Baltimore County Now
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!
Baltimore County Recycling & Waste Prevention Manager
As I joined County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Council Chair Tom Quirk today in Catonsville to announce that County residents have recycled a record-breaking 52,500 tons of curbside recyclables, I couldn’t help but think back a couple of decades when recycling first got its start here – and realize how much easier it is now!
Oh, how far we have come! On June 23, 1990, at the Giant Food parking lot at the corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue, a surprisingly large contingent of Baltimore County residents arrived in 600 vehicles during a three-hour period. These residents brought with them recyclable paper and bottles and cans to the County’s first volunteer-operated, County-assisted, recycling drop-off center (“Towson-Parkville”). Residents waited patiently in long lines, sometimes for a half hour or more, to hand-deliver their recyclables. Over several years, nine different volunteer organizations ran recycling drop-off centers all around the County. Back in the day, at each center there were seven different drop-off receptacles (one each for mixed paper, tin cans, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and jugs, and three colors of glass), each watched over like a hawk by a volunteer to ensure against cross-contamination. Recycling progress was measured pound by pound.
Fast-forward to today. No more long lines, just the distance from your home to the closest curb or alley. No more having to separate recyclables into seven different receptacles (one will do just fine with the County’s “single stream” collection program). And progress is no longer measured in pounds, but in tens of thousands of tons. On March 7, 2013, the County Executive announced an all-time, annual County record for recycling – more than 52,300 tons in 2012! Are you and your community recycling all you can? Find out at bcrecycles.com.
Before the end of 2013, the County expects to open its own single stream recycling sorting facility, which will usher in yet another exciting chapter in the County’s environmental leadership.
Here’s to Baltimore County’s rich recycling history, proud present, and especially its promising future.