For recycling to work, it must be mandatoryEditor's note...

READERS WRITE

August 23, 1992

For recycling to work, it must be mandatory

Editor's note: The county commissioners have ordered private trash haulers to pick up recyclable material from residential customers starting July 1. With the exception of some towns, residents are encouraged but not required to sort out recyclables. The immediate aim is to begin complying with state law, which requires counties to recycle a percentage of their solid waste. The commissioners also want to reduce the amount of trash going to county landfills. We have asked readers if they think recycling is a good idea, if they recycle, if recycling should be mandatory and if the commissioners should contract for countywide trash pickup. Here is one of the responses:

From: Mr. and Mrs. Gary Bauer

Hampstead

On the issue of recycling, we support it, and our family has been doing it for several years.

However, we are in disagreement with the method by which recycling was initiated. Mandates from the federal or state levels of government that do not provide funding to implement are an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.

Recycling should have been emphasized as a matter of civic pride and concern for our children's future. Be that as it may, with recycling the law of the land, it is now the responsibility of the county to see that every citizen recycles.

The only way to accomplish this is to make recycling mandatory. The reason being, the 15 percent requirement is only the beginning; the EPA is proposing a 25 percent requirement.

The county needs to take control of trash collection on a countywide basis by establishing routes via a bidding system. The requirements of recycling and the operation of the landfill are the commissioners' responsibility.

At this moment, No. 1 and No. 2 are the only acceptable plastics. The county needs to expand to include all plastics. Studies in New Jersey have shown the items we in Carroll recycle make up only 3 percent of the waste stream.

As of July 1, 1993, yard waste will no longer be accepted at the landfill. The county needs to have its mulching system operational before the deadline.

The study has discovered one of the biggest contributors to landfills is construction rubble, 30 percent. The county needs to find a way to recover much of this material. We have seen used concrete pulverized and mixed with new concrete or asphalt for road surfacing.

Lumber that is not pressure-treated could be passed through the mulching operation. Another product that showed promise in the '70s was glassphalt.

For recycling to work, the county needs to specify these and other products in their contracts. We, the citizens, need to make an effort to purchase products made of recycled materials.

It is true in both of the examples given that the cost will be higher, but no one said recycling was going to be cheap.

Lawyers should be accessible to disabled

From: Marilynn J. Phillips

Hampstead

The following is submitted for your consideration:

"I'd like a cheeseburger, fries and a strawberry shake. Oh, yes, and a large bag of torts, please."

It appears that at least one Carroll County attorney (who shall be nameless) has interpreted compliance with the recent Americans with Disabilities Act as, you guessed it, curbside service.

Or so his assistant explained to me when I asked if the law firm was wheelchair-accessible.

It gets even funnier -- that is, if your funny bone is tickled when you hear that at least 80 percent of Westminster, Manchester and Hampstead law firms are not wheelchair-accessible. A real rib-tickler.

My inquiry into the accessibility of law firms began when the law firm we had used dissolved. It was time to find a new law firm, and this time, one that not only had access to the building but also to the restroom facilities.

Using a bathroom should not have to be a political act.

I ended up telephoning 35 law firms in Westminster, Manchester and Hampstead. Of these, 28 had no access to the firm; four had access to the building but no accessible restrooms; and only three had both access to the firm and accessible restrooms.

Well, perhaps it's not all that bad. After all, of the 28 who have no access whatsoever, four indicated they have contracted for access ramps -- yet seemed puzzled that wheelchair users might also need to use the bathroom.

Oh, sure, there are the usual justifications:

"Ours is an historic site" (but you do have indoor plumbing?)

"Old building, you see" (or old attitude?)

"We just rent" (ADA holds both lessee and landlord responsible)

"We carry them in" or "We make house calls" (Ugh!)

Is everyone missing the point?

It's bad enough that clients with disabilities are denied access. What about prospective employees with disabilities?

And what about the very real possibility that current employees (secretaries, paralegals, partners) may become disabled? Will they have to "retire" or look for a new job?

Good luck! The president's Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities notes that 70 percent of disabled persons are unemployed.

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