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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: recycle

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!


Happy HolidaysKitty McIlroy, Student Intern, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management
Senior, Goucher College Environmental Studies Major

When it comes time for holiday shopping, often it becomes a rush to find last minute gifts for family members and friends. If you plan ahead a little, you can avoid the quick purchase of a generic holiday card, store-bought wrapping paper or a gift bag. If you’re like me, and feel guilty about this extra waste, then keeping a few holiday wrapping tips in mind will transform your holiday habits and keep your environmental conscience at ease.  These “green” ideas provide a low-to-zero waste way to wrap and give presents to your loved ones this holiday season. Enjoy!     

Waste Reduction and Recycling Tips for Holiday Wrapping:

Wrapping Reuse:

Reuse items such as packaging peanuts or take them to local mailing/shipping stores. Try to reuse all previous holiday wrapping items, even glass jars and tins. Get creative and use old maps, sheet music, comics, newspaper, calendars, magazines, shopping or plain paper bags and extra wallpaper to decorate your packages. Make your own wrapping paper by painting or drawing some original art with personal messages to make a one-of-a-kind gift. Even something like a nice cloth or bandana can be used as wrapping, and it can also be part of the present.

Back To Nature:

You can also purchase cards and wrapping materials made from 100% recycled paper. Also, don’t forget material such as banana fiber “paper” and designs printed with soy-based inks. These materials eventually can be composted. Just by stepping outside you can find natural alternatives to store-bought bows by using sprigs of berries, holly, pine cones or shells.  Additional decorations can come from organic materials such as leaves, ivy, lavender, rosemary or cinnamon sticks. You can even purchase wrapping paper made with wildflower seeds. These seeds can be planted after being unwrapped. Finally, when wrapping a present, natural twine or yarn can serve as an alternative to ribbons and petroleum based tape, and twine and yarn are reusable.

Crafty Card Ideas:

Reuse old cards to make gift tags or holiday postcards or take the old cards to organizations that will reuse them. Try making your own gift cards out of recycled paper or using zero-waste alternatives like “e-cards.”

I hope this spurs your creativity and prompts you to craft some wonderful, eco-friendly wrapping designs. Send a picture of your handiwork to recycle@baltimorecountymd.gov and it might get posted online! Good Luck and Happy Holidays.


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