Baltimore kicked off its curbside trash recycling effort today as city officials struggled with a tight promotion budget and other glitches.
Curbside collection of used soda bottles, newspapers and other recyclables began at 1,700 homes in certain northeast and north-central neighborhoods. The collections are to be offered to 20,000 homes within the next two weeks.
Other neighborhoods are to be phased in over the next several years as part of an effort to meet a state mandate and save space at the city's only landfill.
City recycling officials have been hurrying to get the word out about the program by distributing fliers, running radio spots and promoting it at meetings with community groups.
Many residents in northeast Baltimore seemed prepared for the collection today, but some were not.
Stephen E. Chidsey, city recycling coordinator, acknowledged that it may take time to get people into the recycling habit. "We're hoping for peer pressure," he said.
As collections began, though, a company that has a city contract to sort and market used containers still did not have zoning approval from the city to operate at an old city dog pound in West Baltimore. The company, G&L Trucking, also has struggled to get the financing it needs, so city officials are considering leasing sorting equipment to the company.
The two companies with city contracts to collect recyclables, Browning-Ferris Industries and White Bros. Trucking, are to sell the recyclable containers until G&L is operating.