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A new twist in garbage-picking: North Carolina bans plastic bottles from landfills

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Apparently, voluntary recycling efforts for plastic bottles haven't been effective enough in North Carolina, where fewer than one in five bottles are currently recycled. It is now illegal to throw them out.

Apparently, voluntary recycling efforts for plastic bottles haven't been effective enough in North Carolina, where fewer than one in five bottles are currently recycled. In retaliation, the state has relegated plastic bottles to the same status as motor oil and wooden pallets. It is now illegal to throw them out with your regular household trash.

Actually, the law has been on the books since 2005, it just went into effect today.

Sadly, I hate to say it, but some people DO respond to the stick more than they do to carrots. Voluntary recycling measures still see woefully inadequate. Even I don't sort as much as I actually should.

Deep down, there's another reason why this law is smart: it ACTUALLY could be seen as an economic stimulus package in disguise. That's because North Carolina is home to several businesses that turn recycled plastic into other stuff. Approximately 14,000 people in the state are employed by those businesses. Hmmmm.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure