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Keyword: recycling collection

By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Communications Specialist, Department of Public Works

How dangerous is your job? When we think of deadly professions, we tend to think of mining, construction, law enforcement and firefighting. Oddly enough, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those jobs are not among the top ten civilian occupations with the highest fatality rates. In fact, the five civilian occupations with the highest fatality rates in 2017 were fishing, logging, piloting/flight engineering, roofing and refuse and recyclable material collection.

You read that right – the men and women who cart away more than 250 million tons of trash, recycling and organic materials generated by Americans each year have one of the nation’s deadliest occupations. In fact, waste collection has an incidence rate of 35 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers, ten times the national average! (I’ll keep that statistic in mind the next time the lid to my trash can goes missing.)

What makes solid waste collection such a dangerous profession? Falls, slips, trips, fires, explosions and contact with dangerous, heavy equipment all cause fatalities among collectors. However, across all occupations, transportation incidents were the most common cause of fatal injury, which is not news to waste collectors.

“Most people don’t realize just how dangerous the solid waste management field can be,” said Tim Dunn, Baltimore County’s solid waste superintendent. “It’s important to remember the hardworking people who perform this essential public service when you’re out and about. A little bit of extra care and caution behind the wheel can go a long way.”

In recent years, the National Waste and Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America made it a priority to pass “slow down to get around” (SDTGA) legislation in states across the country, including Maryland SB 445, which was signed into law last year. These laws require drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching waste management vehicles from the rear.

In addition to following Maryland’s SDTGA law, you can take some simple steps to reduce the risk of injury for sanitation workers:

  • Wrap broken glass before disposing of it.
  • Place needles, syringes, razor blades and any other sharp objects in a closed, heavy-duty plastic container for disposal.
  • Do not put household hazardous waste in your trash can. Take it to one of the County’s drop-off centers.
  • Do not use a trash can that exceeds a maximum filled weight of 40 pounds or a maximum capacity of 34 gallons. See the County’s collection set-out guide for more information.

By following a few basic rules, being mindful and showing a little common courtesy, you can help reduce injury and fatality rates not only among waste collectors, but workers across industries.

Have questions about trash and recycling collection in Baltimore County? View a list of collection FAQs on the County’s website or send an email to This article originally appeared in The Resource Newsletter. See past issues and subscribe at

Offices, Most Facilities Closed December 25 and January 1

Baltimore County government offices will be closed on Monday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas Day holiday, including Health Department clinics, Circuit and District Courts, senior centers, drop-off centers and the landfill, and CountyRide vans will not operate. The same schedule is in place for Monday, January 1 in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday. See below for details on library hours, and trash and recycling collection and facilities schedules during the holiday weekends.

Library Schedules

All branches of the Baltimore County Public Library are closed on Sunday, December 24 and on Monday, December 25 for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Library branches will be open regular Sunday hours on New Year’s Eve and will be closed on Monday, January 1 for New Year’s Day.

No trash or recycling collection on Christmas and New Year’s Days; drop-off centers closed

The impact of holidays varies among Baltimore County collection schedules. County residents should consult their particular collection schedule to learn when materials should be set out during weeks that contain a collection holiday. Schedules are available for download on the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website and may also be requested by calling 410-887-2000. New 2018 through 2021 schedules are being mailed to residents of single family homes this month, and will be available for download on the County’s website by January 1.

Collections of all types may occur later than usual during the last week of December and the first week of January, because more material must be collected in fewer collection days. If a collection does not occur on the scheduled day during this period of time, the materials should be left out until collection occurs.

Baltimore County offices and trash and recycling drop-off facilities, including the Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh, will be closed on Monday, December 25 and Monday, January 1. County offices will be open from December 26 through December 29, and all three drop-off facilities will be open with regular operating hours from December 26 through December 30.

Mailing Also Includes Program Guide with Important Information

In early December, Baltimore County will mail new trash and recycling collection schedules to single-family homes. These four-year schedules cover the period from 2018 through 2021, and contain specific collection day information for each address in the County. As different areas can have different collection days, it is important that residents read and retain this important document to reference over the next four years.

County residents living in single-family homes who do not receive their schedule by December 24 may call the Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-887-2000 for assistance. Schedules will also be available for download on the County’s website starting January 1, 2018.

In addition to the schedules themselves, this mailing will include the County’s trash and recycling program guide. This important resource contains instructions for collection holidays, set-out regulations, a recycling guide, drop-off information and more.

Revised September 11, 2017