County expands recycling efforts

Program to accept more plastics, papers and metals as part of goal to reclaim 50 percent of waste

November 16, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,

Anne Arundel County is expanding its recycling program to include several more plastics, papers and metals, as part of a larger effort to encourage residents to recycle half of what they dispose.

Among the items now eligible for curbside recycling service are: plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic plates and plastic utensils, paper milk and juice cartons, and aluminum foil and pans.

"There's no additional cost," said Richard Bowen, the solid waste recycling manager for Anne Arundel's Department of Public Works. "It's a win-win situation all around. These items that are now recyclable will come out of the trash stream. So that cuts down on our cost for trash and will increase our revenue for recyclables, so it's a revenue generator as well as a cost-saver."

About 150,000 homes in the county participate in the recycling program, or about 75 percent of residential properties, according to Bowen. The county's recycling program began in the early 1990s.

In March, County Executive John R. Leopold urged residents to recycle 50 percent of everything thrown away, called a 50/50 challenge, resulting in a 3 percent increase in recycling.

The expanded program allows residents to recycle almost any plastic item except vinyl siding, PVC pipe, paint containers and bottles containing hazardous materials.

For more information and a list of all accepted recycling items, go to or call 410-222-7951.

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