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By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Department of Public Works and Transportation

One of Baltimore County’s biggest trash collection weeks each year follows the Memorial Day holiday. This year we’re asking residents to make an extra effort to lessen the loads headed to the landfill from every corner of the county next week. The best way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. If waste is prevented, there is no need or cost for collection, processing and disposal. Green your Memorial Day holiday with these tips to reduce waste and save energy.

Throwing a Cookout?

Use a meal planning app to help you determine how much food to serve. Choose several menu items that require little to no cooking by offering a charcuterie board or crudités (fresh fruits and vegetables) and other selections like salads, dips and nuts. Buy locally-produced food and drink. Try to buy products with minimal packaging. Choose reusable kitchenware, tableware and linens. If reusable products are not an option, seek compostable products. Serve beverages like iced tea, lemonade and water in reusable drink dispensers. Don't over-serve food and offer guests leftovers. Put out a recycling bin and recycle all you can. Store remaining leftovers in reusable containers and eat them. Compost the food scraps and leftovers permitted in your home compost.

Going to a Picnic or Party?

Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit. Take a reusable cup, straw and container for leftovers. If you spot abandoned recyclable cans, bottles and cups sitting around, empty them and put them in a recycling bin. Bringing a dish? Choose locally-sourced ingredients. And don't litter—that includes cigarette butts and masks!

Marking the Holiday at Home?

Get some green time instead of screen time—power down your televisions, computers and mobile devices and spend time outside in the fresh air. If you’re not throwing or attending a cookout, consider conducting a quick litter cleanup in your neighborhood, doing some gardening, or taking a walk in the park. Turn down the air conditioner, or better yet, turn it off and open up some windows.

Don’t forget that the County has a new sliding holiday collection schedule. All trash, recycling and yard material curbside collections scheduled on or after Memorial Day will shift and be made one day later that week. For addresses on a twice-per-week trash schedule, the first trash collection after Memorial Day will follow the rules outlined below, and the second trash collection will not occur. Please visit the County’s website for more information.

Ready and Resiliant

Each of the following six Baltimore County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) employees were recognized for their outstanding performance by their bureau chief or supervisor during Public Works Week, May 15-21, 2022. To celebrate their contributions, they have been invited to lunch with County Executive Olszewski in June. Congratulations, team!

Marchel Simmons

Marchel joined DPWT in October of 2021. She is a seasoned transportation professional and has worked in the public transit sector for over 20 years. During that time, Marchel managed Paratransit Demand Response Service, Link Service and Circulator Transit Service. She also has extensive experience in daily multi-modal operations.

Marchel currently serves as general manager for CountyRide and the Baltimore County Loop in Towson. Her vast experience has allowed her to manage both transportation services proficiently and effectively. Marchel provides insight into transit service delivery from various perspectives, including disability rights, aging accommodations and ADA Compliance. She is an asset to our transportation team, and we are excited to have her helping us lead the expansion of transit services throughout Baltimore County.

Bruce Steffe

Photo of Bruce Steffe

Bruce has been with Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management for 18 years. He started as a laborer in 2004 and advanced to equipment operator. He subsequently became a landfill equipment operator and recently moved up to solid waste supervisor in 2022. Bruce manages the County’s new bulk item collections program and has worked hard to ensure its smooth operation and provide quality customer service. Before his employment with Baltimore County, Bruce worked for the Maryland Transportation Authority, Harbor Tunnel Detachment, as a maintenance technician before moving to the Accident Response Team. In his free time, Bruce enjoys fishing, crabbing, boating and kayaking.

Kristi Barrows

Photo of Kristi Barrows

Kristi is the office automation analyst for DPWT’s Bureau of Highways. Kristi oversees the implementation of office automation systems and is the City Works administrator for the Bureau of Solid Waste Management. Kristi will also be working with the Bureau of Transportation on their upcoming City Works project. Kristi takes advantage of all the human resources training classes and enjoys mentoring new employees. She has been with Baltimore County Government for more than nine years and with DPWT for four years. Kristi is known as a ray of sunshine around the office, as she loves to spread joy and glitter wherever she goes. Kristi is also known for her baking and being a State Fair Blue Ribbon winner!

Jameka Stuckey

Photo of Jameka Stuckey

Jameka started with the County in October of 2020 as the office automation analyst for the Bureau of Utilities and is one of the most pleasant, uplifting people you will meet. She has made a tremendous impact at Utilities and across DPWT. As administrator of the City Works system, Jameka has worked tirelessly to ensure that employees receive training and support to use City Works. Always eager and willing to learn something new, Jameka volunteers for new experiences in the field to expand her knowledge and better assist our employees.

During her time at the Bureau of Utilities, Jameka has become an exceptional trainer. Her calm, cool demeanor and enthusiasm to match her knowledge of the material make her training sessions relaxed and informative. When other bureaus require training, Jameka does not hesitate to offer her time and expertise to make sure they receive the best training available.

Andre Bivins

Photo of Andre Bivins

Andre has worked on Baltimore County projects as a consultant inspector since 2016. In late 2021, the County was fortunate enough to bring Andre on as a full-time Inspector in DPWT’s Division of Construction Contracts Administration (DCCA).

As an inspector, Andre often is the primary Baltimore County representative on our project sites. In this role, Andre is effectively the face of Baltimore County to the contractors performing the work, as well as to citizens who have questions about the project. Andre’s customer service skills are unmatched, and anyone who speaks with Andre on site is undoubtedly left with a positive reflection of Baltimore County DPWT.

Andre is also the eyes and ears for both chief inspectors and design engineers to ensure projects are completed in accordance with plans and specifications. Andre’s technical knowledge has continued to improve over this time with the County. Andre’s technical capacity and people skills make him a valuable asset to act as chief inspector when vacation or other scheduling impacts require it. Andre is an integral part of the DPWT team.

Garrett Westfall

Photo of Garrett Westfall

Garrett has been a permanent county employee for the past five years. Over the past two years, Garrett has led the field inspections team in Metro District Financing and Petitions, which monitors and confirms the accuracy of county water meters. This monumental task was previously completed by Baltimore City with a crew of more than 20 employees. Garrett was charged with developing the operations in-house, with only himself, two other county employees and two contractors working on the project. Garrett’s leadership helps prevent a significant loss of Metro revenues to the County and provides outstanding customer service to our customers. Garrett works seamlessly with multiple teams in the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections and within Baltimore City to ensure new Metro customers are set up correctly with accurate meter data.

Garrett leads his team day in and out as he strives to ensure efficient operation of Baltimore’s water system, even working to solve long-standing issues. Garrett makes sure the County’s water meters collect accurate data while working to conserve this vital natural resource and reduce costs to the County by detecting water issues faster. Garrett goes out of his way to identify opportunities to correct deficiencies that cost the County lost revenues; revenues that directly impact the operations of large portions of the Department and come directly for our County’s citizens. Garrett’s efforts have directly resolved hundreds of water meter issues, resulting in a substantial increase in water and sewer revenues collected annually while increasing customer satisfaction. Garrett’s technical expertise and drive for public service continue to foster professional relationships with our partners throughout DPWT, the County and Baltimore City. Garrett is a primary engine that makes Metro’s operations a success.

Thank you, DPWT standouts, for all you do for your team and the citizens of Baltimore County. We salute you for your hard work and dedication!

By Lydia Hillman, Department of Public Works and Transportation

Photo of orange peels in a tin

According to the FDA, food waste is the largest category of material placed in municipal landfills—an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted per year. Save money and reduce food waste at home and during events with the following tips.

Donate, Don’t Dump

If you're hosting a large event and have bulk food leftovers, share surplus food with your neighbors or donate your leftover food to a local agency that addresses hunger in your community (registered as a 501(c)(3) organization). Find a food pantry near you.

If you're worried about liability, consult the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to see how you are protected.

Make the Most of Your Food Scraps

Use food scraps in your kitchen and home:

  • Stale bread—Use your stale slices of bread to make French toast or breadcrumbs.
  • Bones—Slow cook bones in water to make a delicious bone broth. Once the bones are soft, blend or purée the completely softened bones to make a treat for your dog!
  • Citrus peels—Use dried peels to make your own candied citrus peels, air freshener or mix with your favorite tea blend.
  • Banana peels—Put the peels in your watering can. Add water and use this water to hydrate plants that need a boost of potassium. Once you are finished, dispose of the peels in your home compost.
  • Check out recipes that utilize common leftovers from Love Food Hate Waste.
  • Use your food scraps outside in your garden as nutrient-rich compost!
  • Review our February 2022 blog post for tips and information to help you waste less food.
Revised October 25, 2019               
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