DOT supports recycling day by saving tons of oil

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

RALEIGH ó In conjunction with America Recycles Day 2008 on Saturday, the N.C. Department of Transportation has released the latest results of its ongoing waste management efforts, including recycling and the reduction and reuse of materials.
“Our employees are committed to enhancing the ecological health of North Carolina,” Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said. “By ‘thinking green,’ we’re reducing pollution and the amount of waste that goes into the landfills while saving money that can be used to improve our transportation infrastructure.”
During fiscal year 2008, NCDOT recycled 1,045 tons of office paper, telephone books and cardboard, which saved 7.3 million gallons of water; 17,765 trees and 3,135 cubic yards of landfill space.
During the same time period, NCDOT also recycled:
– 1.2 million tons of oil, tires and asphalt;
– 17,164 tons of organic material including yard waste and wood mulch;
– 3,229 tons of metal including highway signs and scrap metal;
– 124 tons of electronics including computers, monitors and printers; and
– 15 tons of plastic including jugs, bottles and buckets.
In addition, the department strives to reduce the amount of waste it generates by reusing materials when possible. The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, for instance, sends out more than 5 million envelopes of information to motor vehicle owners each year. The envelopes are specially designed to be inverted, so the recipient can send information back to DMV in the same envelope. Once DMV receives the envelope and processes the material inside, the envelope is recycled.
NCDOT also reduces the number of highway signs it buys by reusing signs that have been lightly damaged or are no longer in use. Signs that are fairly flat are sent through a Hydrostripper machine, which removes the design and adhesive. They are then sent to the sign shop where they are made into new signs. As long as the aluminum remains in good condition, the signs can be used numerous times.
Another example of NCDOT’s waste reduction is asphalt diversion. The department kept more than 860,000 tons of asphalt out of North Carolina landfills in fiscal year 2008 by reusing it in other highway projects. The old asphalt is typically milled or heated, mixed with new asphalt and placed back down on the road. About 90 percent of the asphalt NCDOT uses can be recycled, saving the department a substantial amount of money, especially as the price of oil, a component of asphalt, continues to fluctuate.
To learn more information or watch a video on NCDOT’s 3R program, go to