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The Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management is currently seeking to fill three positions in the Recycling Division.

Recycling Contract and Marketing Director

bales of recycled material

The Bureau is hiring a Recycling Contract and Marketing Director. The position involves managing all aspects of the County’s program to sell recyclable commodities (to maximize County revenues), assisting the County’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) with identifying new markets and considering efficiencies and upgrades in processes and equipment, and managing contracts for materials collected at the Residents' Drop-Off Centers (RDOCs), including paint and construction materials, tires, lights, household hazardous waste (HHW), scrap metal, gasoline, and waste oil.

The manager will also conduct MRF tours and school presentations, and promote the Bureau’s programs, policies and procedures, with an emphasis on recycling and waste prevention. Applications for this position are due no later than October 15, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.

Public Information Specialists

group of people wearing hard hats on a recycling tour

The Bureau is also hiring two Public Information Specialists to assist the Recycling Division in promoting recycling and waste prevention. The positions include a salary of $47,825 to $59,847.

The positions involve public education, conducting tours of the County’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), presentations to community groups, presentations to school students and college students, preparing various publications, developing marketing strategies, taking photos and videos, preparing social media posts, research and other projects as needed.

Applications are being accepted through October 15, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. For more information about any of these positions, please call Richard Keller at 410-887-2791.

Visit Baltimore County Government online to see information about all of the current job opportunities with the Bureau of Solid Waste Management.


 

By Richard Keller, Recycling and Waste Prevention Manager, Department of Public Works and Transportation

Photo of a business person wearing a suit with a leaf in the front pocket

It’s just not enough to do only paper, bottles and cans anymore.

There was a time when commercial recycling (for businesses and institutions) was simply a matter of collecting paper, cardboard, bottles and cans for recycling, reducing paper waste, and buying recycled products. While these elements are still important, we need to expand beyond recycling traditional items. We need to examine the total supply chain.

The digital age has reduced the volume of office paper that we generate, use and recycle. According to Moore & Associates, production of printing and writing paper fell from about 19.5 million tons in 2011 to about 9 million tons in 2020. COVID-19 also reduced the volume of material in our commercial offices, since more of the work was done at home.

So, how do we focus our efforts to reduce waste in commercial buildings? We need to look at the total supply chain—purchasing, use and final disposition of all the products that we use.

Green Purchasing

As the song, “Do-Re-Mi,” from The Sound of Music says, “Let’s start at the very beginning.” The first question you should ask before buying a product is, “Do I really need this product?” Do you have an effective inventory control system that shows whether or not you need the product? Many of us buy products that we already have on the shelf. Is there another part of your organization that has the product you need? How many items do I actually need? The most effective and cost-saving method of managing your waste is to buy only products you actually need.

Once you have decided you need a particular type of product, you should consider which product brand is best for the environment. Every product has a dollar cost and an environmental cost. As commercial businesses, we can reduce our effect on the planet by requesting products that do less harm to the environment. Examples include:

  • Products with recycled content
  • Environmentally preferable products
  • Reused and remanufactured products
  • Products with less packaging or less material
  • Products that are themselves reusable or recyclable
  • Refillable products
  • Products that are more durable and longer lasting

Waste Prevention 

Once you have purchased the product for your business, you need to use up the product to reduce waste. Techniques include:

  • Having locations in your office or containers on the job site where employees can put recyclable materials
  • Ensuring that you conduct proper maintenance on equipment so that products will last longer. This can include vehicle maintenance (timely oil changes, etc.), changing filters, cleaning and vacuuming carpets regularly, etc.
  • Repairing items as needed to avoid the cost of buying a new product

Finally, once you have finished with the product, you need to consider the final disposition of the product. Can you reuse the product in your own operation? Can you reuse or rebuild the product? Can it be repaired for further use? Is there another organization that can use the product? Can you donate the item to a local charity?

Recycling is Everyone's Business

Photo of a group of people looking at a large recycling sign

Many states have programs for recycling market development—where state and local agencies help create or expand recycling markets, helping businesses find a home for their used material. Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation in Maryland in 2021 to create new recycling markets for Maryland businesses. The goal of the legislation is to let businesses know that “Maryland is open for recycling business.”

Business, industry and institutions can contribute to reducing the volume of waste generated and move our society closer to zero waste.

The County does not provide commercial recycling services, however, we will be providing additional information in the future on business recycling.

For more information on recycling in Baltimore County, visit the County’s website.

By Richard Keller, Department of Public Works and Transportation

Photo of plastic bag screen machine

When it comes to preparing recyclable materials for collection in Baltimore County, it is critical that you put only those materials in the recycling container that the County can recycle.

Recyclable materials are not trash. They are industrial raw materials that manufacturers use to produce new products. In the same way we cannot “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” we cannot make finished industrial products from trash or other contaminated material. Therefore, the success of the County’s recycling program depends on residents’ ability to “recycle right.”

Reduce Contamination  

Illustration of a recycling bin with trash around it

One crucial way you can recycle right is by minimizing contamination, which is important for the efficient operation of the County’s material recovery facility (MRF) in Cockeysville. Some items can get tangled in the sorting equipment, causing the facility to shut down for long periods of time while the contaminants are removed.

If collected materials are contaminated, the contaminants reduce the value of the baled recyclables or even cause rejection of the load of recyclables. This makes it more important than ever for County residents to limit contamination. If material cannot be recycled, the County will have to dispose of it instead.

Common Recycling Contaminants

What are the most serious contaminants for MRF managers? The Recycling Partnership lists the most common contaminants that MRFs face in managing recyclables.

  • Tanglers. These items (such as plastic film and bags, hoses, cords and clothes) get caught on star screens, which separate cardboard and paper from other materials. Tanglers prevent the star screens from operating properly. Periodically during the day, the system has to be shut down to cut the tanglers off the screens.
  • Bagged garbage or recycling. Do not line your recycling container with a plastic bag, and do not place trash in the recycling container.
  • Hazardous material (propane tanks, needles/sharps).
  • Yucky” things that downgrade other materials and clog the system (food, liquids, diapers, etc.).

If Baltimore County residents keep these materials out of the recycling stream, the County can maximize revenue from the sale of its recyclables.

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