Guest Blogger – Scott Mouw (from Governor Perdue’s Blog)
Every day, people across North Carolina are emptying plastic bottles – it’s a part of everyday life across the world. You dribble the last drop of milk on your morning cereal. Your daughter guzzles her sports drink after the game. You drain your water bottle while out shopping. You finish the last bit of laundry detergent. You drink the last soda at work.
What happens next is what matters most. All of the millions of plastic bottles emptied in North Carolina every day have one of two possible fates: 1) spending their remaining life in a dark hole surrounded by garbage, or 2) having a chance at a second life as another product.
In deciding the fate of the plastic bottles you empty – thrown away or recycled – you also affect North Carolina’s economy. Plastic bottles are turned into everything from carpets to garden pots to new containers. Fayetteville will soon be home to one of the world’s largest plastic bottle recycling facilities with a capacity to recycle five billion bottles per year. Raleigh already has one of the nation’s largest mixed bottle recycling plants and Reidsville boasts the second largest bottle recycler in the United States, along with three other bottle recyclers. After a short detour to Spartanburg, S.C., Coca-Cola soda bottles get turned back into soda bottles in Shelby. Once those new bottles are emptied, the cycle starts again.
Hundreds of North Carolinians depend directly on you doing the right thing with your empty plastic bottles. The chain of plastic bottle recovery includes a wide range of companies that have made substantial capital business investments to manufacture recycled plastics into products you use every day. These companies employ our fellow North Carolinians in these recycling jobs, and as long as we keep recycling, companies like them will continue to need North Carolina workers. With this opportunity for green economic development, it’s no wonder the General Assembly has banned the disposal of plastic bottles as of Oct. 1 of this year.
Most of us take about two seconds after the simple act of emptying a plastic bottle to decide what to do with it. It’s not something you spend the rest of your day thinking about. However, if you contemplate the implications beforehand, chances are you will make the right choice.