Commissioners Announce Long-awaited Recycling Plan

February 16, 1992|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

County households and businesses must separate recyclables from trash for pickup by their haulers starting July 1 if a plan unveiled Thursday becomes a reality.

The plan, announced by the county commissioners during a quarterly meeting with Carroll mayors, also calls for a comprehensive trash and recycling plan to begin in July 1993.

"We made every effort to keep sight of the best interests of all the citizens," Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said.

The plan includes fewer answers than questions, but one outcome is certain: The program will be financed by a recycling tax, the amount of which has yet to be determined.

The decision on countywide recycling is long overdue, said some municipal leaders who've grown impatient withthe commissioners in recent weeks.

The plan drew immediate broadsides from Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, who fears municipal residents will be the losers under the proposed plan by being forced bypay higher rates for trash collection.

Most Carroll municipal governments contract for their own trash pickup, and Brown worries that town residents who live in densely populated areas will subsidize thehigher cost of trash pickup in less dense areas.

"It's a principle from Economics 101," he said.

Brown also criticized the commissioners' plan because it separates recycling from a "flawed system" of trash collection that is not cost-effective. He also objects to separating the issues of recycling and countywide solid-waste administration.

The commissioners acknowledged dragging their feet on recycling but implored the county's municipal leaders to put the past behind.

"Let's move forward and stop fussing about what hasn't happened in the past year," Dell said.

The proposed recycling plan is part of the county's overall effort to meet a state mandate to reduce solidwaste disposal in landfills by 15 percent by 1994.

Under the commissioners' plan, the county would assume responsibility for the administration of trash collection, including licensing and contracting ofhaulers. Currently, county residents outside municipalities contractindividually with haulers for trash pickup.

About a dozen haulersoperate in the county.

A key aspect of the plan calls for the county to contract with a private facility to take the recyclables collected by the haulers.

Licensing of all haulers operating in Carrollwould be introduced under the commissioners' plan. Haulers will be responsible for informing customers that recycling is mandatory.

Materials to be recycled include newspapers, magazines, junk mail, office paper, aluminum and bi-metal cans, clear and colored glass, cardboard, plastic bottles and yard waste, such as grass clippings and treelimbs.

Self-service recycling bins throughout Carroll and the county's recycling barn on Littlestown Pike will remain in use at least through December.

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