Baltimore County Now
Baltimore County Recycling & Waste Prevention Manager
As I joined County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Council Chair Tom Quirk today in Catonsville to announce that County residents have recycled a record-breaking 52,500 tons of curbside recyclables, I couldn’t help but think back a couple of decades when recycling first got its start here – and realize how much easier it is now!
Oh, how far we have come! On June 23, 1990, at the Giant Food parking lot at the corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue, a surprisingly large contingent of Baltimore County residents arrived in 600 vehicles during a three-hour period. These residents brought with them recyclable paper and bottles and cans to the County’s first volunteer-operated, County-assisted, recycling drop-off center (“Towson-Parkville”). Residents waited patiently in long lines, sometimes for a half hour or more, to hand-deliver their recyclables. Over several years, nine different volunteer organizations ran recycling drop-off centers all around the County. Back in the day, at each center there were seven different drop-off receptacles (one each for mixed paper, tin cans, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and jugs, and three colors of glass), each watched over like a hawk by a volunteer to ensure against cross-contamination. Recycling progress was measured pound by pound.
Fast-forward to today. No more long lines, just the distance from your home to the closest curb or alley. No more having to separate recyclables into seven different receptacles (one will do just fine with the County’s “single stream” collection program). And progress is no longer measured in pounds, but in tens of thousands of tons. On March 7, 2013, the County Executive announced an all-time, annual County record for recycling – more than 52,300 tons in 2012! Are you and your community recycling all you can? Find out at bcrecycles.com.
Before the end of 2013, the County expects to open its own single stream recycling sorting facility, which will usher in yet another exciting chapter in the County’s environmental leadership.
Here’s to Baltimore County’s rich recycling history, proud present, and especially its promising future.