Carroll County will soon be part of a different kind of recycling tTC program, run by the Loading Dock.
The Loading Dock is a non-profit organization that collects building supplies for re-use in low-income housing. According to Hope Cucina, executive director of the Baltimore-based organization, Carroll expects to join Howard, Prince George's, Baltimore and Montgomery counties in the program in July.
Most of the building supplies the group receives are from local retailers, manufacturers and distributors, but it also gets some materials from landfills.
Carroll will be involved in a landfill project. Trucks supplied and manned by the Loading Dock will be set up at the Northern Landfill, just outside Westminster, to collect usable building materials being discarded by contractors or by homeowners doing residential refurbishing.
"We're trying to duplicate something which has been very successful in Howard County," Cucina said. "A homeowner may simply be changing the color of the sink, so the old sink could be used in a house that has never had a bathroom."
One project of which the Loading Dock has been a part is "Christmas in April." This nationwide effort, on the third Saturday of each April, had an especially strong first year in Howard County.
According to Cucina, profit-making companies donate time and materials to renovate homes. In one day, she said, 25 to 75 houses can be renovated.
Dwight Copenhaver, Carroll's recycling manager, heard about the Loading Dock through a meeting at which Cucina spoke. To date, the legal terms of the Carroll project have been agreed upon, and Copenhaver hopes to have it in operation by July.
"We're interested in keeping as much [discarded building material] out of the landfill as possible," he said.
The success of the program in Carroll depends on the cooperation of the residents, he said. And Copenhaver wants to encourage builders to use the project: "It will give contractors a break because they won't have to pay to dump supplies in the landfill," he said. "It's a win-win situation."
Copenhaver plans to publicize the Loading Dock project through the county permits office because anyone who plans to build in the county must first obtain a permit.
Cucina said the materials collected in Carroll will be used for non-profit building throughout Maryland. To date, she said, only a few groups in Carroll use the services of the Loading Dock. She said she hopes that, with the country's new involvement, more non-profit groups will purchase supplies from the organization.
The Loading Dock, whose non-profit customers include Jimmy Carter's group, Habitat for Humanity, has been in operation for eight years and has been self-supporting for the past two, Cucina said. Like Copenhaver, she calls the project a "win-win" situation.
"We sell to non-profit organizations who aim to building low-income housing," she said. "We charge them a small handling fee, but it's nothing compared to what they would pay normally."
Annually, she said, the Loading Dock saves its 1,300 community customers an estimated $1 million on windows, doors, kitchen cabinets and any usable building materials that meet housing codes.
For example, Cucina said, the Loading Dock receives mildly scratched or dented, top-of-the-line Peach Tree solid-core doors from Ryland Homes. The doors are distributed through the Loading Dock for $40 apiece.