The buzz word in government these days, embraced by liberals and conservatives alike, is "privatization" -- meaning that the government hires businesses to provide services it used to deliver. When voluntary curbside recycling begins in Harford County on Monday, residents will get a measure of how responsive privatization can be.
Harford is one of two Baltimore metropolitan jurisdictions where private haulers, not the government, collect residential trash. The county has required the sanitation firms to offer curbside recycling to its customers beginning next week because the county, like its neighbors, must recycle a fifth of its trash under a 1994 deadline set by the state.
Some private haulers have been stuck in the mud on this matter, however, possibly hoping that this new era in garbage disposal wouldn't come to pass. Harford Sanitation Services Inc., one of the county's larger haulers, has just begun informing its 20,000 customers, days before recycling is to begin. The company is so far behind that it just began distributing a copy of a letter County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann wrote three months ago to explain the program.