Recycling advocates achieved a major objective in Baltimore yesterday, as the Board of Estimates approved contracts that will allow curbside collection of bottles, cans and paper to begin Nov. 4.
The city will pay a total of $204,237 to two companies, Browning-Ferris Inc. and White Brothers Trucking, which will begin collecting recyclable material every other week from about 20,000 homes in Northeast and North Baltimore.
The contracts call for curbside recycling in two areas of the city. One will include Roland Park, Guilford, Homeland, Woodberry, Keswick and parts of Hampden north of West 36th Street; the other area will include neighborhoods between Bel Air Road and Harford and Old Harford roads extending north from Erdman Avenue to the city line.
Stephen E. Chidsey, the city's recycling coordinator, said the program could be extended to the entire city within two years if the pilot effort proves a success.
He said he would consider the program a success if half the 20,000 households in the area recycle their trash.
Under the pilot program, residents who collect plastic, paper, glass and metal cans will be able to set out the refuse in specially marked containers. The hauling companies will sell the refuse for $2 a ton to a recycling company, which will sort the refuse and resell it to various companies for reuse.
The arrangement was immediately hailed by recycling advocates, who said they are confident that residents will be so pleased to have curbside recycling service that they will work hard to prevent any foul-ups and to make the pilot program a success.
"People are desperately seeking recycling opportunities, so I think they are willing on the short haul to be cooperative and go out of their way to make it work," said Sandra R. Sparks, executive director of the Greater Homewood Community Corp. "I think they are willing to pay the price."
But Board of Estimates President Mary Pat Clarke expressed concern that having collections only every other week might tempt people to stash big bundles of newspapers and bags of soda cans and jars on the curb, rather than inside their homes.
"We don't want Baltimore to look trashy," Mrs. Clarke said.