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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: recycle
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!


Diana DeBoy, Student Intern, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management;
Towson University Mass Communication Major

Today, some people might find it difficult to understand the benefits and importance of recycling. Honestly, until a few months ago, I had never recycled and didn’t know where to start. Then I began an internship with the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management and learned the importance of such an easy task. Recycling has a significant impact on preserving Baltimore County’s only active landfill, which is already 51 percent full. When we recycle, we divert materials from the landfill, thus extending its lifespan. Recycling also has other benefits, such as conserving natural resources, reducing pollution, and even saving money! For instance, for every ton of recyclable material diverted from trash, Baltimore County and its taxpayers save $60. In 2012 alone, residents’ recycling avoided nearly $3 million in trash disposal costs.

So, if you’re new to recycling like me, you may be thinking, “I don’t know what I can recycle.”  Simple everyday materials such as glass bottles, aluminum foil, narrow-neck plastic bottles and newspaper are all examples of items that are accepted in the Baltimore County Single Stream program. If you pass by something in your house and you aren’t sure if the item is acceptable, just visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/recycling to see a complete list of acceptable plastics, glass, metals and paper.

There is also something you can do that’s even better than recycling -preventing waste in the first place. For example, buying items with less packaging or things that can be reused will decrease the amount of material that needs to be landfilled.

So, why not give recycling a try and help preserve our landfill? Good luck and happy recycling everyone!


Achsah Joseph, Intern, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
You’re easy to recycle;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
So easy to recycle;
Take off the star and ornaments,
And place outside your residence.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
You’re easy to recycle!

Ah, the Christmas tree. For weeks, it has served you well, its branches overflowing with ornaments and garlands, watching over the growing pile of presents. But when Christmas Day, Boxing Day and even New Year’s Day have come and gone, what do you do with the tree?

Recycle it, of course! The easiest option is to place your tree out for curbside collection no later than Saturday, January 19, 2013. Before putting your tree outside, make sure that it is bare, with no decorations, tinsel, bags or tree stands of any kind. Again, remember to set out your tree on your front curb or street, and not in alleys.

If you’re a go-getter who wants to get rid of your tree sooner, make sure it’s completely free of garlands, tinsel, ornaments, bags and tree stands, and take the tree to any of the three County drop-off locations starting December 26, 2012.

After your tree is dropped off at a County drop-off center or picked up by collectors, it will be chipped and used as mulch. This process, known as “treecycling,” keeps the trees out of the county landfill and transforms them into useful landscaping material.

More than 90 percent of all real Christmas trees bought this year in the United States are expected to be recycled. Join us and recycle your tree this year!


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