LUMBERTON — Pembroke resident Kristina-Locklear Cummings has been hired as Robeson County’s first recycling coordinator. The position was created recently to promote sustainability and create a greener county.
“I’m very pleased she will be working with our recycling program,” said Steve Edge, Robeson County’s Solid Waste director. “I think having her in this position will be very beneficial to the county and I’m looking forward to expanding our recycling program as we move forward.”
Cummings, who has been on the job for three weeks, is earning an annual salary of $35,000, Edge said. She is a former employee of the North Carolina Department of Corrections and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Cummings is responsible for implementing recycling programs at county-operated collection sites and for developing and promoting educational programs for schools and civic organizations.
Edge said that Cummings will also be responsible for seeking and administering grants. He said that she is already working on a grant for expansion of the county’s pesticide container program.
Edge said that Cummings is also working with the Manufactured Home Abatement Program, a grant program where the state supplies money for the county to remove dilapidated manufactured homes.
At one time, Robeson County was ranked 100 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties for public recycling. Edge said that in the past five years, with the implementation of additional recycling programs, the county has improved overall to a ranking of 76.
“Recycling should be easier and more accessible for our residents,” Cummings said. “We need to pursue grants that help us develop education initiatives to inform the public of what should be recycled and the benefits of recycling.”
In 2013, recycled materials generated close to $40,000 for Robeson County.
According to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, North Carolina’s recycling industry in 2013 had more than 700 private sector recycling businesses with 17,000 recycling-related jobs.
There are other benefits to recycling, such as the reduction of greenhouse gases, reduction of the amount of waste deposited in landfills, less energy used in the production of recyclable materials, and creating a better image for Robeson County.
“I accepted this position because I was ready to do something for my community,” Cummings said. “I love Robeson County and I love living here. I want to create a community that we can be proud of.”
At each of the county’s 20 trash collection sites, there are receptacles for the collection of aluminum, plastic, electronics, paper, cardboard, oil and metal. Cummings plans to establish a system of co-mingling recycling, which means all recyclable goods can be collected in one receptacle. The transition will create a more efficient way of collecting refuse.
Anyone wanting more information about Robeson County’s recycling program should contact Cummings at email@example.com, or call the county’s Solid Waste Department at 910-865-3348.