Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith initiated a single stream recycling program on February 1, 2010 through the Bureau of Solid Waste Management. The initiative was entitled, “Don’t throw away tax dollars!” The program was designed to streamline the County’s single-family recycle pick-up system which provides curbside pick-up of various recyclables.
For many years the County’s recycle program alternated which items were picked up – specifically, one week paper was recycled; the following week on the assigned day, plastics, bottles, and cans were collected. With the start of “single stream” collections, all items were recyclable each week. This eliminated the need for residents to sort the paper from the other items; and it eliminated the need for residents to store items for a two week period awaiting collection. The new single-stream program was also designed to increase the amount of recyclables collected, which raises funds for the County. But perhaps more importantly, it eliminates the possibility of these items being dumped into the landfill which ultimately saves tax dollars. The fact that the landfill will not fill-up as fast and thus will need to be replaced ‘later rather than sooner,’ will ultimately save tax payers a large sum of money! With the income from the additional recyclables available to be sold to companies who purchase such items and the savings from not replacing the landfill property, taxpayers benefits include the fact that the County has managed to avoid a tax increase.
Since February 1, through the single stream recycling for 237,000 single-family homes and town houses, the County recorded a 25% increase in recycling.
On October 1, the single stream recycling collection became available to 80,000 apartment and condominium units within the County. This new initiative has led to an additional 18% increase in recycling collections over the past eight weeks. At this level of increased collections, data indicates that an additional 8,164 tons per year will be diverted from the waste stream. Beyond this environmental benefit, an estimated $450,000 per year will be saved while disposal costs rates are $55 per ton.
On Monday, November 22, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith will announce that the single-stream recycling program will be expanded to all apartments and condominiums within the County. The announcement will be made at the St. Charles at Olde Court Apartment Complex, 7900 Brookford Circle in Pikesville at 11 A.M. Residents are invited to join the County Executive and invited members of the County Council, Maryland General Assembly, and the Department of Public Works staff.
Obviously, the single stream recycling program is making progress for single-family and multi-family dwellings… saving county residents money while providing a tremendously positive impact on our environment!