Wake County recycling facility summer tours open to residents

Sonoco Recycling shelf of items to differentiate items that can be recycled vs. those that can't
Shelf displaying items that can be recycled vs. those that can't

Wake County residents who missed the unique opportunity in the spring to see what happens to their recyclable papers and plastics after they leave their home can prepare for a trip to their local recycling facility this summer! People can now sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sonoco Recycling Facility in east Raleigh to learn about proper recycling and see how materials are processed. Tours will take place on June 17 and July 11.

“Understanding what can and can't be recycled at our facilities is crucial to making the process work for everyone, and seeing the recycling process firsthand makes it even clearer,” said Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria. “It's amazing how much we can still learn about recycling, no matter how many times we've done it!"

These tours are intended to encourage the community to recycle the right kinds of plastic, paper, metal and glass. Improper recycling, also known as contamination or “wishcycling,” is a growing issue in Wake County. When the contamination rate is greater than 10%, the county is required to pay a fee to its recycling processor. The current contamination rate in Wake County is 13.8%. Additionally, contaminated materials can be hazardous for recycling facility staff.

On June 17, from 10–11 a.m., an all-ages presentation will be held in the Sonoco education room. The presentation will cover the steps in the sorting process and be followed by a conversation about which items are recyclable and which are not. Seating is limited.

On July 11, from 10–11 a.m., a Sonoco floor tour will be offered for residents ages 18 and older. Visitors will be guided around the facility’s sorting floor for an up-close view of the process before heading to the education room for a Q&A session. All visitors must be able to climb stairs and walk through tight spaces.

All participants will receive a reusable tote bag. Those interested must register in advance by contacting Chelsea Arey at chelsea.arey@wake.gov. Residents can also learn more about proper recycling by visiting wake.gov/recycling101.

Press Release