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!
Solid Waste Superintendent, Bureau of Solid Waste Management
We all have busy lives. We devote our precious time to work, kids, community service, hobbies, and any number of other daily activities. For many of us, the last thing we want to think about is trash! In fact, for most of us, all we really want is to place our trash out for collection at the curb or alley and have it disappear.
Unfortunately, there may come a time when the trash doesn’t disappear. In most cases, there is a perfectly logical reason why trash collection does not occur. Following are some of the most common causes of missed trash collection.
Baltimore County regulations require that trashcans are limited to a maximum capacity of 34 gallons and a maximum filled weight of 40 pounds. These regulations are in place to protect the hard-working men and women on the back of the collection trucks. It is not uncommon for a single truck to collect trash from more than 1,500 homes in a day, with many homes placing two or three trashcans out for collection. It’s not hard to imagine the risk of repetitive motion injuries that could result from lifting oversize or overweight cans. Also, the County does not recommend using trashcans with hinged lids or wheels due to difficulty in handling by the collectors and the wheels/lids being prone to breakage.
Baltimore County regulations state that trash should be set out after 6:00 p.m. the night before a scheduled collection. Although some collectors arrive at a certain time each week, there are any number of factors (e.g., weather, traffic, holidays) that could cause them to arrive earlier or later than “normal.” It’s never a good idea to “set your clock” by the collector and the best way to ensure collection is to have your trash out the night before.
Although the collectors make every effort to collect the household trash people set out, there are items that should not be set out at the curb or alley. Bulk items (e.g., mattresses, furniture, appliances, building materials) are too large to be collected. Dangerous items (e.g., chemicals, paint, explosives) can create hazardous conditions for the workers and should never be placed out for collection. Additionally, it is illegal in Baltimore County to dispose of most household electronics (e.g., TVs, computer equipment, VCRs) as trash. For more information on how to properly dispose of all of the aforementioned materials, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste.
Baltimore County Code requires that vehicles parked in alleys must allow at least 12 feet clearance. You can report parked vehicles that prevent access to an alley by trash collection and/or emergency vehicles using the Baltimore County Police Department’s non-emergency line, 410-887-2222.
It’s important to remember the hard-working crews that collect trash from the nearly 330,000 homes in Baltimore County each week. If you get a chance, I hope you join me in thanking these folks for a job well done. Or, better yet, thank them on collection day by following the rules and regulations detailed here and you’ll also be helping ensure that your trash disappears on collection day!
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.