Cardboard chaos: How the City of Lexington plans to combat the problem

North Carolina

LEXINGTON, N.C. — The pandemic has affected every aspect of life including how people shop.

Many throughout the pandemic have pivoted to online shopping to avoid crowds, which creates a substantial surge in cardboard.

That has left bins full, and at least in one community, cardboard littering the street.

Lexington city leaders took notice and they’re working to combat the problem.

“I order at least three times a week,” said Jefferey Connor, a Lexington homeowner.

Connor is immunocompromised so mostly everything he does is online.

“I have a garage [and] for the last few weeks I’ve been dumping cardboard because it’s almost filled with products that I ordered online,” Connor said.

Connor, like so many people in the pandemic, resorted to online shopping. With that comes a lot of cardboard boxes.

“We’ve seen about a 12 to 15 percent increase because of the Amazon delivery and things of that nature. Just shopping habits folks have now in the pandemic. We see it out on the curb, and it doesn’t fit in the cart all the time,'” said Chip Vanderzee, Lexington’s assistant city manager.

To combat a surge of cardboard in curbside recycling, the City of Lexington plans to install several dumpsters throughout the area to allow for more recycling options.

“We’re going to try to use dumpsters at some of our public facilities around the city. We haven’t completely identified those yet, but we’re going to put those at public facilities so there’s a little more visibility,” Vanderzee said.

Connor thinks it’s a great idea.

“It’ll probably ease the cost on everybody,'” he said.

The city was awarded a $14,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to purchase offsite dumpsters. Until that happens there’s things folks can do to alleviate the problem.

“If they’re able is to cut it down instead of leaving it hanging outside of the cart,” Vanderzee said.

The grant will also purchase five dumpsters for glass.

For more information you can contact Lexington City Hall at (336) 243-2489.

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