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Posted on: August 16, 2023

Suleyman honored by NC Coastal Federation with Pelican Award

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Joe Suleyman, New Hanover County’s Recycling and Solid Waste Director, was recognized by the North Carolina Coastal Federation earlier this month with a Pelican Award, highlighting his ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.

The award, which was presented at the 2023 Taste of the Coast Celebration, celebrated several initiatives Suleyman has established in recent years to encourage responsible waste disposal and recycling efforts, including oyster shell recycling, the HazWagon program and the wastewater treatment process associated with the county’s landfill.

“I am truly humbled and honored by this recognition from the NC Coastal Federation,” Suleyman said. “Our goal with Recycling and Solid Waste is to be as efficient as possible in how we dispose of things, but also to minimize the impact that process has on the environment around us. I’m grateful that our community has embraced so many of the ideas and programs we have established and hope they feel a sense of pride knowing they are helping protect our natural resources here in New Hanover County.”

The oyster shell recycling program has helped keep used oyster shells out of the garbage, allowing them to be reused as material for restoring reefs and helping replenish the oyster supply in area waterways. The Recycling and Solid Waste team put a 10-yard dumpster in Wrightsville Beach to encourage shell recycling.

Additionally, Suleyman was responsible for the creation of the HazWagon program, a mobile unit that stops in different community locations throughout New Hanover County allowing individuals to dispose of materials that shouldn’t go in the landfill because of their chemical composition. Suleyman has also overseen the enhanced wastewater treatment program at the landfill site which uses a reverse osmosis system to treat leach water before it is released.

“Joe continues to be a driving force behind creating and implementing practices that are mindful of disposing things safely when necessary and recycling them when possible,” New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet said. “Living at the coast, Joe has taken protecting our natural resources to heart and makes it a priority in everything he does. I’m grateful for his leadership of our Recycling and Solid Waste department and glad to see others recognize his hard work.”

For more about the work of Recycling and Solid Waste, visit


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