Hoping to shrink the amount of commercial waste filling county landfills, the county Department of Public Works is offering grants of up to $500 to start recycling projects.
Public works has earmarked $25,000 for commercial grants, available to businesses on a first-come,first-served basis, officials announced yesterday.
The department hopes to entice restaurants, hotels, private offices and apartment complexes to dispose of less. Trash from those sources makes up half the county's solid waste stream each year, said Shirley Hawk, county commercial recycling specialist.
The county generates 460,000 tons of waste each year. The half of that from business and industry includes large amounts of corrugated cardboard, high-grade office paper and scrap metal, said Amy Burdick, county recycling project manager.
The county already runs a curbside recycling program for 25,000 households. Businesses that recycle on their own kept 4,921 tons out of the landfill during the last half of 1991.
But the county needs more cooperation from businesses, Burdick said.
Thegrants, starting at $100, can be used only for planning and capital expenses. For example, grants can pay to research and develop projects, print informational posters and fliers and buy items such as plastic/cardboard desk containers for office paper, wheeled recycling bins, compost bins and home storage bins for apartment dwellers, Hawk said.
In choosing projects, officials will look at how well they helpthe county recycle 20 percent of its waste by July 1994 -- a requirement of the Maryland Recycling Act of 1988 -- and how well they promote office recycling and awareness of recycling among employees.
Public works also will consider businesses that lack money for recycling.
Businesses, which must provide a description of the proposed project, can apply to the Bureau of Solid Waste/Office of Recycling. Applicants will get a commercial recycling guide that gives definitions, lists container vendors, shows how to estimate quantities of recyclables and gives examples of office recycling policies and employee incentive programs.
Public works needs all applications by May 31. Approved projects must be finished by June 30.