Recycling center may get reprieve Popularity of unit, bins may postpone planned phase out

November 02, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The lives of the Carroll County Recycling Center and the recycling bins used elsewhere may be extended by the county commissioners through June 30, 1993.

The center, on Route 97 near Carroll County Regional Airport, and the 17 recycling bins were slated to be phased out by the end of this year because the county's voluntary curbside recycling program is due to begin.

However, Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman told the commissioners last week that the volume of recyclables dropped off at the center and at the red bins throughout the county had dropped less than expected since July, when the voluntary curbside recycling program began.

The volume of recyclables collected from bins dropped from 148 tons in July to 112 tons in September. The volume of recyclables collected from at the center dropped from 143.5 tons in July to 108 tons in September.

"There's still a lot of activity," Mr. Curfman said.

County officials believe the bins and the recycling center are being used by rural residents and by people who do not hire trash haulers.

By maintaining both services for several months, Mr. Curfman said, the county could get a better handle on who is using them. He said they may poll people at the center.

"It's hard to believe people who have haulers would use the bins," said Commissioner President Donald I. Dell. "It's hard to believe people don't have haulers."

Mr. Curfman said haulers have complained that some customers prefer to drop off materials at the bins or the center instead of facing the scrutiny of trash haulers who will not pick up unacceptable recyclables, such as certain plastics.

Facing a state mandate that the county must recycle 15 percent of its waste by 1994, the commissioners implemented a voluntary recycling program July 1. Most haulers provide curbside pickup for customers. About 14 percent of the county's trash was being recycled in September.

It would cost the county $57,000 to keep the recycling center open the first six months of 1993, Mr. Curfman said. The money is available in the Enterprise Fund.

Timothy J. Atkinson, executive director of the Carroll County Association for Retarded Citizens, welcomed the possibility of extended use of the center.

"I'm very glad to hear that," he said. "It's important to what we're doing here. Our people have really grown personally and have demonstrated their ability to work there."

The association has operated the recycling center since 1984. It employs five developmentally disabled workers and three others there.

Keeping the center open, however, hinges on whether the Industrial Development Authority, which owns the site, has a prospective buyer.

"We should have a better picture on that next week," Mr. Curfman said.

He said the association has asked the county to notify the organization of its intentions 30 to 90 days before closing.

Earlier, a representative from Browning-Ferris Industries presented an alternative plan for trash disposal to the Carroll County's Environmental Affairs Advisory Board.

Under a long-term contract with the company, the county could have all of its waste stream -- recyclables, solid waste and composting materials -- transferred to appropriate facilities in the region, said John L. Lininger, the company's marketing director.

The county is updating its 10-year solid waste management plan, which is expected to recommend a waste-to-energy plant as an option. Other options are being reviewed.

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