North Carolina proposes budget cuts that would affect recycling

North Carolina proposes budget cuts that would affect recycling

APR asks its members to reach out in support of the North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service.

May 18, 2017
Recycling Today Staff
Financial Legislation & Regulations Municipal / IC&I Plastics

The $22.9 million two-year budget blueprint that was approved by the North Carolina Senate May 11, 2017, would target 45 positions at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for elimination and also would eliminates the department’s Environmental Education Program and the Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) program, which leads the department’s waste-reduction and recycling efforts, cutting its more than 32 positions, according to a report from the Coastal Review Online.

The DEQ cuts proposed in the plan include the elimination of positions held by DEQ Chief Deputy Secretary John Nicholson and Senior Adviser for Policy and Innovation Mary Penny Kelley.

The proposal is counter to that proposed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, in which he and DEQ Secretary Michael Regan had asked for additional help at DEQ to address a backlog in permit applications, which now have a two-year turnaround time, the news service reports.

The Senate budget instead would cut 14 regional office positions—two each from the seven regional offices.

According to the Coastal Review Online, an email it received from DEQ spokesperson Jamie Kritzer states, “We have significant concerns that the Senate’s budget won’t provide the resources needed to balance the protection of North Carolina’s natural resources and economic competitiveness. The current proposal eliminates programs in our agency necessary to educate schoolchildren, enable environmental permitting to keep pace with economic development and help the business community navigate the regulatory process. We look forward to making our case to legislators during the budget negotiations.”

The North Carolina House will consider and pass its own version of the budget before conferencing with the Senate to pass a final state budget to submit to Cooper.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington, notified its members of the proposed budget, saying, “DEACS is home to the recycling office, formally called the Recycling and Materials Management Section, which would also be eliminated in this action.”

The APR urges its members to take action: “We are asking you to contact the NC House to request that DEACS and the North Carolina state recycling program remain fully funded, and that the House adamantly support this funding in conference.”

The organization goes on to state, “North Carolina has long been a strong example of a successful state recycling program, including the investment of recycling carts that deliver more tons. Many recycling organizations, such as APR and The Recycling Partnership, also regularly use data and concepts pioneered by North Carolina. Collaboration with state recycling programs like North Carolina deliver tremendous benefits to hundreds of community programs that in turn provide recycling to millions of households.”

Among the talking points the APR mentions are:

  • DEACS is a nonregulatory division in NC DEQ offering no-cost assistance to industry, businesses, local governments and individual citizens on a range of environmental concerns and complex regulations, helping them avoid noncompliance costs.
  • DEACS studies have documented that 17,000 North Carolinians are employed directly by the state’s recycling industry. Many of the largest recycling manufacturers are in rural counties, employing thousands of people to support those local economies.
  • This program has saved thousands of local governments, manufacturers, small businesses, nonprofits and state agencies money. DEACS helps find market solutions for discarded materials, saving on landfill tipping fees and solid waste costs. Its assistance helps manufacturers and other employers achieve their zero waste goals.
  • DEACS technical assistance and grants create critical private investment in processing and manufacturing infrastructure for recyclables, providing markets for local government collection programs and vital feedstock for manufacturers.
  • DEACS assistance to rural communities has streamlined drop-off programs, increasing material collection while lowering costs and helping rural counties avoid expensive disposal charges.
  • With technical assistance and grants from DEACS, more than 300 municipal curbside programs serving 2 million household have transitioned to cost-efficient cart-based collection, delivering an annual increase of 100,000 tons of recyclable material to North Carolina processors and manufacturers.

The APR provides contact information for members of the North Carolina House and suggests contacting district representatives, whose information is available at

Tim Moore
Speaker of the House
Represents: Cleveland County, District 111

Nelson Dollar
Senior Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Wake County, District 36

Dean Arp
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Union County, District 69

Justin Burr
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Montgomery, Stanly Counties, District 67

John Faircloth
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Guilford County, District 61

Linda Johnson
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Cabarrus County, District 83

Donny Lambeth
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Forsyth County, District 75

Chuck McGrady
Chair, House Appropriations
Represents: Henderson County, District 117