We are a team of 10 UNC students studying sustainability with a goal of diverting as much from Chapel Hill/Durham’s waste stream as possible.
The root of our problem comes from the closing of the Chapel Hill and Durham landfills. To compensate for this, garbage trucks are driven through Chapel Hill to Durham where the garbage is then loaded onto larger trucks, and then driven back through Chapel Hill to private landfills around central North Carolina. Not only is this a gross offense against the environment, it’s a huge waste of money.

We aim to make the entire process more efficient by ensuring that less waste makes it to those bigger trucks in Durham, and is instead reused. Countless amounts of still-useful objects are discarded each year and are needlessly filling our landfills, so we are working with the Durham Waste Transfer Station to explore the possibility of a re-use district near the Transfer Station site to eliminate some of this wastefulness.

Our team is investigating the interest of nearby reuse businesses like Durham’s Scrap Exchange and Greensboro’s Mattress-Go-Round. These businesses take what would have been buried underneath pounds and pounds of trash in the middle of nowhere and re-purpose or refurbish these undervalued items. If we can successfully integrate these private sector entities into public waste management, both groups can benefit from the efficiencies that come from working towards a common goal.