Town residents carry bulk of recycling load

June 02, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Residents of Carroll towns are recycling nearly triple the percentage of newspapers, cans, bottles and plastic than that of their rural counterparts, county officials said yesterday.

During the first four months of 1993, town residents recycled 24 percent of their trash; other Carroll residents recycled 9 percent, said County Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman.

"The towns certainly are helping the county recycling rate. If their percentages weren't where they are, we would be hurting," Mr. Curfman said. "We never doubted that, but the towns are only ppTC small portion of the whole picture."

He warned that unless recycling efforts increase, mandatory recycling may become necessary.

He said county officials will pay close attention to the May and June recycling rates. Those rates, however, are expected to rise because yard waste is no longer being dumped in county landfills, he said.

"I will make a recommendation that recycling be mandatory if we don't reach 15 percent," Mr. Curfman said.

The 15 percent refers to the state mandated goal for recycling by 1994.

Town mayors pressed the commissioners to release the figures comparing town and county recycling rates. The mayors contend that the commissioners are interested only in reaching the 15 percent recycling goal and are relying on town efforts to do so.

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, who has been among the most vocal of the county's mayors, declined to comment yesterday because he had not seen the figures.

Mr. Curfman said the comparisons were to be released to town officials yesterday.

Mayor Brown said recycling will be discussed along with solid waste and other issues at the county commissioners' annual meeting Tuesday.

Hampstead Mayor Clint Becker said he was glad to hear that the county had finally released the figures and that the towns'

recycling rates were so high.

"The towns are paying a lot to get the recycling percentages where they are," he said.

Recycling rates within the county's eight towns ranged from 16 percent in Manchester and Sykesville to 33 percent in Mount Airy during the first four months of 1993.

Six of Carroll's eight towns have banded together to offer voluntary curbside recycling.

Sykesville has no curbside program. Mount Airy has mandatory curbside recycling.

The county began voluntary curbside recycling for residents outside town limits last summer.

Carroll must recycle 15 percent of its trash by Jan. 1, 1994, to meet the state goal.

All but six Maryland counties are at or near their state-imposed recycling goals.

Carroll is among those considered to be within reach, state officials have said.

During the first four months of 1993, Carroll recycled 15.5 percent of its trash, Mr. Curfman said. In April -- the most recent month in which figures are available -- the recycling rate was 13.7 percent.

County officials are reviewing whether to continue "free days" in the spring and fall when residents may drop off "white goods," such as refrigerators and stoves, at landfills without paying tipping fees.

Mr. Curfman said that during the free days in April, county workers observed people returning with appliances several times. He said county officials believe those people may have been dumping white goods for appliance stores to avoid tipping fees.

The recycling program is open only to county residents, not businesses, he said.

"We'll be making a decision whether to continue free days sometime before fall," Mr. Curfman said.

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