Recycling calendar mailed to homes

Public Works' effort aims to keep city residents up-to-date on pickup days

January 02, 2004|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Baltimore residents will be able to keep track of their pickup schedule for recyclables as well as holidays and major city events, such as the Flower Mart and Artscape, thanks to a 2004 calendar produced by the Department of Public Works.

The calendar, which is being mailed to 177,000 city households this week and next, contains the schedules for the citywide collection of bottles, cans and jars and the neighborhood pickups of paper goods along with tips and information on bulk trash pickups, rodent control and other public works programs.

Households that do not receive a 2004 calendar by the end of the month are asked to call 311 and request one.

The calendar replaces the one-page recycling flier that officials said was often discarded or left residents confused about when to put out materials to be recycled.

"With it being easier to read, we hope to encourage more people to recycle," said public works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher.

The city collected more than 12,000 tons of recyclables last year, Kocher said.

The calendars, including an additional 50,000 held in reserve and not sent immediately, cost about $100,000 to make and mail, he said. That breaks down to slightly more than "the cost of a first-class letter" per calendar, Kocher said.

It's also about twice the cost of last year's fliers but, Kocher pointed out, the department would recoup most if not all of the added expense by not having to print and distribute separate brochures for each program that has information included at the back of the calendar.

The recycling schedule is particularly important in the city because of the way recyclables are picked up.

So-called "blue bag" recyclables - bottles, cans and jars placed in plastic grocery bags - are picked up the second and fourth Mondays of each month. But the twice-monthly pickup of paper products varies depending on which of five recycling zones a residence is located in.

The 2004 calendar includes a bold B on the second and fourth Mondays of each month to signify the "blue bag" collection days, and symbols of paper bags with the numbers one through five to identify collection days for paper goods in the various zones. A map in the front of the calendar shows the delineation of the five zones.

It also includes black-and-white photographs of public works employees, ranging from a camera-toting sanitation enforcement officer to laboratory workers monitoring effluents from wastewater treatment plants.

"We want to give people an idea of what we do here," Kocher said.

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