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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: recycling
single stream recycling container

Charlie Reighart
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

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.  
Clean Green County logo

Heather Jentilet
Baltimore County Solid Waste Management

Photograph of a recycling bin full of recyclable materials.It’s that time of the week again; time to set out recyclables for collection. You take a deep breath, walk to the end of your walkway, place your container on the curb, and that’s that. Your job is done. Exhale. But have you ever taken a moment, as you slowly lower your bin to the ground, to look around at the curbs of your surrounding neighbors to see if theirs are also occupied by a recycling container? Do your neighbors’ bottles, jars, paper, and other recyclables peek from the rim, waiting to be collected? If you haven’t looked around before, I bet you will now. But don’t go sweeping the neighborhood making a mental blacklist of those with empty curbs just yet. Baltimore County has found a new way for you to learn about the recycling habits of your community.

The Bureau of Solid Waste Management has begun a new initiative to promote recycling and recycling awareness throughout the county. The hub for this campaign is There the county is split into 44 areas, with recycling rates posted for each area, every month. Take a look and see how the recycling rate where you live compares to the county-wide recycling goal of at least 50 percent. While on this web site, you can also check out how the county is doing as a whole and read a list of reasons why you should recycle.

So the next time you set your recyclables out, take a moment to look around, and remember that every pound counts.

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