The Baltimore City and Baltimore County councils have received the final report of a waste-management task force, whose recommendations, if adopted, would lessen the use of disposable materials by residents and businesses.
The Baltimore City/Baltimore County Task Force on Waste Stream Management and Reduction, chaired by County Councilman Robert B. Hickernell, D-1st, and City Councilman Joseph T. "Jody" Landers 3rd, D-3rd, has been meeting since February.
Among the major recommendations the task force gave to the two councils at a joint meeting in Baltimore yesterday were:
* Create a new recycling goal of 50 percent of all trash by the year 2000, surpassing the 20 percent goal now in place for 1994 in Maryland.
* Combine the city and county curbside-recycling efforts, and give residents labels to affix to containers intended for recycling to make collections easier.
* Impose a so-called "single-item tax" on items distributed in Maryland, ranging from car tires to baby diapers. This is a broad wholesaler's tax, which would include the beverage container tax.
* Create an independent waste-disposal authority that would finance its operations by charging residential customers by the size of the trash can they use each month, thus encouraging recycling.
* Governments should buy materials that can themselves be recycled after use.
* Offer tax incentives for companies buying recycling equipment, and promote the use of energy-saving devices such as low-flush toilets and long-life light bulbs.
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and County Executive Dennis Rassmussen, who attended the joint session, vowed that the report would not end up being shelved.
The mayor said that the report fits nicely into the city's recycling plan.
The committee was created by the two councils to find alternatives to the controversial beverage-container taxes enacted by both jurisdictions last year. The idea was to find broader ways to tax waste while reducing the trash put into landfills.
The city and county legislators were also looking for alternatives to the property tax.
Both Schmoke and Rassmussen hailed the report as a significant step in city-county cooperation.
"I think this kind of cooperation will help us to build the kind of consensus we need to move forward," Rassmussen said. "Like I've said before, the city and Baltimore County are connected financially, economically and environmentally."
Schmoke said the waste-stream issue "affects the quality of life of all residents, city and county."
The report was sent to the City Council's Policy and Planning Committee for future hearings.