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Title: Don’t throw money in the trash

by Kara Eppel, Baltimore County Office of Communications Intern

When you throw away your trash or put out recycling, do you ever think about where your leftovers go?

I had the chance to see for myself – and I can tell you, it was a real eye-opener. I toured the Baltimore County Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the County’s Central Acceptance Facility in Cockeysville, one of three facilities where Baltimore County residents’ trash and recycling goes after we place it outside for curbside pickup.

On one side of the facility, I saw recycling machines working to sort materials that are sold and then made into new products. At the facility’s transfer station, I saw massive mounds of colorful trash piled high, inside and outside the building. While it did not seem as if this area could contain any more, I watched as truck after truck entered the facility dumping even more trash. Looking around me, I could not image simply burying all of this trash at a landfill, especially since so much of this material could have easily been set out for recycling – and ended up on the other side of the facility. 

While the trash goes straight into the landfill, the recycled material gets cleaned, sorted and baled at the plant. In the facility, huge sorting machines line the wall, suspend from the ceiling, and lie on the ground. Recycling is thrown onto the giant conveyer belt and is dragged through the loud, clunky machines. You can hear the grinding of the materials, the cranking of the wheels, and the churning of the belts. The recycling is sorted and baled and sold for reuse.

Recycling helps the environment and also benefits taxpayers when recycled material is sold. Not only does recycling create an income stream for the county, it saves the county money from reduced disposal costs. 

Unfortunately, not every County resident recycles. They are throwing money into the trash. 

As the daughter of a taxpayer who wants to save money and a concerned resident who wants the environment to remain safe for future generations, I urge more of our citizens to use the recycling resources our county provides. 

Two bins do the trick -- one for trash, one for items that can be recycled. Paper, glass, metal and plastic can all be put in one for recycling. Check your trash and recycling pick up schedules online.   

While this seems like a small act, you are making a huge impact on your county and your environment.

For more information on what can be recycled and how to dispose of residential trash, call 410-887-2000 or check out the recycling and waste prevention information on the County’s website. 

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