Council urges weekly pickup of recyclables

November 27, 1991|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

A Baltimore County Council committee asked the county executive yesterday to look into weekly curbside recycling, but county administrators said it may be too expensive and will require further study before they reach any decisions.

County Executive Roger B. Hayden unveiled a recycling plan Nov. 4 that was criticized for not going far enough to promote or mandate recycling.

The plan calls for expanding curbside collection of mixed paper to 55,000 homes by next July and offering curbside collection of mixed paper and lawn waste to half of the county's 282,000 homes by 1994.

Mr. Hayden's plan gives no firm commitment on when countywide recycling may be put in place. It says only that it may be offered between 1995 and the year 2000.

By contrast, citywide recycling is expected to be available in Baltimore by February.

The county faces a state mandate to come up with a plan to reduce its solid waste by 20 percent by 1994. The deadline for coming up with a plan is Jan. 1, county officials said.

Mr. Hayden said his plan will meet the state's requirement. Under amendments to Mr. Hayden's plan proposed yesterday by County Council members Melvin Mintz, D-2nd, and William A. Howard IV, R-6th, it would include a series of deadlines aimed at speeding up recycling efforts.

As part of the amendments, the county would have to determine by Jan. 1, whether it would be feasible to have one day a week for trash pickup and one day for recycling pickup, instead of two days each week for trash pickup.

Mr. Mintz said that he and Mr. Howard looked at recycling programs across the country.

He added that in New Jersey, mandatory recycling programs have meant 40 percent recovery of all recycled materials. Also, it has generated 11,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in annual sales of recycled materials.

"I don't think there's any question that there's a need for recycling, and that people are demanding that we move in this direction," Mr. Mintz said.

But Mr. Hayden and his subordinates say that the county should not base its decisions on the experiences of other jurisdictions.

"If it's done too quickly, or it's too poorly thought out, it will defeat the whole purpose of the program," Charles Reighart, the county recycling coordinator, told the council.

County administration officials say their plan is based on starting out with a modest recycling effort, and then building it up based on what works.

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