Mail-back disposal programs allow home sharps users to mail used sharps to licensed disposal facilities as a safe disposal option. These programs charge a fee for the service. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist, or search the yellow pages or Internet using key words “sharps mail-back.”
Needle Destruction Devices (that bend, break, incinerate, or shear needles)
-A device that incinerates needles and lancets can be used at home to destroy needles immediately after use. These small, portable devices use a few seconds of high heat to melt needles and reduce them to BB-size balls. Previously used only in healthcare facilities, these devices are now available in smaller, less expensive models for home use.
-A needle cutter or clipper automatically stores cut needles in a small refuse reservoir. Once the sharp is destroyed by heat or cutting, you can place the remains in a sealed container, such as a detergent bottle and place it in your household trash (not recycling).
Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP)
Sharps users can safely exchange used needles for new needles. Contact the North American Syringe Exchange Network at 253-272-4857.
I often hear from residents that they recycle EVERYTHING they can. But here is a question for you… do you recycle EVERYWHERE you can?
If we're honest, most of us have had times where we've put a recyclable bottle or can in the garbage. It's harder to recycle when it's inconvenient. Consider this:
What if you’re out and you only see a trash can around? How long are you willing to hold on to that bottle before you give up and just throw it in the garbage? Ever been to a sports event, concert, or park and not seen recycling containers? It can be really frustrating to feel like you only have the choice to throw something in the garbage, but you do have the choice to take that bottle with you to recycle later.
Do you know how many bottles are recycled in NC each year? 80%? 50%? No… it's only 30%. That means that 70% of the bottle waste we generate is being buried in landfills. Recycling is a choice you make. Sometimes it's not always the easiest choice, but when you choose to recycle, you are helping create American jobs. How?
When you recycle a plastic bottle, it can become a new plastic item like a bottle, container, or toy, but in Greensboro, it can also become something unexpected… yarn.
Anyone ever heard of polyester? Well, it's made from oil based products. The company Unifi is headquartered here in Greensboro, and has processing facilities in Reidsville and Yadkinville that transform plastic bottles into polyester yarn. The cool thing about this is that it's chemically identical to polyester sourced from oil, but created from recycled materials.
The uncool thing is that the Reidsville plant that processes the bottles has to source recycled bottles from all over the US, as well as Canada and Mexico. In fact, all of the bottles collected from NC would only run the facility for one day out of the entire year. The plant literally is buying Mexico’s waste, because some are too lazy to recycle.
Let’s change that. Can you join me in one simple commitment? Recycle all your plastic bottles this year. Simple enough, right? Maybe take it one step further and try to make sure your entire family recycles all of their plastic bottles, even if there are no recycling containers around when you are away from home.
For more information and videos about plastic bottle recycling, visit www.yourbottlemeansjobs.org
Holiday festivities can generate a lot of waste... Let's look at common party supplies, their disposal methods, and alternatives to help you have a wasteless gathering!
- Napkins: napkins, tissues, and tissue paper can't be recycled since their fibers are too short to be made into anything new. Consider using cloth napkins over and over again. It's a great way to green up your party while making it super fancy!
- Toothpicks: even though paper is made from wood, we cannot accept any wood items in our recycling program. This includes scrap wood and those tiny toothpicks. Swap toothpicks in your cheese cubes for reusable and decorative tongs.
- Stir sticks and straws: both of these plastic items are not recyclable. Because of their shape and size, they fall through the cracks of the machinery at the recycling facility and end up going to the landfill. Consider reusable straws and stir sticks (or spoons) this season and you will not have to purchase these single-use plastics each year.
- Corks: both natural and synthetic corks are not recyclable in your regular recycling, but try one of these ideas:
- Check out this cool Wine Cork Recycling Program! Up to 2 cents per cork is donated to causes that support forest and ocean conservation. Many of the corks they receive are also donated to non-profit organizations.
- Donate corks to Reconsidered Goods, the Creative Reuse Center of the Triad, for local makers, crafters, and students to create beautiful works of art with items that otherwise might have been landfilled.
Both of these organizations create American jobs for crafters, makers, and small business owners!
Wishing you happy--and wasteless--holiday gatherings!
Once the holidays are over, you may wonder what to do with all the leftover gift wrap. Read on to find out!
- Decorations, gift wrap, bags, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons cannot be recycled. Instead, they should go into your trash can. Why?
-Gift wrap can sometimes contain layers of plastic, foil, or other items that contaminate paper recycling processes, so please do not recycle them.
-Bows and ribbons can become tanglers! Be extra careful not to recycle them.
-Tissue paper fibers are too low quality to be made into new things, so they're not recyclable either.
- If you have gently used decorations, bows, bags, etc, that you no longer want, consider donating them to Reconsidered Goods, the Creative Reuse Center of the Triad, for an end of year tax write-off!
- Have lots of extra cardboard? Break them down before placing them in your recycling container--it saves a ton of space.
You can also try these options for creative reuse…
-Save what you can to reuse next year.
-Give gifts in reusable bags. It's the gift that everyone's happy to receive because they can use them over and over again!
-Wrap your gifts in recyclable paper. This year, I chose to use old, outdated maps and tiny reusable cloth stockings for smaller items. See the attached pictures for how I made them festive. You can often find large quantities of paper like this at Reconsidered Goods. (2805 Patterson St. Tues-Sat, 10-5, Sun 12-5)
- Decorations, gift wrap, bags, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons cannot be recycled. Instead, they should go into your trash can. Why?
Every year, millions of packages, shipping envelopes, and goodies crisscross the country. Here are some common recycling questions regarding shipping and packaging:
- If your cardboard boxes have tape on them, they are ok to recycle. Break down boxes to save space!
- Sometimes packages have plastic wrap stuck to the outside to hold shipping invoices. If you could remove that plastic wrap (and recycle at the grocery store), that would be helpful. If it is stuck on with industrial glue you cannot get off, you can still recycle the cardboard box.
- Mailing envelopes that are ONLY paper, even the ones with the little plastic windows you often find in bills, are fine to recycle.
- Mailing envelopes that are ONLY made of plastic film, with or without bubble wrap, (i.e. the ones that clothing often is shipped in) are only recyclable at the grocery store--not at home.
- If a mailing envelope is both paper and plastic (i.e. the kind with bubble wrap inside and paper on the outside), those need to go in your trash can.
Check out the attached image for examples of the items above.
Have excess garbage? You can take excess trash to the Burnt Poplar Transfer Station.
Thanksgiving… a wonderful holiday where we gather together to celebrate what we're thankful for. And after your holiday meal, remember to put all food scraps and leftovers in your trash bin or compost. Food scraps don’t belong in recycling containers.
Food is one of the most frequent contaminants at our recycling processing facility. While your recycling containers don't have to be spotless, please don't toss your half-full jars of cranberry sauce and takeout from last month in the recycling. Food scraps, leftovers, disposable plates, cups, flatware, and napkins (paper, plastic, or Styrofoam) cannot be recycled.
Disposable plastic and Styrofoam plates, no matter how clean, are not recyclable. Paper plates, napkins, and paper towels can't be recycled either because they're too low quality to be recycled into new paper products.
Disposable cups of any kind are not recyclable. They are made of low quality materials and become a contaminant in the plastic container recycling processes. You CAN recycle disposable plastic cups.
Disposable spoons, forks, knives, and serving utensils cannot be recycled because they fall into our glass storage area. This big pile of glass travels to the glass recycling plant and they sort out non-glass material. Anything that is not glass and cannot be pulled out with a magnet will then go to the landfill.
Help reduce our waste and contamination in recycling this holiday season! Consider using reusable plates, cups, forks, and napkins for festivities and gatherings. If you do use disposable, make sure all guests know what is recyclable (plastic cups only), and that all other items should go in the trash. If you have ever considered backyard composting, try it now! Visit this site for more information about how to backyard compost.
And remember that grease should never be poured down your drain after holiday meals. Place it in a covered can or bottle and take it to the Household Hazardous Waste Center for proper disposal.
Have you ever wondered if recycling is really worth the effort? I have personally had residents ask whether their recyclables were just going to get dumped into a landfill. Let's clear up a few questions…
- Why do I see recycling trucks picking up my trash?
All of our trucks have the same graphic designs on the side--recycling is something that we want everyone to think about, so we put our pretty graphics on all of our trucks. There are designated trash and recycling trucks that pick up only trash or only recycling.
- I saw a truck pick up both the trash and recycling from the same house. WHY?
Typically this is because there is something non-recyclable sticking out of the recycling cart such as carpet, blinds, bedding, or yard waste. Contamination like this can be harmful to the machinery and workers at the recycling facility. For this reason, the carts are skipped by the recycling truck, tagged, and the garbage drivers pick them up.
- Doesn't recycling just go to the landfill anyway? I've heard you sort through the trash for recycling, so why should I put forth the effort to separate recycling?
The City provides (and your tax dollars pay for) two truck routes with distinctly separate destinations. Unfortunately, any recyclable materials that you put in the trash are picked up by our garbage trucks, taken directly to a transfer station, placed into a tractor-trailer, and taken straight to a landfill. The time, effort, and money it would cost to hand sort the recyclables out of your garbage would be an inefficient use of your tax dollars--especially when you can sort at home! All materials you put in the recycling cart are taken directly to the recycling facility.
Recycling conserves resources, reduces waste to landfills, and creates jobs in the Carolinas. Greensboro is committed to making our community a great place to live, work, and play. Recycling is just one of the great ways that we can all work together to make our home a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful place. You may not feel like what you do as an individual makes a big difference--like you’re just a drop in the ocean. But if we all make small changes, those individual drops can make huge waves of change by sharing knowledge, encouraging others to recycle, and recycling every day of the year.
- Why do I see recycling trucks picking up my trash?
"Tanglers" are a group of items that can damage recycling machinery. Any item that is put in the recycling container that isn't recyclable is called a contaminant. Ropes, wires, hoses, cords, clothes, plastic and cloth sheets, tarps, wire hangers, and plastic bags wrap around our rotating machine parts and not only decrease their ability to sort recycling, but can also break expensive equipment.
Folks that work at the Recycling Center must climb into these machines and cut out anything that has gotten tangled by hand--not a super safe task. By separating out objects that cannot hold their shape, you are making safer work environments for lots of people in the recycling industry. If you are unsure if something is a tangler or not, please put it in the landfill-bound bin (or reach out to me and I will help).
In summary, make sure that you are landfilling potentially harmful items instead of recycling them. Check out our recycling guide (see picture) for examples of what should and should not be recycled.
Wrappers, decorations, costumes… oh my!
Halloween is right around the corner and you may have lingering questions about what items are recyclable, what should be trashed, and what is donation worthy.
- Candy is the focal point of Halloween festivities. All candy wrappers and snack bags should go in your landfill-bound bin. If you have purchased a big bag of snacks, the outside bag that all the other candy or snacks came in is recyclable with your other plastic bags, film, and wrap at the grocery stores. Alternatively, check out Terracycle for a snack bag/wrapper mail in recycling program and fundraiser. Any cardboard boxes can be recycled, as long as they are empty.
- Aluminum foil can only be recycled if it doesn't have any leftover food in it, although it's ok if it isn't 100% clean. Be sure to roll it up into a loose ball about the size of a tennis ball. Any smaller and it will fall through the cracks and not get recycled. Pro Recycler Tip: All those tiny candies and kisses that are wrapped in foil… collect the foil until you have enough to make a big enough ball!
- Decorations are not recyclable, but if you think yours still have life in them and you're ready to get rid of them, consider donating. Not all non-profits accept decorations, but Reconsidered Goods, our local non-profit Creative Reuse Center makes items like these available to artists, teachers, makers, crafters, and you at low cost - plus you get a tax write-off for donating! Also, your unwanted decorations may become part of something new and fresh!
- Costumes are a great item to donate or consign! Plus if you are looking for next year's costume when you donate yours, you might find a great deal!
Light bulbs - once they are burnt out, what do you do with them? Read more for this week's recycling tip:
When properly disposed of at the Household Hazardous Waste Center, ALL light bulbs, including those with and without mercury are 100% recyclable! The various components are broken apart and made into a variety of new items.
- Glass is recycled into new glass items
- Aluminum end caps are recycled into other aluminum products
- Phosphor powder (a component of fluorescent bulbs) is cleaned and returned back into light tubes
- Wire goes to metal recycling facilities
- Mercury is purified in a high temperature oven and recycled as metallic mercury
Light bulbs that end up in the landfill do not break down over time. Their valuable (and sometimes toxic) components will remain in landfills for the foreseeable future as is. Make sure you do your part and recycle your light bulbs at EcoFlo Inc.
To properly dispose of lightbulbs, they need to be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off site (EcoFlo). This location is free to all Guilford County residents. Household waste only, no businesses please (e-mail me if you need assistance with hazardous business waste disposal).
Any item that is put in the recycling container that isn't recyclable is called a contaminant. Contaminants can range from food to dishes, needles, and diapers. Today’s Ever Wonder Wednesday will take a closer look at one example of a contaminant that we often find in recycling containers.
Ceramics and glassware are not recyclable. Ceramics cannot be made into anything new with our current recycling technology. Glassware (plates, cups, vases, etc.) melt at different temperatures. This means that dishware glass acts as an impurity in the recycling process. Be sure to place both ceramics and glassware in your landfill bound bins, or consider donating if they are still usable. Please help us spread the word that they don't belong in recycling bins.
Make sure that you are landfilling potentially harmful items instead of recycling them. Check out our recycling guide for examples of what should and should not be recycled.
You might wonder… "Batteries are made of metal… does that make them recyclable in my bin at home? Why am I supposed to take them to the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off site? What happens if batteries are put in the bins at home?"
All batteries--rechargeable and non-rechargeable--should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Center for disposal. Alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable) have no recycling value. Since they have hazardous chemicals inside, it is EXTREMELY important that they be taken to the HHW drop-off location to be disposed of in a special landfill.
All other batteries that are rechargeable, like AA, AAA, 9V, power tools, etc DO get recycled. The metals inside and the plastic exterior both have good markets for recycling. Because of this, it is even more important that these batteries get recycled at the HHW location and not placed in curbside recycling or landfill-bound bins.
On a very serious note, at our recycling and transfer station (landfill waste) we have had battery-ignited fires - see attached image. The batteries were crushed under the weight of waste or equipment, leaked dangerous chemicals, and started fires among the paper and cardboard fuel. Our teams are trained to look out for fires and extinguish them, and we love our Greensboro firefighters! Thankfully we have had no injuries or major damage at either the recycling center or transfer station—BUT these situations can turn very dangerous very quickly. PLEASE share with others the importance of proper battery disposal. Safety is our number one priority and your actions can make a big difference!
To properly dispose of batteries, taken them to the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off site. You do not need to separate the rechargeable from the non-rechargeable batteries--they'll take care of that. This location is free to all Guilford County residents (you may need to show your license to prove you reside in Guilford County). Household waste only, no businesses please (e-mail us if you need assistance with hazardous business waste disposal).
Have you ever been told to look for the tiny triangles with little numbers inside to decide if something is recyclable or not? Well hold on tight because that rule no longer applies.
You will often find a tiny triangle/number combo on items made of plastic. While there may be recycling symbols (aka chasing arrows) on paper, metal, and glass objects, that usually indicates that the item is made from recycled materials.
When those tiny triangles with little numbers inside were designed, they were intended to be plastic identification codes for plastic processing. Each of the numbers, from 1 to 7, represented a different type of plastic material from plastic drinking bottles, to detergent jugs, toys, and even mixed plastics.
Since all plastics are chemically different, they behave differently when melted, washed, or otherwise treated, so it was important that manufacturers knew what type of recycled plastic they were getting. But these days, new recycling technology can automatically sort plastics (lasers are involved and it's pretty cool).
So today, many communities can accept ALMOST all numbered plastics. That's why Greensboro doesn't include the recycling numbers in our information. The numbers make it confusing because the rules are inconsistent. For example, we DO accept RIC #s 1-7, but do not accept plastic bags, which can be made out of #2 or #4 plastic. We DO accept #6 plastic, but NOT Styrofoam, which often has a tiny 6 inside a triangle. See… even I'm getting a headache.
So let's keep it simple. We recycle plastic bottles, tubs, and jugs. Just remember, if it is plastic and falls into any of these category, recycle it. Our biggest offenders are Styrofoam and "Tanglers" (anything that cannot hold its shape, like bags, sheets, hoses, etc.), so help us out by keeping those out of your recycling bin. If you are unsure if something is a tangler or not, please put it in the landfill-bound bin (or reach out to me and I will help).
The big take home message for you is this: a tiny triangle or recycling symbol doesn't automatically mean that something is recyclable!
Ever Wonder… is this paper supposed to be recycled? Read more to find out about mail, boxes, books, and shredded paper.
- Do I need to remove the plastic windows on envelopes? What about the plastic around the opening of tissue boxes?
No, those are fine to leave on your envelopes and tissue boxes. That small amount of plastic is not detrimental to paper mill processing. If anything has a plastic wrapping around it (several boxes of tissues, paper towels, etc), that should be removed and recycled at the grocery store. Break boxes down to save space in your recycling cart!
- Is glossy paper ok, like magazines?
Yes! We want your magazines, but not the plastic sleeves they sometimes come in. Photo paper cannot be recycled at this time.
- Do I need to bundle or bag my paper products?
No, everything should be loose in the bin. No bagging or bundling since it can damage equipment at the recycling center.
- Are books recyclable?
Paperback books are recyclable as is. Hardback books need to have the hardback covers removed and landfilled. (Please exhaust all other efforts to donate books before recycling!)
- What about shredded paper… should that be put in the bin loose too?
Shredded paper is no longer recyclable in Greensboro. It is very difficult to capture, usually contaminates other recycling, and also gets very dirty, making it unrecyclable. To best dispose of sensitive documents, bring them to one of our shredding events. Shred trucks allow you to watch your documents be shredded, then are funneled directly into recycling streams to create more high quality paper! Check the GSO Collects app for upcoming Recycle Rodeos.
- Do I need to remove the plastic windows on envelopes? What about the plastic around the opening of tissue boxes?
We always get asked about where to put plastic bags. They should never be put in your residential recycling container and here's why.
Plastic bags, film, and wrap should never be mixed in with your recycling because it tangles around machinery at the recycling processing facility. There are a lot of rotating machines that work hard to separate your paper/cardboard products from objects like bottles and jugs.
When flimsy materials like plastic bags go through these machines, they cause a great big tangle. Folks that work at the Recycling Center must stop the machines, climb into them and cut out anything that has gotten tangled by hand--not a super safe task. By separating out objects that don't hold their shape, you make safer work environments for people in the recycling industry.
When your plastic bags, film, and wrap are recycled at the grocery store, they go to a different recycling facility that only makes one thing: plastic decking material. See the attached pictures for a look at the problems, solutions, and what plastic film can be made into!
It is very important that all items that are taken to the grocery store for recycling are as CLEAN and DRY as possible. Water is detrimental to the processing that makes the plastic decking material.
Here are all of the items you can take to the grocery store collection bins:
- Grocery, retail, newspaper, and produce bags
- Bubble wrap/packaging "pillows"/shipping wrap
- Shrink wrap (around cases of water bottles or sports drinks)
- Plastic wrap that encases paper towel/toilet paper
- Dry cleaner bags
Finally, there is a program in Greensboro called Operation Bed Roll. Residents learn to reuse plastic bags by making them into "plarn" (plastic yarn) and then crochet them into portable sleeping surfaces for people experiencing homelessness. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please visit www.greensboro-nc.gov/plarn.
Ever Wonder… how clean does my recycling need to be? Have someone in your family that thinks it needs to be spotless? Well now the debate is over.Your containers do not have to be spotless. There's no need to scrub every food particle off or put them in the dishwasher before recycling. Really, most empty containers just need a quick rinse.
For example: peanut butter jars are pretty tough to get clean. We recommend you put just a little bit of water in the empty jar, swish it around, maybe let it sit overnight, dump out the water, put the lid back on (if it is a plastic jar and lid), and recycle it. Even if there are little streaks of PB left in the jar, that's ok.
That being said, please do not toss your half-full jars of mayo jars and ketchup bottles in the recycling. For folks working in the recycling processing facilities, it's wasteful and not sanitary. Plus, your recycling cart will stay fresher smelling if there is less food residue in your bottles and jars.
The Solid Waste Transfer Station only accepts municipal solid waste (household trash), bulk trash (couches, mattresses, etc.), and construction debris (C&D) that is generated within Guilford, Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, and Stokes County.
Yard waste should be disposed of at the White Street Landfill.
What is the cost to bring solid waste, bulk trash and construction debris to the transfer station for disposal?
The cost of disposing waste is called a tipping fee and is charged by the ton. This fee varies based on the amount of waste to be disposed. In general, the following rates apply:
Municipal Solid Waste, Bulk Trash, and C&D
Cars: $10 per trip
All other vehicles: $44 per ton ($12 minimum; deposit required)
When paying by cash, a cash deposit is required at weigh-in for all vehicles except cars. The cash deposit amount is determined by the gross weight of the load:
Gross Weight Minimum Deposit Under 6,500 lbs. $20 6,500 - 9,999 lbs. $40 10,000 - 14,999 lbs. $60 15,000 - 17,999 lbs. $100 18,000 - 20,000 lbs. $150 20,000+ - 30,000 lbs. $200 30,000+ - 40,000 lbs. $300 40,000+ $400
- The City of Greensboro Solid Waste Transfer Station does not accept credit or debit cards. Payment may be made by local check (Guilford County or connecting counties only; valid NC Driver's License required) or cash only. Customers may request a waste disposal credit account for use at the White Street Landfill and Transfer Station. To set up a waste disposal account, request a credit application from the scale house staff. Applications will be processed and may be approved within 10-14 business days.
The Transfer Station is open Monday through Friday from 6 am to 6 pm, and Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. The White Street Landfill and the Solid Waste Transfer Station are closed on the following dates:
Veterans Day Monday, November 11, 2019 Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 28, 2019 Christmas Day Wednesday, December 25, 2019 New Year's Day Wednesday, January 1, 2020
- Yes, tours are provided of the City's waste disposal facilities to learn how the Solid Waste Transfer Station and the White Street Landfill operate and how we protect the environment. To request a tour, please fill out this form, or call 336-373-CITY (2489) and our Waste Reduction Education Team will contact you to finalize your request.
- The White Street Landfill only accepts construction debris and yard waste generated within Guilford County. Residential, commercial, and industrial trash should be disposed of at the Solid Waste Transfer Station at 6310 Burnt Poplar Road.
The following items may not be disposed of at the White Street Landfill: municipal solid waste, residential, commercial and industrial waste, hazardous waste of any kind, appliances, batteries, medical waste, liquid waste, asbestos, aluminum cans, animals, tires, fluorescent bulbs, electronic equipment and contaminated soil.
The cost of disposing of construction debris and yard waste is called a tipping fee and is charged by the ton. The White Street Landfill accepts construction and demolition (C&D) and yard waste at the following rates:
Cars: $10 per trip
All other vehicles: $31 per ton ($12 minimum; deposit required)
Please note: White Street Landfill customers will be required to leave a $150 deposit when bringing in large loads of construction debris at or after 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, or after 12:30 pm on Saturdays. White Street Landfill customers who return to the scale to weigh out after 5:20 pm Monday through Friday, or after 1:30 on Saturdays, will be charged a special handling fee of $150 per load, in addition to the applicable per ton tipping fee for disposal of their material.
Cars: $10 per trip
All other vehicles: $40 per ton ($12 minimum; deposit required)
The White Street Landfill does not accept credit or debit cards. Payment may be made by cash or with a local check (Guilford County or connecting counties only; valid NC Driver's License required). Customers may request a waste disposal credit account for use at the White Street Landfill and Transfer Station. To set up a waste disposal account, request a credit application from the scale house staff. Applications will be processed within 10-14 days.
When paying with cash, a cash deposit is required at weigh-in for all vehicles except cars. The cash deposit amount is determined by the gross weight of the load as follows:
Gross Weight Minimum Deposit Under 6,500 lbs. $20 6,500 - 9,999 lbs. $40 10,000 - 14,999 lbs. $60 15,000 - 17,999 lbs. $100 18,000 - 20,000 lbs. $150 20,000+ - 30,000 lbs. $200 30,000+ - 40,000 lbs. $300 40,000+ $400
- All loads entering the landfill must be covered and secured. Upon entering the landfill, each vehicle must stop at the scale house to be weighed before being directed to the proper location for disposal. All loads are subject to random screening to prevent landfill or groundwater contamination by illegal or hazardous materials. Waste transported in pick-up trucks or on small trailers must be confined within the bed of the truck / trailer. Scale house and landfill operators will determine whether a load is in compliance with federal, state and local guidelines.
- Yes, tours are provided of the City's waste disposal facilities to learn how the White Street Landfill and the Solid Waste Transfer Station operate and how we protect the environment. To request a tour, please fill out this form, or call 336-373-CITY (2489) and our Waste Reduction Education Team will contact you to finalize your request.
The White Street Landfill is open Monday through Friday from 7:50 am to 4:50 pm, and Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. The White Street Landfill and the Solid Waste Transfer Station are closed on the following dates:
Veterans Day Monday, November 11, 2019 Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 28, 2019 Christmas Day Wednesday, December 25, 2019 New Year's Day Wednesday, January 1, 2020
The following items should be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center and not disposed of with regular household garbage. The HHW Center is available for residential use only. If you're not sure about an item, use the Waste Wizard to search and find out if it should be taken to the HHW Center.
Garage and Workshop Products:
Wet cell batteries
Gasoline and other fuels
Home and Garden Products:
Glue (solvent based)
Metal polish (solvent-based)
Cleaners (solvent based)
Floor care products
All types of batteries
Prohibited Items: Do not bring any of the following items to the HHW Center:
- Explosives or shock-sensitive materials
- Medical waste
- Radioactive material
- Reactive or unstable materials
- Commercial hazardous waste
- Unknown or unlabeled materials
The best way to handle household hazardous materials is to avoid them altogether or use the less-toxic cleaning substitutes shown below:
All Purpose Cleaner - Mix 1/2 cup of borax with one gallon of water.
Fabric Softener - Add 1/4 cup of baking soda or white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Furniture Polish - Mix two parts vegetable oil and one part lemon juice.
Silver Polish - Soak silver in one quart of warm water with one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, and a small piece of aluminum foil.
Chrome and Stainless Steel Cleaner - Dip dry cloth into flour and rub on the surface.
Wood Floor Cleaner - Dampen cloth with a solution of water and mild soap. Wring cloth almost dry and wipe section by section, so that no section stays wet.
Brass Cleaner - Mix equal parts lemon juice and baking soda to make a paste. Cover brass surface with paste and allow to dry, then quickly wipe off.
Ceramic Tile Cleaner - Mix equal parts of white vinegar and borax to paste.
Oven Cleaner - Sprinkle with water and baking soda. Rub gently with a fine steel wool pad; line oven with aluminum foil.
Glass Cleaner - Mix three tablespoons of white vinegar in two cups of warm water.
Air Freshener - Place baking soda or herbs in an open dish.
Rug and Upholstery Cleaner - Sprinkle cornstarch. Let sit for five minutes, then vacuum.
- Once your property is paid in full, you may have a memorial / marker / monument installed at anytime, be it pre-need, immediately after a burial, or weeks, months or years after burial. Contact the funeral home or monument / marker company you plan to do business with to make the arrangements. Local businesses are familiar with the City's monument / marker limitations, rules and guidelines.
- Vaults or outer burial containers are not purchased through our cemeteries. You may make your vault inquiries through the funeral home that will be assisting the family.
- Yes and no. There can only be one traditional burial per grave, but there can be two cremation burials in one traditional size grave.
- We offer traditional and cremation burials. Traditional burials require a vault/outer burial container and a casket. Cremation burials do not require a vault/outer burial container. Cremation remains may also be scattered within the cemetery.
If I own property in one of the municipal cemeteries and I want to give or sell that property to someone, how do I transfer ownership?
Once you have sold the property, come to the cemetery office, 1001 Fourth St., with picture ID to do a deed transfer. We are open from 8 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays.
If you were not the owner of record, please bring with you the documents that named you as heir to the property. The deed transfer will be notarized and given to you to give to the new owner. The new owner then takes the deed transfer to the Guilford County Register of Deeds on the second floor of the BB&T Building, 201 W. Market St. to get the transfer recorded. The Register of Deeds is also open from 8 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays.
Once the transfer is recorded, the cemetery office must be notified of the book and page number the transfer is recorded on. Then, the cemetery records will be updated with the new owner's information.
- You may pay in full, but you may also do a 12-month or 24-month note, with a down payment. There is no interest or finance charge should you elect to sign a note. If you sign a note, you may not use the property or have a marker installed until the note is paid in full. If you are purchasing a grave because you have an immediate need to use it, you must pay in full prior to the burial service.
- We accept cash, check, cashier's check, debit card, MasterCard and Visa.
- Please view this fee schedule for prices.
- You may either make an appointment with the Cemetery Assistant to look at the cemetery books and maps to make a selection or make an appointment with a Cemetery Supervisor or the Cemetery Superintendent to meet you at the cemetery you are interested in to show you available spaces. Call 336-373-2160 or e-mail to set up an appointment.
- If snow is forecast, crews apply a salt brine solution to major thoroughfares, bridges, and overpasses 24 to 48 hours in advance. This helps prevent snow from sticking to the pavement and makes plowing and additional salting more effective.
- When winter weather is predicted, the Field Operations Department activates its snow program. Salt spreaders and snow plows are mounted onto 45 City trucks. One hundred employees begin working around the clock in 12-hour shifts until the streets are clear.
- During inclement weather, the City treats almost 700 miles of streets. Priority 1 routes, which are emergency service routes and major thoroughfares, such as Wendover Avenue, Battleground Avenue, and Gate City Boulevard are cleared first, followed by minor thoroughfares. Residential streets are plowed only after the main priority streets have been cleared.
After precipitation ends, Field Operations' goal is to:
- have 90% of Priority 1 routes to bare pavement within 36 hours
- have 75% of Priority 2 routes to bare pavement within 48 hours
- have 75% of residential streets drivable within 72 hours.
- The City has a salt storage facility that holds up to 3,000 tons of salt.
- Each fall, crews receive refresher training on proper procedures for loading and unloading equipment, plowing and salting, reviewing and updating snow routes, and street assignments.
- Trucks and equipment are cleaned after every event to minimize corrosion. Each piece of equipment is thoroughly cleaned in the spring and undergoes preventive maintenance in the summer to ensure good working order for the next season.
- Funds for the snow program are set aside each year. Any unspent funds are added to the street maintenance budget for repair and resurfacing of streets.
- When snow plows clear the streets in your area, extra snow can collect along the curb and in driveways. Since it would drastically slow the snow removal process, our crews are not able to remove snow from residential or commercial driveway entrances, parking lots, or sidewalks. If needed, please shovel off the extra snow in your driveway and place it near the curb or in your yard. If you put it back in the street, plows could push it back into your driveway when they come by again.
- If you believe a snow plow damaged your mailbox, call 373-CITY (2489). Each call will be investigated and, if it is determined that a snow plow caused damage, the City will fix your mailbox.
In order to better meet the collection needs of residents, and operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, the City began collecting recycling every other week in 2008.
When we made the switch from every week to every other week collections in 2008, the amount of recycling collected remained the same, while our participation rate doubled. Since 2008, the amount of recycling collected each year has not increased enough to make it financially feasible to return to weekly recycling collection. Recycle more and encourage your neighbors to recycle so that we can make every week recycling a possibility.
Use GSO Collects to view, download, and print your collection calendar. You can also sign up for collection reminders, so you never miss a collection again!
Use our Web Tool or download on the iOS or Google Play Store.
In addition to trash, recycling, and bulk waste collection, the City of Greensboro also provides:
- Yard waste collection on your assigned service day; no appointment needed
- Appliance collection by appointment; call the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489)
Bulk trash consists of items that are too big to fit in your green trash container, such as:
- swing sets
- lawn mowers (drained of gas and oil).
Extra bags of trash outside your green container are not considered bulk trash and will not be collected by City crews.
If you frequently have more trash than you can fit in your container, you may want to purchase an additional trash container, by calling the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489).
- Use our GSO Collects app to view, download, and print your collection calendar. You can also sign up for collection reminders so you never miss a collection again.
- In addition to trash, recycling, and bulk waste collection, the City of Greensboro also provides yard waste collection on your assigned service day, and appliance collection by appointment. Call the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489) for more information or to make an appointment.
- Bulk trash consists of items that are too big to fit in your green trash container, such as furniture, swing sets, and lawn mowers (drained of gas and oil). Extra bags of trash outside your green container are not considered bulk trash and will not be collected by City crews. If you frequently have more trash than you can fit in your container, you may purchase an additional trash container by calling the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489).
Our Waste Reduction Education Team offers several opportunities for teachers, organizations, and individuals to learn about recycling and waste reduction.
We can tailor a presentation to fit the needs of your group -- 3rd grade and up -- at our location or yours.
School lessons and presentations are available for students from 3rd grade through college, and can focus on a variety of topics:
- Radical Waste Reduction
- Above Ground Mining
- Backyard Composting
- How a Landfill Works
- What Happens to Your Recycling?
- Economics of Waste
- Technology and Hazardous Waste
Lessons can be adapted to focus on a particular school subject or curriculum standard, making recycling education easy and accessible for interested teachers.
What happens to your trash & recycling once they leave your home?
Find out when you visit the Transfer Station, Landfill, and/or Recycling Center for a presentation, activities, and a view of waste management operations, and more. Presentations may last from 30 minutes or longer, depending on the needs and interests of your group.
Everyone age 8 and up may tour our waste management sites. You must be 18 or older to tour the behind the scenes at the Recycling facility.
Recycling is part of the NC core curriculum. By teaching children about the recycling process early, recycling can become a life value. Additionally, when we teach children, we also reach adults - parents, teachers, and other members of the community.
The City of Greensboro's recycling education program is hands-on and teaches people of all ages about the importance of recycling, waste reduction, what is recyclable in Greensboro, what happens to recyclables when they leave your home, and much more. Learn more, or request a program in your classroom for students 3rd grade and up.
What happens to the waste that doesn't get recycled? We also conduct tours of the City's White Street Landfill and Solid Waste Transfer Station.
Groups must have at least 10 participants. Fill out our program request form to schedule your tour today.
You don't have 10 participants? No problem!
Visit the City’s Online Calendar to see dates, times and locations. Registration Required. Tours are subject to be canceled due to weather, amount of participants, and unforeseen circumstances.
Registration Required. Space is limited.
Tours begin at different locations depending on the tour. Please register for details (Participants will receive an email notification with details of the tour after noon on the business day before the tour, please confirm that you are still attending). Families are encouraged to participate in the entire tour, but may leave early. Due to the variability of time we may have to spend at each facility, groups may not join up with tours. Tour times vary throughout the day and week. We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and hand sanitizer.
- In order to better meet the collection needs of residents and operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, the City began every other week collection in 2008.
- Use our GSO Collects app to view, download, and print your collection calendar. You can also sign up for collection reminders, so you never miss a collection again.
- In addition to trash, recycling, and bulk waste collection, the City of Greensboro also provides yard waste collection on your assigned service day and appliance collection by appointment. Call the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489) to make an appointment.
- Bulk trash consists of items that are too big to fit in your green trash container, such as furniture, swing sets, and lawn mowers (drained of gas and oil). Extra bags of trash outside your green container are not considered bulk trash and will not be collected by City crews. If you frequently have more trash than you can fit in your container, you may want to purchase an additional trash container by calling the City's Contact Center at 336-373-CITY (2489).
- The Field Operations Department offers several opportunities for teachers, organizations, and individuals to learn about recycling and waste reduction. We can tailor a presentation to fit the needs of your group at our location or yours. School lessons and presentations can be taught on a variety of topics relating to waste reduction, from natural resource extraction, to low-maintenance / low-cost backyard composting, to the basics of landfills and Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). Lessons can be adapted to focus on a particular school subject or curriculum standard, making recycling education easy and accessible for interested teachers.
- What happens to your recyclables once they leave your home? Find out when you visit the recycling center for a live presentation, a video, and a view of the actual sorting process for recyclables.
Presentations may last from 30 minutes or longer, depending on the needs and interests of your group. Everyone age 8 and up may tour our waste management sites. You must be 18 or older to tour the behind the scenes at the Recycling facility.
- Recycling is part of the North Carolina core curriculum. By teaching children about the recycling process early, recycling can become a lifelong value. The City of Greensboro's recycling education program is a hands-on presentation that teaches children about the importance of recycling, the meaning behind the three arrows in the recycling symbol, the components of the waste reduction process (the three Rs of recycling), what is recyclable in Greensboro's program, what happens to recyclables when they leave your home, and much more. When we teach children, we also reach adults - parents, teachers, and other members of the community.
- What happens to the waste that doesn't get recycled? We also conduct tours of the City's landfill and solid waste transfer station. Groups must have at least 10 participants.
Individuals, families, and home school groups may reserve a spot to tour the transfer station, landfill, and recycling center by registering on the City’s Online Calendar. Check the calendar for upcoming dates, times and locations. For occasional updates, join our e-mail list.
Registration is required. Tours begin at different locations depending on the tour. Please register for details. Families are encouraged to participate in the entire tour, but may leave early. Due to the variability of time we may have to spend at each facility, groups may not join up with tours. Tours times vary throughout the day and week. We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and hand sanitizer.
Transfer Station: 6310 Burnt Poplar Rd.
White Street Landfill: 2305 White St.
Recycling Center: 706 Patton Ave.
- To view real-time status of street cleaning during inclement weather, check out our interactive snow removal route map.
- You can find a copy of the budget here.
- There is no special form you must use to make a PIRT request. The City just asks that you place your request in writing with as much detail as possible and submit the request via online PIRT system, e-mail, or mail to:
City of Greensboro
219 N. Church St.
Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
The North Carolina General Statues (NCGS) 132-1 defines public record(s) as:
(a) "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government.
(b) The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government or its subdivisions are the property of the people. Therefore, it is the policy of this State that the people may obtain copies of their public records and public information free or at minimal cost unless otherwise specifically provided by law. As used herein, "minimal cost" shall mean the actual cost of reproducing the public record or public information. (1935, c. 265, s. 1; 1975, c. 787, s. 1; 1995, c. 388, s. 1.)
- The City uses a 'public information request tracking' system to maintain and respond to all requests for public records. PIRT is the acronym for that system. PIRT is also commonly used as a shortcut term for 'public records request.' You will see both PIRT and public records request used interchangeably on this website.
On this page -- www.greensboro-nc.gov/PIRT -- you can place your request for a public record request, view the status of an open request, and review the information provided for any request placed since July 1, 2014 when the system went online.
The Public Information Request Tracking (PIRT) system was developed to managed public records requests and provide residents with access to existing requests. This system provides transparency and visibility into the variety of requests received by the City and their current status.
It is the City's policy to comply with all requests for public records in accordance with the law. Review a copy of the City's public records policy, which was approved by City Council in January 2017.
The City recommends filing a written public record request directly through the PIRT Administrator by e-mail or through the City’s website. Please describe the information you are seeking with as much detail as possible and the format in which you would like the record in.
You may also submit the request by mail to:
City of Greensboro
219 N. Church St.
Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
Please be aware that the City of Greensboro’s Public Records Policy does not require the City to do research, analyze data, or answer written questions.
NCGS 132-6.2(e) says, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a public agency to respond to a request for a copy of a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.”
The PIRT Administrator is the main contact for all PIRT requests. The PIRT Administrator can be reached by calling 336-373-3636 or e-mailing.
We respond promptly to all public records requests. Please provide enough information in your request to enable the City to search its records. The PIRT Administrator will contact you if more information is needed.
Please be aware that the City of Greensboro’s Public Records Policy does not require the City to do research, analyze data, or answer written questions. NCGS 132-6.2(e) says, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a public agency to respond to a request for a copy of a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.”
Access many City public records on the City's website by using the Search box at the top right of every page. See the FAQ on Information You Don’t Have to PIRT for City records that you can access without the PIRT System.
Marriage and divorce records, birth and death certificates, and court records are not in the custody of the City. Please see the FAQ on Records Not in the Custody of the City of Greensboro for help with requesting these and other records not in the City’s custody.
- The law does not state a specific response time. According to NCGS, 132-6 (a), “Every custodian of public records shall permit any record in the custodian’s custody to be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person, and shall, as promptly as possible, furnish copies thereof upon payment of any fees as may be prescribed by law.”
The City's PIRT Administrator will work on a timely, thorough and transparent response to all records requests. If a response takes longer than anticipated, the PIRT Administrator will contact you to provide an update on your request. Please take into account the volume of records requested. You may check the status of your PIRT request on the City’s website any time at www.greensboro-nc.gov/PIRT.
In most cases, public records are easily retrievable and provided electronically via e-mail at no cost to the City or requestor. Per NCGS 132-1(b), “The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government and its subdivisions are property of the people. Therefore, it is the policy of this State that the people may obtain copies of their public records and public information free or at minimal cost unless otherwise specifically provided by the law. Minimal cost shall mean the actual cost of reproducing the public record or public information.” When the PIRT request results in a minimum of 1,000 e-mails or hard copies, the special service charge will be applied. The special service charge will be the hourly rate in accordance with the lowest paid employee who would be conducting the work. The Public Records Administrator will provide the requestor with a written estimate and extend the option of the requestor paying the charge. The requestor will be granted the opportunity to narrow the scope of the request. The requestor will be required to pay the City of Greensboro in advance of the request being fulfilled. If necessary work exceeds the estimate, an additional deposit will be required. Unused portions of the deposited funds will be refunded.
- All records kept by the City of Greensboro are public unless they are exempt from disclosure under North Carolina Public Records laws, which include but are not limited to NC General Statutes chapters 132 and 160A-168. If a records request is denied, the City will cite the appropriate law that prohibits the disclosure. Also refer to the City's PIRT policy.
- The City of Greensboro is not the custodian of these records. Obtain a copy of these records through Guilford County’s Vital Records website.
- The City of Greensboro is not the custodian of these records. Contact the Guilford County Clerk of Court’s Office at 336-412-7300 to obtain the record.
- Police reports can be obtained 24 hours a day from Watch Operations (located at Police Headquarters, 320 Federal Place). The phone number is 336-373-2496. Learn more about police reports.
- Visit www.greensboro-nc.gov/BackgroundCheck for all the details.
You can get public copies of incident reports and vehicle accident reports through the Police to Citizen (P2C) website. If you are unable to find a specific record, you may file a PIRT request for it.
You may also get copies 24 hours a day from Watch Operations located at Police Headquarters, 100 Police Plaza (320 Federal Place on your GPS). The phone number is 336-373-2496. Learn more about incident reports.
- YES, please do! Operation Bed Roll: [insert your city here] has a nice ring to it! Here's a handy guide to teach you how to do it.
Take it to one of the drop-off locations below. Look for the clearly marked drop-off bin. Make sure to take a picture or two and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag @GSOGoesGreen. Or, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share it for you.
Drop off your completed bed rolls at:
- Reconsidered Goods, 2805 Patterson St., from 10 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays and 12-5 pm Sunday
- Field Operations Department, 401 Patton Ave., from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday
- The best place to get a copy of a criminal search warrant is from the Guilford County Clerk of Courts Office. After a warrant is executed, the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) returns the document to the clerk. GPD would have these records in its possession only if an officer made a copy for reference. You can place a PIRT request for a criminal search warrant, however it may take some time to obtain a copy. The best way to get a copy is through the Guilford County Clerk of Courts Office.
How can I get information about the environmental background of a property or if any hazardous materials are located in a certain area?
From start to finish, including making 500-700 bags worth of plarn, it took me about one month to make one bed roll. That one month also includes working a full time job and other activities, so the time is not spent only making plarn and crocheting. This time-frame varies from person to person, of course.
One way to cut down on the amount of time you spend making plarn is finding a friend who wants to help, or asking us for pre-made plarn! Non-crocheters who are interested in helping can make plarn for someone who crochets. As a 'plarn dynamic duo,' two people can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to make one bed roll. This is also a great chance to get kids involved in this unique service learning project.
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accept pre-made plarn or whole plastic bags. If you have a friend that can crochet and wants to participate, you can make plarn for them. Or maybe you could form a plarn club? Helping someone by making plarn decreases the total time it takes to make the bed roll quite a bit!
- City audit reports are posted here.
There seems to be a growing hook shortage in Greensboro, but here are some places you can purchase the correct hook for this project:
- Stitch Point, 1614 W. Friendly Ave., 336-272-2032*
- Gate City Yarns, 321 S. Elm St., 336-370-1233*
- Craft stores like Michaels, AC Moore, etc.
- Online sites such as Amazon (make sure to double check you are getting a 16mm hook)
* You may want to call ahead to make sure the correct hooks are in stock.
- These boards are structured under general laws or local acts of the state. They are self-governing and function independently of any outside control. They report to the City Council and adhere to policies of the City Council that directly affect board responsibilities.
- Board of Alcoholic Control (ABC)
- Greensboro Housing Authority
- Piedmont Triad Regional Airport Authority
- Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority
- Greensboro/Guilford County Tourism Development Authority
- This project is great for all ages and abilities. Depending on your child's interest and ability, he or she can help cut bags and even knot them together with some guidance. Local children as young as second grade have learned to crochet, so with a little determination, your kids could become plarning masters. Operation Bed Roll also makes a great service learning projects for students from second grade up.
The CSC was created by the City Council in 2008 as an advisory group to City Council. Its mission is to research, advocate, coordinate, and provide outreach for local measures for these results:
- Reduce energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions
- Identify the costs of implementation and possible funding strategies
- Monitor the progress and effectiveness of measures adopted by the Greensboro City Council
You may learn about the CSC Bylaws by using the link in the Meeting Documents box to the right.
- City Council meeting agendas, minutes and videos are posted here.
Name Address term Serving Dr. Vicki Foust, Chair email@example.com 12/31/19 Council District 4 Will Yearns , Vice-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 12/31/19 Council District 3 Veda Howell email@example.com 12/31/22 Council District 1 Jacques Pierre, Member firstname.lastname@example.org 12/31/21 Council District 2 Sophia Dubrovsky, Member email@example.com 12/31/21 Council District 5 Vacant --/--/-- At-Large Nicole Gains, Member firstname.lastname@example.org 12/31/19 At-Large Johnathan King, Youth Member email@example.com 12/31/20 At-Large Dr. Susan Phillips, Member firstname.lastname@example.org 12/31/21 At-Large
You may read the CSC Member Biographies by using the Member Biographies link in the Meeting Documents Box to the right.
Little to no time is spent teaching beginners how to crochet during workshops. This time is spent learning to make plarn and reviewing the details of the project.
If you would like to learn to crochet, check out this video to see the very basic stitches you will need to know to make your bed roll. You can also find the official Operation Bed Roll Pattern on this page.
Boards and commissions perform a variety of functions and provide a wide range of service to the City Council. Some boards, such as autonomous and quasi-judicial boards, are independent and operate outside the direct control of the Council. Some, such as examining and administrative boards, handle licensing and other specific administrative functions. Others, such as legislative and policy-making boards, are strongly advisory in nature and provide the Council with an important source of resident information and opinion.
Information related to boards and commissions members that is on file in the City Clerk's Office is a matter of public record. The City Clerk is responsible for the Greensboro City Council's official boards and commissions' records, including data related to appointments, reappointments, resignations, contact information for boards and commissions' members, and other information.
A staff liaison is assigned to maintain and update his or her own department's board and commission information.
- These boards carry out administrative functions and administer funds for fulfilling the objectives of an organization.
- Firemen's Relief Fund Board
In March 2015, the CSC presented an update of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory during a City Council work session. The update examined the period from 2007-13 and found that overall, Greensboro's carbon footprint shrank by nearly 20 percent, although this decrease was attributable to both favorable and unfavorable trends in the City over that period.
- 63.25 cents per $100 valuation
Use the resources on our Learn to Make Plarn and Bed Rolls page.
Check out the video linked on that page for a great tutorial to get you started.
Only Greensboro residents are eligible to serve on a City board or commission. Some boards and commissions require members with specific interests or credentials, or members who belong to a specific organization or group.
City officials are specifically prohibited from serving on some boards or commissions; on others, they are expected to serve. And City employees are ineligible to serve. In most cases, board members are everyday residents who have a desire to make a lasting contribution.
Review the Boards and Commissions Handbook linked to on the right for specific information for each board/commission. Questions? Contact the City Clerk.
- These boards enact special policies or ordinances and make decisions concerning meeting legal standards. For example, with five affirmative votes, the Zoning Commission may adopt an ordinance rezoning property.
No, but please consider helping us make plarn.
Pre-made plarn is donated to residents with disabilities to help them better use their crochet talents to work on a bed roll.
If you or someone you know is in need of pre-made plarn, please contact us to come and get some! Quantities are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If you don't have the time to do that, plastic bags can be recycled at local grocery stores. Look for the collection bins near front entrances.
- In May 2017, Greensboro submitted for the first time a compilation of climate- and sustainability-related information to the CDP Cities program. CDP is a global nonprofit that collects such information and manages a publicly accessible data portal showcasing the efforts of cities and corporations worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Read a summary of Greensboro's 2017 submission to CDP Cities.
The formula for calculating a property owner’s tax bill is:
Tax Value of Property divided by 100, multiplied by City tax rate
Ex: What is the City tax bill for a property with a tax value of $150,000?
150,000 ÷ by 100 = 1,500
1,500 x .6325 = $948.75 tax rate
Complete the interest form (linked to on the right), attach a copy of your resume or bio, and mail to:
City of Greensboro
Attn: City Clerk
PO Box 3136
Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
Questions? Call the City Clerk.
- In June 2017, Mayor Nancy Vaughan joined the Mayors' National Climate Action Agenda, expressing Greensboro's commitment to local actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support efforts for binding federal and global-level policymaking.
- These boards develop short- and long-range goals and make recommendations to the City Council. They administer the Council policies within their respective areas of responsibility. In their advisory capacity, the boards act as important sources of citizen information on a variety of activities that affect the city and residents.
- Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission
- Community Partners Board
- Bryan Park Commission
- Commission on the Status of Women
- Human Relations Commission
- Insurance Advisory Commission
- Board of Trustees of the Greensboro Public Library
- Parks & Recreation Commission
- Participatory Budgeting Commission
- Greensboro Transit Authority Board
- War Memorial Commission
- The City's Budget and Evaluation Department prepares an annual report that compares the typical household costs for a City resident to those from other North Carolina peer cities. The report can be found here: www.greensboro-nc.gov/ManagementStudies.
Solar energy will play an increasingly important role in Greensboro's efforts to become a more sustainable city. North Carolina's climate is well-suited to take advantage of the abundant, free, zero-carbon energy provided by incoming solar radiation. Take a look at What's Next for Solar.
To get a sense of the solar energy potential of your home or business, explore Google's Project SunRoof.
Ready to get started on your own solar energy project? Greensboro's Development Services office can help you navigate the process.
For more information, please e-mail Jeff Sovich or call 336-433-7264.
Once you have submitted your completed interest form and resume to the City Clerk's Office, the clerk will forward the documents to City Council members to make appointments at their discretion.
If you are appointed to a board or commission, the mayor will send you a letter notifying you of your appointment and ask you to contact the City Clerk's Office to confirm that you live inside City of Greensboro city limits and are willing to serve on the board or commission to which you were appointed.
The department that oversees the board or commission you are appointed to will then contact you to arrange for you to take an oath and/or go through orientation prior to your first meeting.
Ask around, there are plenty of folks with lots of plastic bags at home. Reach out to your community or faith organization, or even just your friends on social media, you will get plenty.
Please do not ask stores for boxes of unused plastic bags. We request that all bedrolls be made of reused plastic bags to reduce waste and spread the world about plastic bag contamination in residential recycling.
Did you know? Food scraps and yard waste currently make up about 30% of all the waste we generate.
But this "waste" doesn't have to be wasted at all. Composting at home is an easy, fun way to generate a natural soil additive that will help your plants grow. It can be tough to grow hearty veggies and beautiful blooms in our Carolina red clay. The dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling compost can improve soil quality and provide vital nutrients to all types of plants.
You can start composting any time of year. We would love to see more backyard composting happening in Greensboro to help reduce waste to landfills and help all of our plant life benefit from what is not waste, but a resource! Here are some additional resources to get you started on your composting journey:
- Come discover how the City composts yard waste collected from homes! Tours of the White Street Landfill include our large scale composting site too.
- How to guides for building a backyard or indoor vermicompost system can be found at the NC Cooperative Extension or the EPA.
- Check out this brochure.
Voting is a civic right, duty, and honor. As election season comes to an end each year, you might wonder how to properly dispose of yard signs. We have your answers.
The plastic portion of yard signs are not recyclable for two reasons: they are flat and will end up in the paper bales, and the type of plastic they are made of is not recyclable. Please put those in the trash.
Any wire or wooden stakes are also not recyclable. Wire can very easily become a tangler around machinery which can cause a lot of damage, or it could potentially injure someone at the recycling center. If you would like that metal to be recycled, please take it to a local scrap metal facility for recycling. Wood is also not recyclable in your recycling bin. Please put any wooden stakes in your trash container, or repurpose them for other uses.
Smith Community Park
The two (2) existing tennis courts at Smith Community Park located adjacent to Smith Senior Center at 2401 Fairview St. will be home to Greensboro’s first outdoor pickleball courts. The pickleball complex will feature six courts, new fencing, card access system and spectator area. ADA access from designated ADA parking will be provided in this project.
Dudley High School
The eight (8) existing tennis courts will be reconstructed with new surfacing.
Page High School
The eight (8) existing tennis courts will be reconstructed with new surfacing. ADA access from designated ADA parking will be provided in this project.
Peeler Community Park
The reconstruction of two (2) existing tennis courts will feature:
- One tennis court with standard and blended lines for 10 and under play and lines for four (4) pickleball courts for a portable net system; and
- One court will be converted to a regulation basketball court with multisport goals for basketball and soccer. ADA access from designated ADA parking will be provided in this project.
The two (2) existing tennis courts will be reconstructed with new surfacing. ADA access from designated ADA parking will be provided in this project.
Lake Daniels Park
The three (3) existing tennis courts will be reconstructed with new surfacing and include tennis and pickleball lines for each court.
Sunset Hills Park
The existing tennis courts will be reconstructed with new surfacing.
Latham Park Tennis Center
The existing fencing will be replaced.
What is it?
Polystyrene, or Styrofoam, is a petroleum-based plastic made from styrene monomers. It has excellent insulation properties, is light-weight, and 95% air. Styrofoam is commonly used in product packaging and the food industry. But every day, almost 1,400 tons of foam is buried in U.S. landfills. Plastic doesn’t decompose, it just breaks into smaller pieces, so it can affect people, animals, and our entire ecosystem. This is why it’s on the top 10 list of garbage found in our waterways.
Can it be Recycled?
The City’s recycling program does not accept Styrofoam. While it is recyclable in some other areas, Greensboro doesn’t have any plans to recycle it. Styrofoam and other foam products should never be put in your recycling container, and if in doubt, throw it out. Use the Waste Wizard in GSO Collects to find out what goes where! Find GSO Collects online at www.greensboro-nc.gov/collects or in the App Store.
You can recycle foam products at the DART facility in Randleman NC. Visit this site to find out how. They accept foam with the resin number 6. Straws, lids, foam insulation and packing peanuts are not recyclable.
Foam ♸ can be recycled if the containers are rinsed and free of food and are in a clear plastic bag.
Environmental Stewardship Greensboro (ESG), is a coalition of people from various religious organizations that take care of our community’s natural resources. They regularly collect clean polystyrene foam products from members and take them to DART in Randleman for recycling. For more information about ESG foam recycling efforts, contact them.
Easy solutions to a Big Problem
Whenever possible, don’t use foam packaging! On average, Americans throw away 25 billion foam cups a year. Imagine the impact if we all stopped using these products for one day? Or week? Or month?
Instead of foam, try using these alternatives:
- For meals, parties and other events, use reusable mugs/cups, plates, and bowls
- Carry your own take-out container for leftovers (I use a stainless steel one that I leave in my car!)
- Buy eggs packaged in recyclable paper
- Request air pillows for packaging (They can be recycled with plastic bags at most grocery stores.)
- Reuse packing foam! Donate it to schools for art projects. Contact shipping stores for collection information. Some shipping stores accept clean, foam packaging peanuts and bubble wrap.
Whether you’re a grab-and-go, brown-bagger, or a meal-prepper you may want to update your habits. Let's go over the basics.
Use a reusable lunch box not a disposable one. It doesn't have to be fancy, it can be a reusable grocery bag or a durable one with insulation. Have the kids be responsible for putting ice packs in the freezer.
Pour beverages into reusable containers. Get a durable, easy to clean, reusable bottle for under $20. A quick container comparison of orange juice shows a small price difference, but a huge difference in the amount of waste. A 6-pack of juice has six bottles with caps and tamper evident seals, as well as plastic packaging which isn't recyclable in your home bins (take it back to the grocery store with plastic grocery bags). The reusable bottle is simply the bottle and cap which can be used over and over again. It takes about a month to recoup the cost of the reusable container and just think of all the waste you’ve reduced!
If you must buy convenience packs, avoid materials like pouch drinks that are landfill bound. Don’t forget about hot beverages and invest in a thermos. It can double as a tea mug or a bowl for soup.
Avoid single-serve and heavily packaged items. Refill small containers from larger ones. Buy bulk nuts or dried fruit to make trail mix in the portion size you want! Buy ingredients for several lunches at once. You'll use less packaging buying larger quantities of basic ingredients than buying prepared meals.
Use reusable food containers, not Ziploc bags or plastic wrap. The average person uses 500 Ziploc’s a year and that's a lot of waste! Use reusable sandwich bags or bee’s wax paper for snacks. For yogurt, use a reusable screw top plastic container or a Mason jar.
Pack a REAL fork, knife and spoon! Visit thrift stores to find sets, so you don’t break up your home set and switch them out immediately. If I’m given a plastic utensil, I wash and reuse it until it breaks.
Pack leftovers into readymade meals. Prepare a meal when you put up leftovers, this saves time too! Use a stainless steel container in your car to pack leftovers in from a dinner out. Voila, lunch is made!
Pack fabric napkins or bandannas instead of paper napkins or towels. Throw them in with normal laundry loads!
Buy or grow naturally packaged items. Food can come in its own packaging - why smother it in plastic?
Buy local or grow your own. Choose food that hasn't traveled far - this reduces packaging and fuel cost.
Eat less meat. It takes more energy and resources to produce. Skip a few days - it can make a difference.
Pack what you need. Don't spend extra and waste more on single serve items from the vending machine.
Break the plastic straw habit during November...and beyond!
You've probably been hearing about plastic straws in the media recently. Americans use lots of plastic straws, but they aren’t recyclable and often end up as wind-blown litter. It may seem like plastic straws are a small part of our daily lives, but combined with plastic forks, knives, spoons and take-out containers, they create many issues for our local and global community. While saying “no thanks” to plastic straws may seem like it won’t make a difference, when we work together, all of our small, individual changes add up to huge waves of change.
Plastic straws are the fifth most common item found in coastal litter internationally. Due to their size and shape, recycling centers are unable to sort them out from other recyclables, so straws in the recycling bin end up in the landfill. The low quality plastic that straws are made of also make them non-recyclable. If you are unsure about whether an item is recyclable, visit the Waste Wizard online to find out what goes where and #RecycleRight!
These are just a few reasons why Field Operations and Water Resources have teamed up to bring No Straw November to Greensboro. If you would like to learn more about how individuals, bars, restaurants, businesses, and others can get involved, please visit the #NoStrawNovember website. You can also see which establishments are already saying “no” to plastic straws.Get involved and help spread the word!
Download “Please serve straws upon request” cards and let your favorite establishment know you don’t need a straw.
The Smith Community Park Master Plan was approved in March 2019. Phase I improvements include conversion of two tennis courts to six pickleball courts, construction of accessible sidewalk between the pickleball courts and southern parking area and from the parking lot to the playground, ADA parking spaces at the southern parking area and striping of parking spaces on Fairview St., and a social seating area between the courts and playground.
Phase II elements include permanent cornhole, horseshoe pits, a paved walking trail, outdoor fitness equipment and shade structures, renovation of community garden area and installation of yard hydrant, and construction of picnic shelter with restrooms.
When shopping for eggs, you might think about their cost, whether they're on sale, and if they're organic or cage-free, but do you ever think about the life cycle of the packaging? Oftentimes the type of carton the eggs are in can help you make your decision if recycling is important to you. I try not to buy eggs in Styrofoam cartons since Styrofoam isn't recyclable in Greensboro's program. But should you buy the clear plastic cartons or paper ones? Only the paper egg cartons can be recycled in your brown recycling carts.
During the last several months of our recycling inspections, we've found about 30% of contamination is Styrofoam egg cartons and other foam products/packaging. This means there is careless or wishful recycling taking place. Some people know that foam isn't recyclable, but wish it could be recycled in Greensboro, so they
So maybe you've already got a bunch of the yellow, white, blue, pink, or other color Styrofoam egg cartons. Although they can't be recycled, you can donate them at the farmers market or to your friends with backyard chickens. This means the cartons will be reused over and over again. If you're unsure about whether an item is recyclable, be sure to visit the online Waste Wizard to find out what goes where and #RecycleRight!
If you are feeling crafty, egg cartons can be re-purposed into caterpillars or crocodiles! Check out these fun ideas.
As the years pass, we have all collected DVD’s, CD’s, cassette tapes and VHS tapes, but what's the point now that most of the devices needed to play these no longer exist? So it may be time to clean up shop. If you've got an urge to purge and don't know what to do with these broken cases, discs and empty cases, read on!
Compact disc’s or CD’s, and digital video discs or DVD’s were the start of a new era. CD’s came out in the 80’s as an alternative to vinyl discs and audio cassettes. Over the years, CD’s have changed significantly, and changed the way we distribute music. The DVD came out in the 90's and provided even more capacity than the CD. They are both made of a brittle plastic called polycarbonate sandwich with a thin layer of aluminum and a protective layer of plastic or lacquer. This is the reason that they aren't recyclable in Greensboro’s recycling program. More information about CD alternative recycling can be found here and here.
If you're holding on to homemade VHS tapes in the hope that they'll make a comeback, it's probably time to let that go. The last VCR was made in 2016. Unless you already have a VCR, you probably won't be able to find one that works. Because VHS tapes are a multiple material product with both polypropylene and Mylar, they are not recyclable in our program and can become a tangler in the sorting process. Please put these and cassette tapes in the trash.-hand store. If you're feeling crafty, there are some functional things you can make - check out ideas from storage case to a science project. If you have too many, you may want to reach out to schools and churches to see if any teachers might be interested in them for projects or crafts!
Greensboro now offers recycling drop-off sites at the White Street Landfill and Solid Waste Transfer Station for paper, cardboard, metal, plastic and glass. The drop-off sites are for residents who have too much recycling for their regular residential containers. This service is free for City of Greensboro residents and $10 for non-residents.
Proof of residency is required (such as a water bill). When you arrive, proceed to the scale house window for unloading instructions.
Locations and Hours
- White Street Landfill, 2503 White St.
Hours: Mondays through Fridays from 7:50 am to 4:50 pm; Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm
- Transfer Station, 6310 Burnt Poplar Rd.
Hours: Mondays through Fridays from 6 am to 6 pm; Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm
The City also offers six other locations for recycling glass only.
- White Street Landfill, 2503 White St.
Greensboro Parks & Recreation is partnering with the Piedmont Fat Tire Society to extend the Wild Turkey Mountain Bike Trail from the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway to Old Battleground Road. Improvements include realigning a short section of the Nat Greene trail and new and improved bridges and boardwalks to accommodate both user groups. For questions or comments regarding this plan, please contact Elizabeth Jernigan at email@example.com or 336-373-3816.