Recycling schedule changes stir outcry

About 50,000 homes weren't informed of pickup day switch

`I'm just kind of baffled'

Homeowners to put items for collection in front, trash in back

January 31, 2002|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

On Monday, the city Department of Public Works launched a recycling program that changed pickup dates in the name of efficiency.

Trouble was, about 50,000 households did not receive the new schedule in the mail. So, for the next three days, DPW will revert to its previous recycling schedule.

Residents whose former recycling days were Thursday, Friday or Saturday will get their items picked up at those times this week. Those whose homes were missed can call the Department of Public Works at 396-5916 to request a pick-up.

"We'll make this adjustment for them, but we're asking them to help us, too, by complying with the schedule when they get it," said Joseph A. Kolodziejski, DPW's solid-waste chief.

The calendar chaos adds to the complaints about the new recycling program that are burning up city council members' phone lines.

"A lot of them have told me that the city is making it harder for them [to recycle] rather than easier," said Councilman Nicholas D'Adamo, a Southeast Baltimore Democrat.

The new program is designed to streamline recycling and give workers more time to target illegal dumping and alley cleaning. Under the new system, glass and metal will be picked up on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Paper will be collected on a different day.

DPW is asking residents to put their recycling material in front of their homes so that it can be retrieved easily. For the past several years, about 65 percent of residents have placed their items in alleys behind their homes.

"I am not going to take my recycling out front. If it doesn't get picked up, it'll be ugly," said Rebecca Ebaugh, a Northeast Baltimore resident.

Adding to the confusion, Ebaugh said, is that trash will continue to be picked up in the back.

"I'm just kind of baffled about the logic that went into this," Ebaugh said. "I'm not even senile, and I am not going to remember all this."

DPW officials say that any time recycling or garbage schedules change, people need a period of adjustment to get into the new routine. Kolodziejski, the solid-waste chief, indicated that he might ask residents in the future to put their trash out front. But for now, he said, he is focusing on the recycling.

"I wasn't trying to confuse anybody. I thought it was pretty simple, " Kolodziejski said.

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