Baltimore County plans full recycling by 1995 Hayden's plan cuts one pickup day

March 24, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Baltimore County finally will have full curbside recycling -- bu not until 1995, and it's going to cost residents one day of regular trash pickup each week.

In announcing plans for recycling that will bring Baltimore County in line with the rest of the metropolitan area, County Executive Roger B. Hayden said the program will be implemented gradually and reach all of the jurisdiction's 200,000 homes by 1995.

County residents also will face some inconvenience, since the program will require them to sort their own trash by setting out mixed containers one week, paper another week and yard waste in yet another designated week.

Mr. Hayden said eliminating one of the current two weekly trash collection days will pay for the recycling program, and perhaps save the county some money.

Mr. Hayden made the announcement during an off-the-cuff speech yesterday at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Cockeysville.

The changeover will begin in the next several months with 93,000 county homes now involved in pilot, partial recycling programs, according to Mr. Hayden. The county's 70,000 apartment dwellers will be phased into recycling after July 1, 1995.

The county's previous goal was limited recycling for 155,000 homes by Jan. 1, 1994.

Advocates for recycling have been pressing Mr. Hayden to start a countywide program since he took office in December 1990. During the last two years, several recycling pilot programs have been developed.

Carol Bernstein, a recycling volunteer in Hereford, hailed Mr. Hayden's unexpected announcement, calling it "fantastic."

She said many people likely will have a hard time getting used to once-a-week trash collection. "People have to be educated," she said.

Baltimore County is far behind the city, which achieved citywide curbside recycling last March. City residents get two days of trash collection, plus a separate recycling collection on one of those trash collection days, said Kenneth Strong, the city recycling coordinator. The city uses its regular trash trucks to collect containers one week, and paper another.

In Howard County, recyclable paper and containers are collected once a week by trucks outfitted with separate bins. Yard waste is picked up once a week on what formerly had been a trash-collection day.

In Anne Arundel County, residents put out all their recyclables in a single bin on one of the two trash collection days each week.

Private haulers employed by Harford County schedule at least ++ one day a week for pickup of recyclables in addition to trash collection once or twice each week.

In Carroll County, the towns of Westminster, Hampstead, Manchester, Union Bridge, Taneytown and Sykesville have voluntary collection of recyclables at the curb. Last year, the county directed private trash haulers to offer pickup of recyclable materials to their customers in nonincorporated areas.

In Baltimore County's plan, private collectors will use their single-bin trash trucks. Though this means county residents will have to hold their recyclables for up to three weeks, the process should keep county trash collection costs down.

Lisa Johnson, who is active in the Towson-Parkville recycling effort, was surprised and elated by yesterday's announcement, though she also said the decision was "long overdue."

Councilman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, who attended the luncheon, said he felt people could adapt to once-a-week collections.

"It will take a while to get used to," he said, adding that the odor of decaying food might create problems in the summer heat.

Council Chairman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-3rd, whose north county district is the most rural, reserved comment on Mr. Hayden's plan but said the county "needs to go forward with recycling."

A county study last summer showed people tend to set out more recyclables when their regular trash collections are cut to once a week, compared with programs in which recyclables are collected in addition to twice-a-week trash collections.

As late as December, when the county had 84,000 homes on limited recycling programs, Mr. Hayden preached caution and delay, despite pressure from weary county volunteers who staff 11 volunteer recycling centers on weekends.

Yesterday, he said the pilot programs have convinced him the system will work and save the county money by reducing collection days.

Mr. Hayden said the county will continue using the blue plastic bags available at supermarkets for recycling materials.

Containers are separated after they are taken to G&L Recyclers in Baltimore. Paper is trucked to Owl Corp. in Dundalk, a private recycling firm. Grass, leaves and yard waste are composted at the county's Eastern Sanitary Landfill on Allender Road in Chase.

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