Curbside recycling and one-day-a-week trash pickup considered for Sykesville

June 20, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Sykesville may adopt a recycling plan that would be more convenient for residents and more time-consuming for maintenance workers.

Residents now drop off about 20 percent of their trash at the town recycling center.

Under the proposed plan, they could place those recyclables at their curbs for pickup twice a month.

Sykesville town crews would sort the items immediately and place them in appropriate containers on their truck.

To give crews the time to devote to recycling, the plan calls for decreasing regular trash pickup from two days a week to one.

Randy Hughes, sanitation supervisor, said the current recycling percentage is well above the county average and the "highest" it has ever been in town.

"We have never had any problem getting people to recycle," Mr. Hughes said.

The town Recycling Committee wants to drive the percentage higher, while reducing the amount of trash sent to the county landfill, where each town pays a $45-per-ton tipping fee.

"The tipping fees are not going down and they are the main reason for our tax increases," said Council woman Julie Kaus, liaison to the Recycling Committee.

While 20 percent is good, it can be improved. I can see items which can be recycled in neighborhood trash."

Ms. Kaus said her family of four recycles about 75 percent of its trash.

"It is not always convenient to keep items stashed away until they can be picked up," she said. "It takes effort, from buying items in recyclable containers to purchasing recycled goods."

Two trucks now haul trash from 1,000 Sykesville homes every Tuesday and Friday.

"That is fairly typical pickup for a town this size," said Eugene Johnson Jr., maintenance supervisor.

The committee proposed eliminating Friday from the regular trash pickup schedule to allow crews time for curbside recycling.

Kaus said, "We didn't want to reduce the days, but this is the only way crews can handle recycling, too."

Crews would divide the town into two areas for curbside pickup.

Twice a month, on alternate Wednesdays, town residents could place glass, newspapers, tin, aluminum and cardboard at the curb.

Crews also would accept yard waste but are asking homeowners to limit it to two plastic bags per pickup.

Yard waste would go to Northern Landfill for composting.

Other recyclables will be sorted along trash routes and placed in a 1-ton truck with a trailer, equipped with three grinders.

"We can separate the different color glass and grind it right on the spot," Mr. Hughes said.

Crews will also sort the other recyclables and place them in heavy-duty cardboard boxes on the truck.

The town will ask residents to provide containers for the recyclables.

Mr. Hughes estimates the bins would cost about $8 each.

When Hoods Mill Landfill, where Sykesville now hauls its trash, closes June 30, crews will have to use Northern Landfill, adding about 15 miles to each round trip.

With one trash day a week, Tuesdays could become especially long.

"We will double our mileage and probably have longer waits at Northern Landfill, where everybody in the county goes," Mr. Johnson said.

"You are talking about a much longer day and double the trash and maybe double the trips," he said.

Mr. Johnson also is worried about the added strain on equipment -- especially the 1987 trash truck. The town purchased another truck last year.

Six employees work in the town's Public Works Department and money is budgeted to hire one more.

"The new employee will probably do a little bit of everything, but mostly recycling," Mr. Hughes said.

Ms. Kaus said the committee hopes to receive opinions from residents at a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 11 in the Town House, 7547 Main St.

people don't recycle, eventually it will hurt them in the pocketbook," she said.

"The more they throw out, the more they will pay later," she added.

If the proposal is passed, the committee would monitor the program continually and review it completely after six months.

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