Those paper-pushing county Circuit Court employees have gone environmental.
No longer will they throw away used white and computer paper to be burned at the nearest incinerator or dumped at the local landfill.
Circuit Court Clerk H. Erle Schafer said the courthouse will join the state's recycling program by Oct. 1. It will become the first circuit courthouse in Maryland to recycle.
"We hope this will be a pilot program for the rest of the circuit courthouses," he said.
The Circuit Court clerk admitted he decided to make the move only after employees suggested it.
"Obviously, this is a paper mill here," Schafer said. "We think we use a substantial amount of white paper and computer paper."
To prove his point, Schafer pointed to 2 feet of used computer paper sitting on his office floor.
"This is just one day's worth of computer waste, and we don't have the (computer) system totally on-line yet," he said.
Every ton of office paper that is recycled saves 14 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, 683 gallons of oil and 4,200 kilowatt hours of energy, Schafer said.
"Environmentally, we want to do our part," he said. "Whatever we save, it's better than what we're doing now. Also, this is a public-oriented office. The public will be able to see that we care as much about recycling as they do."
The courthouse will be making some money off the program, too. The recycling company -- National Recovery in Columbia -- will pay about $40 per ton for white paper and $110 per ton for computer paper.
Schafer, however, said he will turn the earnings over to the state.
The plan is to place about seven 55-gallon bins at central locations throughout the courthouse. Schafer said he'll put smaller trash containers in every office, then he'll educate employees about the advantages of recycling.
"Once they get used to it, it'll be easy," he said. "Really, it's just retraining a habit. Instead of putting it in a trash can under their desk, they put it in a container located in their department."
State officials hope to provide recycling service to state agencies in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard counties by the end of this year, said William Robel, manager of the inventory management division of the state Department of General Services. The rest of the counties will tap into the program by early 1991.
The program has been serving large state complexes in Baltimore and Annapolis since 1980.
All counties and state agencies must begin recycling by 1992.