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Promote Recycling as a Paid Intern with the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management's Recycling Division

Photo of a group of people in a classroom wearing hardhats

The Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management expects to have a recycling internship opening in its Towson office starting as soon as December 2019. Candidates should be able to work at least 150 hours during the internship. Historically, internships have lasted from two months to four years. For best consideration, please apply (details below) by Monday, November 4, 2019.

The Bureau accepts resumes and cover letters, on an ongoing basis, from motivated, talented people interested in promoting recycling and waste prevention. Applicants should have strong oral presentation, research and writing skills. 

As paid Baltimore County employees, interns:

  • Earn $11 per hour to start, with free parking;
  • Gain purposeful work experience in a comfortable office environment;
  • Apply and develop skills in public speaking (including school presentations, tours of our recycling facility and staffing a booth at public events), research, writing, public relations, marketing, data analysis and other areas;
  • Provide input and receive feedback as part of a team promoting recycling, waste prevention and best solid waste management practices;
  • Learn more about how local government works;
  • Work flexible schedules customized to academic, job and other commitments;
  • Improve future employment prospects (many of our interns have gone on to careers in the recycling and waste field, while others have pursued a variety of other jobs); and
  • May become eligible for permanent county jobs.

For further information on the internship program, including testimonials, please visit the Bureau's internship page on the County's website.

If the internship program seems like a good fit, why “waste” more time?  Become part of a proud tradition that includes 101 interns since 1991.

Please send a resume and cover letter to Recycling and Waste Prevention Manager Charlie Reighart at Resumes should include relevant work experience and academic background (including GPA – grade point average). The cover letter should note the months, days of the week and hours of the day candidates are available to the extent known.

For more information, call 410-887-2000.

Not a candidate for such an internship? Please pass this information on to potentially interested candidates.

By Richard Keller, Department of Public Works

Painting of Goldilocks

We all are familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the three bears: she tries three different types of porridge and finds that one is too hot, one is too cold and the other is just right. Goldilocks the Recycler is very similar. She does not want to recycle materials that are too large. She does not want to recycle materials that are too small.  She wants to recycle materials that are just the right size to go through the materials recovery facility (MRF). At the Baltimore County MRF in Cockeysville, we see a lot of materials that are not recyclable because they are either too large or too small. To help prevent this, residents should apply the Goldilocks Principle: recycle only items that are just the right size. But what is the “right size” for recycling?  

Large materials are not only very difficult to handle, but they can also slow down the recycling process or even cause damage to equipment. Never put items larger than three by five feet in size out for curbside recycling collection (cardboard boxes exceeding this size should be broken down). Examples of these large materials include assembled boxes used to package large merchandise and plastic children’s toys such as playhouses, swing sets and kiddie pools. Of course, other large materials such as appliances, scrap metal, garden hoses and equipment, wood, tarps and construction and demolition materials should never be placed out for curbside recycling collection. However, many of these items can be donated or recycled. Check Baltimore County’s Reuse Directory for an organization that will accept these materials.

As for small items, they are very difficult to capture in the sorting process. The Baltimore County MRF operates at 30 to 35 tons per hour. As a result, the mechanical and manual sorting cannot capture small items in the recycling stream.

Photo of a conveyor belt with items to recycle on it

While there is no “magic formula” for what is too small, a rule of thumb you can use is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules for what you can include in your carry-on bag at the airport. The TSA rules allow only 3.4 ounce (100 ml) or smaller containers. If the item is small enough that you can include it in your carry-on bag, don’t put it in your recycling bin; this means if the item is about as small as, or smaller than, a 3.4 fluid ounce container, it is too small to be sorted at the County's MRF.

Examples of small items include trial- or travel-sized plastic containers, unattached bottle caps and small cosmetic containers, prescription bottles, scraps of paper and similar items. Note that bottle caps can be recycled if they are still attached to their original container. The best guide for determining what is recyclable is to visit the residential recycling collection page on the County’s website or consult your 2018-2021 Trash and Recycling Collection Schedule. If you have any questions about what you can recycle, please contact the Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-887-2000 or 

Photo of a group accepting the NAGC award

The Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s public service announcement (PSA), “Tangled Up!,” won first place in the PSA category at the 2019 National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards. Bureau employees Rashida White and Jeanette Garcia Polasky and interns Natalie Adachi and Jahi Thomas accepted the award at a reception last month in Arlington, Virginia.

The NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards competition opens at the end of November each year. Professional communicators from around the country volunteer their time and talent to judge entries in more than 30 categories. Finalists were announced in April and winners were recognized at the reception in June.  

Produced in-house, “Tangled Up!” demonstrates why items such as plastic bags and clothing, known in the recycling industry as “tanglers,” are not accepted by Baltimore County and other recycling programs across the country. More than 170 government, business, nonprofit and media organizations and industry professionals on four continents have shared the PSA on social media pages, blogs and websites.

“Tangled Up!” also earned the Bureau’s recycling staff a Silver Telly Award in the Social Video, General-Public Service and Activism category in May. And last month, the Maryland Recycling Network (MRN) honored the Bureau with the MRN Outstanding Government Leadership Award for its marketing campaign to educate people about tanglers, which included the PSA.

Baltimore County’s award-winning recycling PSA can be seen on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Oct 2019
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