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Job site recycling proposal scrapped

Mecklenburg County has dropped its plan to expand a mandatory recycling program that would have included construction sites for single-family residential, commercial and multifamily projects.

Last year, an advisory committee recommended changes to the existing source separation ordinance, or SSO, that would have removed a temporary site exemption and begun requiring recycling on all construction and demolition sites. The recommendation called for the expansion of the “mandatory recycling ordinance by lowering the current threshold and adding recyclable materials.”

At the time, representatives from the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (REBIC) and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce were the only two members of the committee who voted against the proposed change.

The change would have required residential construction sites that contract for the pickup of at least eight cubic yards of trash per week to set up a process for the collection and separation of corrugated cardboard from other waste at job sites.

In an email, Laurette Hall, an environmental manager for Mecklenburg County’s Solid Waste Division, explained the decision: “Mecklenburg County’s leadership has decided not to pursue further revisions to the current (source separation) ordinance at this time, and the ordinance revisions have not been presented to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners for approval. Weighing in on this decision was the passage of North Carolina House Bill 74, which limits a local governing body’s authority in passing legislation more stringent than that enacted by the Senate.”

Passed by the legislature in the summer of 2013 and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in August of that year, the bill was titled as an “Act to improve and streamline the regulatory process in order to stimulate job creation and eliminate unnecessary regulation.” The governor called the regulatory reform act “common sense legislation” when he approved it.

On its blog, REBIC cheered the decision to scrap the proposal, saying its implementation “would have resulted in higher costs for homeowners and businesses in Charlotte and the six Mecklenburg towns.”

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