BFI wants to expand, upgrade regional recycling center Plant operating around the clock to sort trash

November 01, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The owner of a regional recycling center in Elkridge is proposing to nearly double the size of the facility and modernize it.

The 4-year-old plant is operating around the clock sorting cans, glass, plastics and paper from Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford counties, said John L. Lininger, a marketing vice president for Browning-Ferris Industries.

"We were maxed out very early in the game," Mr. Lininger said yesterday.

The Houston-based company is seeking approval from Howard County officials to expand the recycling plant from about 40,000 square feet to about 70,000 square feet to serve its own operation and commercial customers.

"We anticipate additional tonnages. And we would like to more efficiently handle the tons that we currently have," said Linda Birtel, manager of the plant off Cemetery Road in Howard County. "Part of the expansion would include newer technology."

Howard County officials probably will make a decision in the next month, Cindy Hamilton, a county planner, said.

Statewide, one of every four tons of household and office trash goes to a recycling center, rather than a landfill.

Twelve percent of BFI's revenues come from recycling operations, William D. Ruckelshaus, the company's chairman of the board, said yesterday. He was in Annapolis for the dedication of BFI's relocated Washington and Baltimore offices.

In conjunction with the expansion, BFI hopes to build a 34,000-square-foot transfer station on the 17.3-acre site and use another 6 acres it is buying for parking, truck turnarounds and the like. The company also will need to make nearby road improvements.

Unlike the recycling center addition, the transfer station requires a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The state agency has not issued one yet.

The proposal for the transfer station, which emerged about 1 1/2 years ago, comes as counties are looking for alternatives to building new landfills and incinerators, which are both unpopular and costly.

MA The proposed transfer station could process between 1,800 and

2,000 tons of trash a day, company officials estimate. Howard County will need to move up to 900 tons of waste a day, and Anne Arundel County needs to move nearly that much.

In June, Garnet Inc. proposed using 32 acres near the Maryland Reformatory for Women in Anne Arundel County for a transfer station to accommodate up to 5,000 tons of waste a day. The company would like to channel trash collected in Anne Arundel and elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic region to its rural Virginia landfill about 70 miles south of Washington.

Opposition to the BFI proposal is expected.

"The idea of having a large trash facility in the neighborhood is not real appealing," said Ray Miller, president of the Elkridge Community Association.

The organization did not take a formal vote, but "there is opposition," Mr. Miller said. "It seems BFI is growing so quickly. . . . Any time you hear about the plans it seems to be a larger operation."

In the late 1980s, BFI had told Howard County officials that it was interested in building a waste transfer facility, but it settled on a recycling plant after encountering opposition.

Howard County residents are concerned that zoning changes approved about two years ago allow such private waste facilities on land zoned for manufacturing.

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