So maybe for Christmas you bought a new flatscreen TV that came in a ginormous box that doesn’t fit in your recycle bin. Or maybe you’re cleaning out your garage, replacing appliances, or updating furniture and you’re stuck with things you need to get rid of. I have the solution. Load what you can into your car, truck, or small trailer and take it to the North Mecklenburg Recycling Center. I’ve been three times in the last two days disposing of huge boxes, an old saw, an end table, and more. Don’t be put off by the online reviews. If you follow a few simple tricks, you’ll be fine.

Don’t come in a truck that has a business displayed on the side

If the center thinks you’re disposing of commercial waste, you’ll probably be charged. This means that if you’re driving a work van or pick-up truck, or towing a trailer, you’ll need to prove that your items meet the residential requirement to avoid a fee. Here’s what’s free:

  • Less than 2 32-gallon trash bags of yard waste
  • 1 large bulky item, such as a sofa, chair, table, or mattress set

So you could do multiple visits if you have more than one large item and don’t want to pay a fee.

What to do when you arrive

Pull in and stop in front of the booth. Here’s where it gets tricky. I’ve pulled in and driven past two employees who waved me through at the stop sign. I’ve stopped and rolled down my window and yelled at the person working the booth, telling her I had scrap metal in the back. And I’ve just driven through without anyone acknowledging me at all. So there’s no telling what will happen when you enter, but don’t worry. Any of these scenarios is fine. You’re a resident dropping off recyclables and you’re basically going to enter and follow a semi-circular path around the center, stopping along the way to drop off your recyclables at the correct station.


North Mecklenburg Recycling Center

Separate items into scrap metal, kitchen, cardboard, hazardous waste, and bulk

Each of these categories has a different drop off point in the recycling center. Separating them ahead of time will save time when you get there. Here’s what the center will take (per its website):

  • Appliances (stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, etc.)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Pizza boxes
  • Wide-mouth plastic containers
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Milk and juice cartons, juice boxes
  • Aluminum/steel/tin cans
  • Spiral paper cans (i.e., frozen juice cans)
  • Glass jars/bottles (all colors)
  • Junk mail and mixed paper (office paper, junk mail, envelopes, cereal boxes without liners, paper bags, gift boxes, gift wrap, dry food boxes, beer and pop cartons, mail tubes, paper towel rolls, index cards, file folders, paper egg cartons, and paper food trays)
  • Newspapers and inserts
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Telephone books
  • Flattened corrugated cardboard
  • Household batteries (camcorder, laptop, camera, flashlight batteries, etc.)
  • Lead-acid (car) batteries
  • Scrap aluminum and ferrous metal (bed frames, swing sets, etc.)
  • Paint: oil and water-based (limit 5 gallons)
  • Motor oil/antifreeze/transmission fluid (limit 5 gallons)
  • Cooking oil
  • Tires (limit 5)
  • Bicycle tires and inner tubes
  • Propane tanks from gas grills (empty!)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Computer and television monitors (limit 3)
  • Computers

Do not bring trash

Here’s what the recycling center will not take (per its website):

  • Ceramic cups, window or windshield glass, Pyrex, glass dinnerware-plates
  • Paper contaminated with food residue, diapers, textbooks, Styrofoam, plastic food containers, gift bows, ribbons, plastic bags, or plastic film


If you have any questions, call its 24-hr Info Line at (980) 314-3867. The center is located at 12300 N. Statesville Road, Huntersville, and is open Mon.-Sat., 7am-4pm.