Hidden Costs Of RecyclingI am writing in response to the...


May 09, 1993

Hidden Costs Of Recycling

I am writing in response to the article "Aberdeen recycling is a double saver" (April 11).

It stated that there has been a 36 percent decrease in Aberdeen's trash, and that the reason is greater recycling. I don't think that's a valid assumption.

First of all, while some people have discovered they can cut trash fees substantially by recycling, others have discovered they can cut bills to zero by dumping their trash surreptitiously. While only a few Aberdeen citizens would do such a thing, that's all it takes to make our vacant lots eyesores.

Additionally, when people discover on trash day that they don't have the correct sticker, or on grocery day that it is a choice between baby food and stickers (didn't the landlord used to pay for trash removal?), they probably set aside garbage until the next week (look for a story on Aberdeen's growing rat population). Thus March's total is way down, but April's may well bounce back.

Adding to the factor, for many people, the resolution to aggressively reduce garbage may well go the way of most other noble resolutions.

But every little bit is great for the environment, right? I wince as I see the trash truck stop for an extra minute or two at each house to check that the correct sticker for each bag's weight is correctly affixed. The recycling truck too has to slow down, so collectors can peer through the translucent blue bags to make sure people haven't cheated by throwing real trash in with their recycling. Are those trucks subject to emission controls? I see an awful lot of air pollution and wasted gas. I've even wasted some gas myself, running to the convenience store for stickers. (Perhaps this is a trick to bail out the state through greater gas tax receipts?) . . .

I can't believe that this program will save citizens any money in the long run when the costs are so high, not to mention extra

hours and pay for trash collectors, additional staff to administer the program, the cost of printing and distributing stickers (which, by the way, end up in the landfill, a small quantity, but extra trash nonetheless). Volunteers are great, but will they stick it out for the long haul?

Using a pro-rated charge based on water bills, as mentioned in your article by Edward Somody, and originally proposed by Councilman G. DeWayne Curry, is an elegant solution.

Small households pay less than large households. The people who have installed water-saving shower heads and who turn off the water while they brush their teeth are likely to be the same ones who aggressively recycle, and they are rewarded.

I'm glad trash for March was down and that recycling is up. . . . But please don't let one article early in the program be your last word on the subject. Come back in a month or two and look hard at the benefits relative to the costs, both direct and hidden.

Lauren Sheriff


'N.J. Transplant'

I am writing in regard to the "New Jersey transplant," Theresa Pierno.

I can't imagine how anyone who has met this remarkable lady in person could believe that she doesn't care about Harford County. I have met Mrs. Pierno, and have found her to be a caring and dynamic personality.

Mrs. Pierno has made her home in Maryland, has children attending schools here and obviously cared enough about Harford County to become an elected official.

From what I have observed, Council President Jeffrey Wilson, Mrs. Pierno and their fellow council members have certainly listened and do try to make the right decisions. I try to attend the County Council meetings whenever possible, because I want to be more aware of what is happening in Harford County, because this is my home now, and being a fellow transplant with Mrs. Pierno is an honor. . . .

Kathy Carmello


Fire Volunteers

The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company has begun its annual fund drive for 1993. This fund drive is separate from the ambulance fund drive which is held in the fall. Property owners receive in the mail a request for a donation based on the assessed value of the property that is protected by the fire


Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company provides fire and emergency medical services to more than 50,000 people in Bel Air and the surrounding communities. Last year, volunteers responded to 3,460 emergency calls and gave more than 40,000 hours of personal time to train and provide professional and competent emergency services. The fire company responded to emergencies involving property valued at more than $137 million, yet the estimated loss was held to less than $700,000.

The fire company depends on the community for its support. Since the fire department is volunteer, 100 percent of the donation is directed toward operations, maintenance and replacement of equipment, training and buildings. The fire company emphasizes that regardless of whether or not a donation is made, no one will be denied emergency services. Donations are tax-deductible and further assist the community by keeping taxes and insurance rates low.

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