Earlier this month, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved the Solid Waste Advisory Group’s inter-local waste management and recycling agreement, after years of negotiation.

Orange County municipal and university governing bodies still need to vote to pass the agreement individually, but Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle says she thinks all of the stakeholders are satisfied and that the plan might go into action by December.

Lavelle says the agreement acts as the guiding document for how area towns the university operate recycling and waste management services, and promotes future collaboration around this issue.

“We finally were able to hammer out an agreement that works for all of us,” Lavelle says, “and my understanding is each municipality below the county is going to be approving it, if they haven’t already, by December.”

The agreement required hard conversations regarding financial and logistical challenges from different stakeholders, Lavelle said, making this a significant accomplishment.

One key aspect of the agreement has every household in Orange County paying the same amount for waste management services. Some pushed for varying fees, given the extra cost of rural waste pick-up, but Lavelle says collaboration helps everyone tackle their sustainability goals.

“Even though it might be more cost efficient to pick up recycling in a dense area, versus a house on an isolated road out in the county,” Lavelle says, “it all goes towards the same goal of reducing our greenhouse gases, working towards protecting our environment and establishing best practices.”

The Solid Waste Advisory Group (SWAG) is a multi-jurisdictional task force established in 2014 to handle the area’s solid waste issues. One of SWAG’s core missions since its inception has been an inter-local agreement on waste management.