If throwing glass bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers...

October 27, 1991|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

If throwing glass bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines and plastic containers in with the household trash is the routine at yourhouse, you have two years to change your ways.

The county's recycling plan -- in the works since June -- was unveiled last week duringa meeting with Carroll's mayors.

Should the commissioners adopt the plan's recommendations, every household in the county would be served by weekly curbside recycling,landfill dumping fees would at least double and recyclable materialswould be banned from county landfills.

"We want to be able to do an effective job of getting all of this stuff out of the landfills," said J. Michael Evans, director of the Department of General Servicesand the primary architect of the recycling plan.

The curbside program must be operational by January 1994 to meet state recycling laws. The plan must be approved by the commissioners before the end of this year.

Carroll County is one of the last jurisdictions in the state to put a recycling plan in place.

The county also has one of the lowest recycling rates -- the percentage of the waste stream kept out of the landfills -- in the metropolitan region.

Evans told themayors that the curbside program would cost less than $1 a week for each of Carroll's 43,000 households and would probably be provided bya private contractor or trash haulers.

The county must recycle 15percent of the trash thrown in its landfills by 1994. Only about 6 percent of the current 115,000 tons annually is recycled.

To meet that goal, the plan calls for glass, metals, plastics,

newspaper, cardboard, mixed paper and yard waste to be banned from the landfill.

The plan also would license all waste haulers, so that violators of the ban could be barred from doing business in the county.

Evanstold the mayors the $15 tipping fee also would have to be raised, probably to $35 or $40, to make solid waste operations


Some of the mayors said Thursday that they were troubled by the idea of raising tipping fees to offset the drop in dumping revenuesbrought about by recycling.

The last two times the commissioners tried to raise the tipping fees, Carroll's municipal leaders cried foul.

Last spring, for instance, a proposal to boost the fees to near $40 was turned down by the commissioners in large measure because of protests by the mayors.

But, Evans said, the higher tipping feeswould be an added incentive to recycle and would ensure that landfill operations pay for themselves.

In the long run, more recycling could lower the amount of money Carroll residents pay for trash removal, county officials said.

"Theoretically, if you have much less trash, you could have it collected less often," said Solweig L. Smith, the county's zoning administrator.

"I would hope that if the cost to haulers was less, they would pass that on to residents."

Thoughthe county has the lowest tipping fee in the Baltimore region, Carroll homeowners pay the most in the area for trash collection.

The county's eight independent trash haulers usually charge $80 to $160 a year for weekly collection.

In every county municipality except Taneytown, the town government contracts with a single hauler. The costs are about $80 a year for twice-weekly collection.

The recycling plan is expected to be approved by the commissioners in November.

At the request of Commissioner President Donald I. Dell, the recycling program will continue to rely on private trash haulers as much as possible.

Evans said the concerns of the haulers were weighed in developing the plan.

"If government regulates it, then private industry should operate it," he said.


* Put responsibility for recycling compliance on the trash producer, creating an incentive for waste minimization. Make wasteful behavior expensive.

* Emphasize waste minimization through a strong educational program, and establish policies that encourage investment in waste production.

* Enact laws to educate the public and ensure compliance.

* Create employment and business opportunities through waste management and recycling strategies.

* Acknowledge creative and progressive recycling and waste-reduction effort.


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