SYKESVILLE - Though the town's month-old recycling program is off to a sluggish start, organizers hope to follow in the footsteps of other successful efforts in South Carroll.
Residents haven't been flocking to the Sykesville recycling center, which opened its doors Oct. 13 at the town's new maintainance building off Sandosky Road.
But town administrators are planning a December information campaign they hope will motivate would-be recyclers into action, said Maxine Wooleyhand, a member of Town Council and the recycling committee.
"It's kind of slow right now, but that's because a lot of people don't know about it," she said.
Sykesville has models for success in recycling programs conducted by South Carroll neighbors Mount Airy and Piney Run.
The Piney Run program has been by far the most productive in the county, said Dwight Copenhaver, recycling manager for the Carroll Department of Natural Resource Protection.
More than 70 tons of recyclable material has been collected at that site since it opened in April, tops among the 10 sites in Carroll where the county has placed recycling bins.
Mount Airy's efforts have met with similar success, with more than 42 tons of material being turned in since spring.
That figure doesn't include newspapers, estimated at an additional 100 tons.
Countywide, Copenhaver said nearly 100 tons of recyclables havebeen deposited at the 10 sites, material that otherwise would have been destined for burial in landfills.
Sykesville administrators said they haven't been calculating how much material has been dropped off during the first month at the new center, which is open each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
But they acknowledge there's plenty of room for improvement and are hoping that a flier in the December issue of the town newsletter will boost participation. The flier will outline the program and detail what kind of materials are suitable for recycling.
The town is accepting newspaper, office paper, aluminum, used motor oil, and -- after Dec. 25 -- used Christmas trees.
Working the bugs out of the program has been the goal of the first few weeks, said Town Manager James Schumacher, with hopes of getting up to speed by year's end.
A goal of 35 tons of material for the first year is the goal the town has set, he said, which would save the town about $5,000 in landfill dumping fees.
In the coming months, the town will get help from a Liberty High School environmental club, whose 70 students will help operated the center each Saturday.
Despite the slow start, better results should follow if the town stays the course, said Wendi Peters, who heads the nine-member recycling committee in Mount Airy.
Spreading the word and getting the program established are perhaps the biggest hurdles, she said.
"We had problems getting everything started, but we've been going strong and building since then," she said. "It's a contemporary issue and everyone's interested in it. The more you keep feeding them information, the more they're willing to do it."