Yard waste to be sent to compost facilities County sees move as final step in meeting recycling goal GLEN BURNIE

September 16, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County will begin diverting leaves, grass clippings and other yard wastes Sept. 23 from the Millersville Landfill to composting facilities in Prince George's and Harford counties, officials announced yesterday.

County officials are hoping that composting the yard wastes, which comprise about 18 percent of the trash generated by county residents and businesses, is the final step in reaching the state-mandated goal of recycling one-fifth of its trash by January.

The composting program will cost about $2.7 million annually.

Designated haulers will pick up specially marked bags once a week from the curbside along with other recyclables, said Lisa Ritter, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works.

The curbside program, which will be phased in, is to reach 117,541 households by Nov. 16. The first phase begins next week in Crofton, Crownsville, Cape St. Claire and the rest of South County.

Odenton, Glen Burnie and several Pasadena communities will be added to the program on Oct. 16. Pickups will begin in Brooklyn Park, Linthicum and the remaining communities that receive county trash service in November.

Yard waste pickups will be scheduled the same day as other recyclables.

Haulers and county employees will begin distributing a brochure today explaining the curbside program as well as ways residents can compost yard wastes in their backyards. Residents also will be given decals to distinguish bags of yard waste from other trash.

Haulers will pick up as many as 25 bags of yard waste from each home each week between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, but only four bags each week the rest of the year.

The county, which launched its residential recycling program in 1988, already recycles about 15 percent of the trash generated by residents and businesses. Ms. Ritter said county officials hope to reach the 20 percent mandate by composting yard wastes and recruiting businesses to recycle.

"This [composting] in combination with the businesses we've been working with will put us over the top," Ms. Ritter said.

Residents with county trash service will continue receiving twice-a-week garbage pickup and once-a-week recycling pickup.

In July, the county raised its annual residential trash fee to pay for the composting program as well as the cleanup and monitoring of county landfills.

The charge, which appears on property tax bills, increased from $90 to $130.

Ms. Ritter said the county signed agreements with Prince George's and Harford counties because they already had facilities.

Prince George's Western Branch Composting Facility is near Upper Marlboro.

"We see yard waste composting as critical to meeting the goal by January," Ms. Ritter said. "Consequently we needed an immediate operating facility."

Like the recycling program, the decision to separate yard wastes from other trash is left to residents, said Richard Waesche with the county Department of Public Works.

"We don't plan to have the recycling police out any time soon," Mr. Waesche said.

The county stopped accepting and mulching yard waste at the Millersville Landfill last Sunday.

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