Baltimore County Now
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.
Baltimore County Solid Waste Management
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 www.bcrecycles.com. 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.