The Maryland Department of the Environment last week gave Harford's proposed trash recycling plan generally upbeat reviews last week and said approval of the plan should come soon.
The department, which must approve the plan before it can take effect, said Harford's "freeenterprise" recycling plan is an "innovative approach" that should allow it to meet state-mandated recycling goals.
The comments were made in a March 18 letter from Lori Scozzafava,chief of the Office of Waste Minimization and Recycling at the Maryland Department of the Environment, to Larry Klimovitz, director of administration.
In her letter, Scozzafava wrote, "The county has much work to do in the next year to effectively manage a free enterpriserecycling system," and meet a state-mandated goal to recycle at least 20 percent of its solid waste by Jan. 1, 1994.
But she said administrators in her division "believe the county can be successful in attaining the goal if 50 percent of the households are served by curbside collection of recyclables by Jan. 1, 1993, and commercial and yard waste recycling systems are effective."
The proposed recycling plan calls for residents to use recyclable blue plastic bags to store plastic and glass containers, newspapers, yard waste and aluminum andbi-metal cans.
Once a week, residents would place the bags outside their homes. Private trash hauling companies serving the householdswould collect the bags.
Haulers would then deposit the recyclables at a transfer station, where another company would pick them up andferry them to Browning Ferris Industries processing center in Elkridge, Howard County. Recyclables will be sorted and made ready for market at the BFI plant.
But the recycling program, scheduled to beginJune 1, must first receive MDE approval.
Harford was the last Maryland county to submit a recycling proposal. The state deadline was Jan. 1, but Harford didn't submit its plan to the MDE until Feb. 14.
In her letter, Scozzafava said the MDE needs more information before issuing final approval, but she added that approval likely would become once MDE's questions were answered.
Klimovitz characterized her requests for information as "minor."
For example, Scozzafava asked for clarification of whether the county has taken into consideration the role of Harford's three municipalities in the new recycling proposal.
"We've already done that; it's in there," said Klimovitz. "We just need to clarify that."
Scozzafava also asked about the cost of transporting and processing recyclables.
Klimovitz said that when the recycling plan was submitted to the MDE, the county had not yet awarded a $285,000 processing contract to BFI, but that that information would be forwarded.
He said bids are being taken to determine the cost of transporting the recyclables to BFI's plant.