Baltimoreans have recycled 50 million pounds of waste since weekly collection began last July, city officials report.
Despite some hiccups as the city shifted twice-weekly trash collection to once a week, the weekly recycling pickups under One Plus One have boosted the city's recycling volume by more than 50 percent.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was to celebrate the milestone this morning in Edmondson Village, where she was to be joined by community leaders.
"We thought the easier we could make recycling, the better participation would be. It actually exceeded our estimates," said Celeste Amato, spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works.
More than half of the city's residents didn't even use trashcans before One Plus One began, Amato says, so city officials expected a hard sell in a lot of neighborhoods. But community leaders got behind the effort.
It helped that Cleaner Greener Baltimore, a city program, and the Baltimore Community Foundation handed out $17,000 in recycling grants for block parties, workshops and distribution of more than 1,000 recycling bins.
Besides reducing the flow of waste to incinerators and landfills, recycling earns the cash-strapped city a little money. Waste Management Recycle America, which contracts to take the city's recyclables, has paid $190,000 so far this year, officials report.
There's still work to do. Amato says city inspectors are "strategically enforcing" sanitation violations in about 40 neighborhoods where trash and recyclables still get left out in bags or dumped in alleys.
Baltimore Sun file photo of Waste Management Recycle America in Elkridge