Baltimore County will begin at least one, and maybe more, pilot recycling programs early next year to test the feasibility of collecting trash only once a week and recyclables on the second visit each week, according to a plan the County Council approved last night.
The new pilot programs would test collection of metal, plastic and glass containers, in addition to mixed paper, in several of 13 targeted areas identified yesterday by the Hayden administration. The 13 areas will all be part of County Executive Roger B. Hayden's earlier announced plan for paper-only collections in 21,000 homes by April 1992.
The pilot programs were fashioned by the executive and council members eager to please constituents who have been calling for action by the county toward curbside recycling.
To this point, volunteers have largely shouldered recycling efforts in the county, and they have become frustrated that their own enthusiastic support has not become a full-fledged government program.
The plan that the council approved last night will be sent to the state government, as part of the state's mandated goal that 20 percent of all county trash be recycled by 1994.
"Recycling is an opportunity, not a burden," said Councilman Melvin G. Mintz, D-2nd, who worked on the plan with William A. Howard 4th, R-6th. Added Howard, "We are now learning to treat this [trash] as a raw material."
Vincent Gardina, D-5th, called the plan "a very good first step" and urged the county to move quickly toward curbside recycling countywide.
Hayden's original plan, announced Nov. 4, called for collections of paper for recycling at 55,000 homes by July 1992, and working up to 155,000 homes, about half the county's total, by 1994, with yard waste added to paper. Hayden gave no firm date for starting countywide recycling, in contrast to Baltimore, where curbside recycling is to be available by February. The executive said then that full curbside recycling is too expensive in this recessionary time, and markets for the materials remain uncertain.
The county now collects recyclables from 5,400 homes in a limited program that Hayden's predecessor, Dennis F. Rasmussen, began. These collections are more costly, however, because recyclables are gathered on a separate, third weekly trash pickup, in addition to the regular twice-weekly collections.
Since discussion of the issue at a council work session last week, Hayden agreed with the council on a series of measures to help nudge along the revised program unveiled yesterday. Among them:
* The creation of a citizen advisory council this month, with each council member having one appointment. The full size of the committee has not been decided.
* Yearly progress reports on recycling, starting July 1, 1992.
* Studying the feasibility of having a regional marketing coordinator for recycling industries and to have a process for locating these industries within the county.
* Beginning curbside paper pickups in 13 areas by April 1992.
Hayden late yesterday released a list of the 13 areas in which paper-recycling collections would begin during the first half of next year. These are spread throughout the county, starting in central Catonsville, and moving north to the area between U.S. 40 West and Interstate 70, then to Sudbrook Park and Pikesville, Owings Mills, Hereford-Monkton, Rodgers Forge, the Hillendale area, Timonium, Campus Hills, near Goucher College, Middle River, Perry Hall-White Marsh and Gray Haven in Dundalk.