The city will expand its curbside recycling program to more neighborhoods next week and the program will be available in all neighborhoods by no later than December, says George G. Balog, the city public works director.
Curbside recycling of paper, plastics, cans and bottles is now under way in several neighborhoods in north and northeast Baltimore with outside contractors.
Mount Washington in the 5th Councilmanic District and Lauraville in the 3rd District will be the first neighborhoods to receive the service when it is expands, Balog told City Council members this week.
The city is divided into 22 waste-collection zones and the expansion is to proceed at a rate of two new zones a week, Balog said during a hearing on the Schmoke administration's proposed $2.05 billion budget.
Curbside recycling will be restricted to paper products when the service expands to the new zones, said Balog. By September, the city will begin phasing in the collection of bottles, cans and plastics. Chesapeake Paper Board, a South Baltimore firm, has agreed to accept and recycle the paper products, Balog added.
Balog cited two reasons for beginning curbside recycling with paper products. It will give the city time to inform residents about recycling through fliers and water bill inserts and the city will be able to use trucks now in its fleet to collect the paper trash. "We'll need special trucks to carry the bottles, cans and plastics we collect," Balog added.
The cost of specialized trucks and additional employees needed for citywide curbside pickup -- estimated to be about $2.1 million -- will be offset by savings the city will realize from paying less in tipping fees. The city pays an average of $39 a ton to dump trash and garbage at the BRESCO incinerator.
Trash and garbage are now collected twice a week in city neighborhoods. But that would change after curbside recycling is introduced to a neighborhood. Initially, trash and garbage would be picked up on one day and recyclable materials on the other collection day.