Commissioners may allow use of recycling bins once a week

March 23, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

The Carroll County Commissioners are considering returning for one day a week the recycling bins they had county workers remove from local municipalities March 12.

Eugene Curfman, the county comptroller, suggested to the commissioners yesterday that the county could place containers at various sites in the county one day each week and have the operation supervised to prevent people from throwing nonrecyclable trash in the bins.

"We have to do the legwork to see if any of this is feasible," Mr. Curfman said. "We would like to set it up so that [the bins] would be there weekly, remain a day and then be removed."

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he was not opposed to the idea.

"If we can arrive at a satisfactory compromise, and if we find that there is a need, I will not disagree with the redistribution of the bins," he said.

The commissioners ordered the bins removed from all the municipalities except Sykesville because recyclables were contaminated with trash.

Phoenix Recycling of Finksburg, which has the county's recycling contract, refused to accept bins that were contaminated by nonrecyclable trash.

The company returned the contaminated bins, and charged the county for hauling them to the county landfill, Mr. Lippy said.

The contractor could reject any loads that contained more than 10 percent nonrecyclable material. Loads were as much as 40 percent contaminated, Mr. Lippy said.

The recycling bin program "is in a state of flux. It was getting to be a real sorry problem," Mr. Lippy said.

Outcry from municipal officials and residents about the removal of the bins caused county officials to consider changing the way they were dealing with the trash problem.

"We got a good deal of calls and letters from the citizenry, that we were damaging the recycling effort [by removing the bins]," Mr. Lippy said. "And the mayors were a little upset at us, especially those in New Windsor [Jack A. Gullo Jr.] and Westminster [W. Benjamin Brown].

"But of course, we always pay some attention to the mayors," Mr. Lippy said.

Mr. Lippy said Mr. Curfman's proposal has merit, but the supervision aspect of it must be examined.

"It's really apparent, with the gloomy track record of the recycling bins, that I would suggest some type of monitoring," Mr. Lippy said. "It was mentioned something about the county providing the people to do that, but I don't see that as right.

"After all, it is the municipalities that are upset that the bins were taken away from the towns," the commissioner said. "With the outstanding contributions of volunteers in this fine county, I think that they [the towns] could find volunteers to supervise [the weekly operation]."

Local officials decried the commissioners' decision to remove the bins, which they say was made without their input.

The issue was to have been discussed at a meeting the commissioners had with the mayors earlier this month, but that meeting was canceled because of bad weather.

The mayors now are scheduled to discuss the bin removal with the commissioners at a meeting April 5.

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