Full enforcement of 4-can refuse limit leaves some curbsides cluttered

September 17, 1996|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,SUN STAFF

As the final phase of the county's restrictive new trash policy took effect yesterday, Howard County residents who broke the trash limit -- more than four cans of trash a week -- ended up with cluttered curbs.

On July 1, county officials cut in half the number of trash cans allowed in weekly pickups -- from eight to four -- but enforcement has come gradually.

At first, county trash haulers continued picking up as many as eight cans. But on Aug. 19, when they found more than five cans, they began leaving one of the cans with an information tag.

In the last four weeks, the county handed out 1,000 of those tags, county officials say, suggesting that several hundred residents have failed to comply with the bag limit at least once.

Yesterday, the county began full enforcement, leaving behind any refuse exceeding the four-can limit -- a change county officials hope will persuade residents to recycle more and throw away less.

John O'Hara, chief of the county's Waste Management Bureau, said enforcing the limit should produce few hardships since most homes produce only about three bags of waste a week.

The new policy allows four cans -- or bags -- weighing up to 40 pounds each, for a maximum of 160 pounds of waste each week. There is no limit on the amount of recyclable waste to be collected. County Executive Charles I. Ecker has made the new policy, including the four-can limit and a $125 annual fee for residential trash collection, a top priority. He hopes to cut the can limit to two cans or one can in years to come.

About 60,000 county residents, including those living in single-family homes, townhouses and some condominiums, have county trash collection. But the four-can limit does not apply in communities where residents put their trash in common areas for collections. Those in apartments or condominiums using private trash haulers are not affected by the new rules.

Pub Date: 9/17/96

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