Larry Klimovitz sat in front of the lecture hall at the Southampton Middle School in Bel Air to give his lesson.
Klimovitz, the county's director of administration, wasn't about to teach a class on the Three R's. He was interested in the fourth R -- recycling.
About 40 people attended the public forum, which was organized toexplain the county's proposed voluntary trash recycling program, which could start in June.
The Wednesday night session, sponsored by the Susquehannock Environmental Center and the Community Coalition ofHarford County, was part of the county's efforts to educate citizenson trash recycling. The County Council will have a public hearing onthe proposed plan Dec. 3.
Susquehannock and the coalition is planning to offer another recycling forum early next year, said Bob Chance, director of the environmental center.
To ensure participation in recycling, the county plans to set up a task force to work with environmental and civic groups to promote the program.
The county also plans to establish a speakers bureau staffed by county workers and volunteers to talk to community groups about the recycling plan.
During the two-hour forum, Klimovitz fielded a half-dozen questions onthe recycling proposal. The residents appeared to be in favor of theplan.
Klimovitz started with an explanation of why the county is starting a recycling program, noting that trash recycling will help preserve natural resources by paring the county's need for landfills.
"It's the right thing to do," Klimovitz told citizens. He said thestate has mandated that all counties in Maryland reduce the amount of trash going into landfills by at least 20 percent by 1994.
County residents and businesses produce about 167,000 tons of trash a year, Klimovitz said. About 6,000 tons of trash is recycled in the countynow.
Klimovitz also outlined step-by-step instructions to help residents sort trash.
Starting in June, they would put their glass, plastic and metal containers in one blue plastic bag, newspapers in asecond plastic bag, and yard waste in a third bag, Klimovitz said.
Participants would put the bags of recyclable materials at their curb for once-a-week collection by their haulers, Klimovitz said. Haulers would pick up garbage on another day.
The county is negotiatingwith area grocery stores to offer customers blue plastic bags to carry groceries in, instead of requiringing residents who want to recycle to buy them, Klimovitz said. Blue plastic bags also would be sold in stores, as are other trash bags.
Haulers would take recyclable materials to a transfer station at the county's old landfill near the intersection of routes 7 and 24 in Abingdon, Klimovitz said.
Garbage would be taken to the Scarboro Landfill near Dublin or to the Waste-to-Energy Facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Haulers would be charged $60 per ton of waste dropped off at those sites. Haulers argue that the charge, called a tipping fee, may double or triple the average $8 bill for trash collection.
Dennis Averill of Abingdon asked whether the county will offer residents and haulers incentives to participate in the voluntary program.
Klimovitz said he doesn't believe incentives are necessary. By encouraging customers to sort recyclables, haulers will see lower tipping fees and customers will have lower trash bills, he said.
"The more you recycle, the less your costsare," Klimovitz said. "I know of no better incentive than economic incentives."