In January, city's recycling moves to one bin, one day

Officials, activists say streamlined process could boost participation

December 14, 2007|By Sumathi Reddy | Sumathi Reddy,Sun reporter

Newspapers can mingle with metal, glossy magazines with plastic, mail with glass. And condominiums can finally recycle.

This sudden marriage of all things plastic and paper, metal and glass, begins Jan. 8 with the city's revamped and streamlined recycling program.

Yesterday, Mayor Sheila Dixon announced this weekend's kickoff of single-stream recycling with the sale of bright yellow recycling bins at four city locations tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and one on Sunday.

"Citizens no longer need to sort their recycling," said Dixon. "Everything -- papers, cans, plastic -- everything goes together. It all goes out the same day for collection.

"I know that in the past recycling was somewhat cumbersome," she added. "The process discouraged many from doing it. So this is a great opportunity to increase" recycling.

The 25-gallon bins will be sold for half-price this weekend only, costing $6 each. The 18-gallon bins will cost the regular $5. After this weekend, recycling bins can be bought at the city's Department of Public Works yard at 111 Kane St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

But residents need not furiously scramble to snag one of the 10,000 bins the city has ordered.

City public works crews will pick up recyclables in any marked container or recyclable box -- provided residents do not use plastic bags, which must be recycled at local grocery stores.

The news is being hailed by community groups across the city.

Steve Gondol of the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association said the new program will improve public participation.

"It will make recycling more convenient by eliminating the need to sort recyclables and reduces the unsightly trash bags that oftentimes line the city streets," he said.

"Single-stream recycling is yet one more tool residents can use to reduce the amount of household waste entering the landfill," he added.

City officials predict that the new system, in place in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties, could boost recycling by more than 16 percent, or 2,000 tons annually. The city collects about 12,000 tons of recyclable material a year.

Residents now place bottles, cans and some plastic outside on one designated day, and paper and cardboard on a different day.

Under the new system, residents will be able to throw away all recyclables on the same day -- the day now designated for paper, which varies depending on the neighborhood. The biweekly collection will be the second and fourth Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of each month. Downtown collection will remain every Tuesday and Friday night.

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said another benefit of the new system is that there will be no pick-up of recyclables on Mondays. Under the old system, that day of the week posed a problem for many residents as government holidays almost always fall on Mondays, causing a major disruption of collections.

Clarke said interest in the program and demand for the bins is so high in her district that the Charles Village Community Benefit District, a public-private agency, has bought 400 bins -- 200 of each size -- that it intends to sell at the Waverly Farmer's Market once the bins are delivered.

David Hill, the agency's director, said he hopes to start selling the bins -- at the discounted price -- Dec. 22.

Residents will also be able to buy them from the group's office at 2301 N. Charles St., he said.

"The places and timings of selling the bins were limited, so we wanted to do a service for our community," said Hill.

"There's a number of pluses hidden" behind the new system, added Hill. "The city, by picking up recyclables only once a week, frees up some teams to do other things. And quite frankly, it's long past time that the city really started getting serious about recycling. There are many other places in the country that have been doing this for a long time."

sumathi.reddy@baltsun.com

Baltimore city recycling bins

Tomorrow, residents can buy one of two types of containers at four locations, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Twenty-five-gallon bins will be sold for $6, half the regular price. Eighteen-gallon bins will be sold for $5, the regular price.

The locations are:

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane

Montebello Elementary School, 2040 E. 32nd St.

Patterson High School, 100 Kane St.

Edmondson-Westside Skill Center, 501 Athol Ave.

On Sunday, discounted bins will be available at Northwestern High School, 6900 Park Heights Ave.

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