Can cities or counties in North Carolina require customers, particularly commercial customers, to use the local government’s recycling program? It’s a good question, especially in light of the failure of almost all of the State’s counties to meet the ten year waste reduction goals created back in 1991–most counties did not reduce their waste streams at all. I think the answer is “no,” an NC city or county cannot mandate recycling, meaning the use of the local government’s recycling service. However, local governments can require the separation of recyclable materials from the municipal solid waste stream, the waste headed to the landfill. It’s then up to the customer to decide what to do with the reclaimed material. A local government that goes further and provides a convenient way to collect the recovered material can go a long way to reducing the pressure for future landfill disposal.