Council OKs waste plan in Baltimore Co.

September 22, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

After defeating an attempt to ban any new incinerator from Baltimore County, the County Council voted 6-1 yesterday to approve a new 10-year plan for solid-waste disposal.

The plan was amended before passage to boost recycling in the county. It now sets a goal of 50 percent recycling of waste by 1997, up from the current state-mandated goal of 20 percent recycling by 1994.

In addition, the amendments call for greater citizen involvement in planning for trash disposal and more efforts to find ways of using recycled trash to make new products.

The amendments, introduced by Councilman Melvin G. Mintz, DTC D-2nd, call for an evaluation of whether a new recycling plant could be situated in Texas in place of the current plant there, which shreds trash after removing metals for scrap.

Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, D-5th, who proposed the amendment to ban new incinerators, cast the lone vote against the solid-waste plan. His amendment died for lack of a second.

Responding to Mr. Mintz's concern about future incinerators, other council members noted that the county has no plans to build an incinerator and that they merely want that option left open as a last resort.

"Even if we recycle 70 percent of the trash, if the landfill is full, we have to do something with the rest," said Chairman William A. Howard IV, R-6th.

The plan fulfills a state mandate requiring plans for solid-waste disposal to be filed at least once every 10 years. The last Baltimore County plan was filed in 1985.

The new update is the result of a directive the state Department of the Environment issued in June 1991. It requires every subdivision to submit a revised plan for meeting the terms of the Maryland Recycling Act of 1988, which requires jurisdictions with more than 150,000 people to reduce waste by 20 percent by 1994.

Several council members, notably Mr. Howard and Mr. Mintz, have been pushing for more public scrutiny of the plan's periodic revisions and a more aggressive effort to recycle waste.

Local recycling advocates and Mr. Mintz want the county to expand curbside pickup of glass, plastic and metal containers quickly. But officials say more markets for those items have to be found.

The two council members want to increase the county's goal for curbside recycling from the July 1 goal, 55,000 households, to 85,000 by January 1993. The July 1 goal has not been met; 50,000 county homes are involved in recycling now.

The county limits most curbside recycling collections to mixed paper and lawn waste, which are the heaviest, bulkiest items and the ones most easily disposed of.

Problems that could prompt consideration of the incineration option could arise if Baltimore is forced to shut down the privately operated Pulaski Highway incinerator.

That plant burns 115,200 tons of county trash each year, more than 25 percent of the county's total of 436,464 tons. If the county had to dispose of that waste itself, its lone landfill off Pulaski Highway would be filled by 2005, county officials said.

To guard against running out of dump space, the plan gives the county the option of seeking proposals for a new incinerator or a waste-to-energy plant within a year.

Rosedale-area residents are already up in arms over plans by a private company to build a plant that would heat and recycle soil contaminated with gasoline.

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