Baltimore County Now
Charlie Reighart, Recycling and Waste Prevention Manager
In a county where cost-effectiveness for the taxpayer is king, and a Triple A bond rating is highly prized, the new single stream recycling facility in Cockeysville is another crown jewel. In just the first full four months of operation (November 2013-February 2014), the new facility has generated nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in net operating revenue. At this pace, the new facility will benefit taxpayers to the tune of $1 million by April 2014!
Baltimore County has revenue-producing markets for all of the recyclables sorted at the single stream facility. Many people realize that aluminum is a highly valuable commodity (as high as $1,300 per ton during the facility’s first full four months). However, most people are not aware that the sorted recyclables’ per ton market values have reached as high as the following levels in several other categories during that same period:
- $802 for #2 HDPE plastics;
- $364 for #1 PET plastics;
- $266 for steel cans;
- $140 for cardboard; and
- $86 for mixed paper.
Baltimore County’s new single stream facility is obviously off to a very good start financially. Combined with residents’ growing enthusiasm with the recycling program, as reflected in ever-increasing amounts of recycling (a 49% tonnage increase from 2009 to 2013), future fiscal prospects are bright. Baltimore County residents have enjoyed 21 straight years without an income tax rate hike and 25 straight years without a property tax rate increase. And now that you’ve read this blog, you know that you can help keep Baltimore County’s tax rates low by recycling!
If you’re already recycling, thanks very much for doing the right (and frugal) thing. If you aren’t recycling, the County’s single stream recycling program (weekly collection of the full range of acceptable recyclables, all mixed together) makes it easier than ever to start recycling and stop wasting valuable resources. In either case, please consult your 4-year collection schedule/program guide to make sure you know how to recycle all that you can. If you can’t locate the schedule/guide, just go to www.baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste to download one or call 410-887-2000 and you’ll promptly receive one in the mail.
Every County resident can take pride in our new single stream recycling facility. If you’d like a tour, or access to a DVD showing what happens there, simply contact Public Information Specialist Clyde Trombetti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-887-2791.
If you really want to multiply your positive impact, contact Clyde Trombetti about how you can become a part of the County’s newly forming “Recycling Volunteer Network.” Encourage your neighbors, friends, and relatives to join you as active recyclers, with guidance and support from the County’s expert recycling staff.
Public Information Specialist
Baltimore County Recycling Division
Baltimore County is celebrating America Recycles Day in a big way this year, with the opening of its new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and transfer station in Cockeysville that sorts the tons of materials collected each day through the County’s very successful Single Stream Recycling Program.
The new single stream facility will definitely impress visitors as tons of recyclables travel on numerous conveyor belts and are sorted multiple ways, including the use of optical sorters that shoot blasts of air to separate bottles and cans from paper. The highly automated equipment will allow the new MRF to process 35 tons of recyclables per hour, with the capacity to sort more than 70,000 tons of recyclables per year.
Our new MRF is not just impressive to look at, but it will also allow the County to hold on to the full economic benefits of high value recyclables collected from residents. Collectively, the new transfer station and single stream MRF are expected to generate approximately $750,000 to $2 million per year revenue after expenses, depending on market conditions.
The opening is just in time to celebrate America Recycles Day, a national campaign to educate and encourage individuals to recycle. What better way to participate and show that Baltimore County recycles, than to make sure that you are recycling all that you can!
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!