Baltimore County Now
Waste Management Program Manager
Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability
Do you ever wonder what to do with left over paints and chemicals in your basement and garage? You know that some of these materials are too dangerous to pour down the drain or throw into the garbage can. Some, like gasoline, paint thinners or pesticides are pretty obvious, but others are not quite so apparent.
Did you know that swimming pool chemicals can react with other materials in your trash to create toxic gases or catch fire? Or that drain cleaners come in two types, strong acids or strong bases? You remember way back from high school chemistry class what happens if a strong acid and strong base get together….not good for whoever is nearby. Did you know that fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, or that rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals such as lead or cadmium?
It doesn’t take a chemist to picture what happens when liquid paints leak out of the garbage can or garbage truck onto our roads and streets and people ride over it w/ their cars….makes a real mess. You probably didn’t know that some latex paints are re-usable. Baltimore County has been recycling latex paints since 1998 and has recycled over 155,821 gallons. That’s enough to fill 20 tanker trucks. The paints go to area non-profit groups for distribution to schools, churches and low-income residents.
This time of year, you can take these paints and chemicals to the county’s Eastern Sanitary Landfill drop off center, located at 6259 Days Cove Road in White Marsh. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., from April through November.
To make the program convenient for residents in other areas, Baltimore County operates one day collection events at other sites. This year’s events are scheduled for Sunday, April 14th from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the Texas Landfill on Warren Rd in Cockeysville; and Sunday, November 10th from 9am to 1pm at the Western Acceptance Facility, 3310 Transway Rd in Halethorpe.
If you are not sure what to do with your leftover household paints or chemicals, or have any questions, call the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection at 410 887-3745 and we’ll be happy to help you.
Solid Waste Superintendent, Bureau of Solid Waste Management
We all have busy lives. We devote our precious time to work, kids, community service, hobbies, and any number of other daily activities. For many of us, the last thing we want to think about is trash! In fact, for most of us, all we really want is to place our trash out for collection at the curb or alley and have it disappear.
Unfortunately, there may come a time when the trash doesn’t disappear. In most cases, there is a perfectly logical reason why trash collection does not occur. Following are some of the most common causes of missed trash collection.
Baltimore County regulations require that trashcans are limited to a maximum capacity of 34 gallons and a maximum filled weight of 40 pounds. These regulations are in place to protect the hard-working men and women on the back of the collection trucks. It is not uncommon for a single truck to collect trash from more than 1,500 homes in a day, with many homes placing two or three trashcans out for collection. It’s not hard to imagine the risk of repetitive motion injuries that could result from lifting oversize or overweight cans. Also, the County does not recommend using trashcans with hinged lids or wheels due to difficulty in handling by the collectors and the wheels/lids being prone to breakage.
Baltimore County regulations state that trash should be set out after 6:00 p.m. the night before a scheduled collection. Although some collectors arrive at a certain time each week, there are any number of factors (e.g., weather, traffic, holidays) that could cause them to arrive earlier or later than “normal.” It’s never a good idea to “set your clock” by the collector and the best way to ensure collection is to have your trash out the night before.
Although the collectors make every effort to collect the household trash people set out, there are items that should not be set out at the curb or alley. Bulk items (e.g., mattresses, furniture, appliances, building materials) are too large to be collected. Dangerous items (e.g., chemicals, paint, explosives) can create hazardous conditions for the workers and should never be placed out for collection. Additionally, it is illegal in Baltimore County to dispose of most household electronics (e.g., TVs, computer equipment, VCRs) as trash. For more information on how to properly dispose of all of the aforementioned materials, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste.
Baltimore County Code requires that vehicles parked in alleys must allow at least 12 feet clearance. You can report parked vehicles that prevent access to an alley by trash collection and/or emergency vehicles using the Baltimore County Police Department’s non-emergency line, 410-887-2222.
It’s important to remember the hard-working crews that collect trash from the nearly 330,000 homes in Baltimore County each week. If you get a chance, I hope you join me in thanking these folks for a job well done. Or, better yet, thank them on collection day by following the rules and regulations detailed here and you’ll also be helping ensure that your trash disappears on collection day!