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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: holidays
Image of boy holding a plastic jug and tin can

Tyler McCafferty
Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Recycling Division Intern

With 2014 just around the corner, it’s time to start brainstorming some New Year’s resolutions! This year, why not make a resolution that will not only benefit you, but also the world around you? We would like to encourage you and your loved ones to make a resolution to recycle more in the upcoming year. Up to 50 percent of the material the average household throws away is recyclable, but the county’s residential recycling rate for 2012 was only 14 percent.

Recycling benefits the environment in a multitude of ways. Recycling used materials allows us to preserve natural resources for the future. It also curtails pollution by reducing the demand to extract, transport, and process raw materials, saving valuable time and energy. Choosing to recycle materials rather than disposing of them relieves pressure on the County’s only active landfill, which is already half full. The more material residents recycle, the longer we will be able to delay the need for the construction of a new County landfill.

If you’re still not convinced, you may be interested to know that with the recent opening of the county’s new single stream Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Cockeysville, recycling has become even better for the county’s bottom line. Now that Baltimore County can sort its own recyclables internally, the county not only avoids a hefty disposal cost for this material, but is now able to earn revenue from the sale of these recyclables. Recycling also prompts the development of “green technology,” stimulating innovation and spurring the creation of more “green” jobs.

Given the ease of the single stream recycling system and the countless benefits of recycling, we hope that you will resolve to recycle more in 2014 and help boost Baltimore County’s residential recycling rate! From the Recycling Division of the Bureau of Solid Waste Management, we hope you have a happy, healthy and sustainable New Year!


Image of steak, salad and glass of wine.

Fronda Cohen
Baltimore County Office of Communications

Deck your kitchen cupboards with fresh, local Baltimore County ingredients. How many County-made foods can you include on your table? It’s a great way to try something new and support our local companies. Here are some serving suggestions.

Need something to recover after the holidays? Try Medifast!


photo of a person lighting a candleBattalion Chief Jennifer Utz

Everyone has a favorite time of year, and although I no longer welcome the cold Maryland winters, I do long for December. For me, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Whether cutting down a Christmas tree, decorating the house, baking cookies or socializing with friends, I couldn’t find more happiness than I do during this time of year.

Still, as I relax by the fire, watch the lights glimmer and listen to the sounds of the season, I am reminded of the danger that all of this beauty can bring. In my nearly 14 years with the Baltimore County Fire Department, I have witnessed a lot of misfortune – but it is especially devastating when fires happen at such a wonderful time of year.

The good news is that fire is preventable. Here are reminders to keep your family safe as you celebrate.

·        Cooking. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires and associated injuries. When cooking your holiday favorites, stay in the kitchen at all times. Do not let children near ovens and range tops. If the oven catches fire, turn it off, keep the door closed and call 911. Always keep a lid nearby if a pot catches fire; use the lid to smother the fire. Never put water on a grease fire; it will spread the fire! Get out of the house, and stay out until the fire department arrives.

·        Decorations: Look for packages marked as flame resistant or retardant. Always keep combustible decorations away from any type of heat source. If you are using mini lights, string no more than three sets together and make sure the cords are not damaged. If you choose screw-in bulbs, use no more than 50 per set; and always check the manufacturers label on LED light sets for directions. Keep extension cords to a minimum, never run them under carpets, and if used outside keep plugs and cords free from standing water or snow. Do not use nails to hang lights, always use clips that won’t damage or cut through the cords. Call an electrician if lights flicker or fuses blow. Finally, always turn off lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

·        Candles:  Keep open flame candles at least 12 inches from anything that can catch fire. Watch children and pets carefully when using candles. Use a sturdy candle holder. Consider electric or flameless candles.

·        Christmas Trees:  The smell and tradition of a fresh cut tree is priceless. If your family chooses a live tree, keep it watered daily. Always unplug the lights before going to bed or leaving the home, and keep the tree at least three feet from heat sources.

·        Carbon Monoxide:  One final warning during this holiday season is to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A faulty furnace, water heater or other gas appliance can emit carbon monoxide. Clogged chimneys, running vehicles and generators too close to the house also will cause a buildup of this deadly gas.

As you celebrate the holidays and spend time with family, remember these tips and stay safe!


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