Recycling permit requirement for non-profit groups draws fire Proposal is termed a deterrent to 'individual initiative'


WESTMINSTER -- Most who voiced concerns at a public hearing last night didn't object to recycling, but to other aspects of proposed revision to the county's Solid Waste Management Ordinance.

Boy Scouts and church officials, as well as trash haulers, who showed up at the Multi-Purpose Center gymnasium objected to a plan that would require non-profit groups to have a county permit to sell aluminum cans.

Under the proposed recycling program, set to begin July 1, trash haulers would pick up recyclables and drop them off at a designated recycling facility. Individual residents and businesses would be barred from selling aluminum cans for profit to scrap haulers.

A representative from Calvary United Methodist Church in Gamber said the permit proposal "lit a fire storm at our church." The church sells aluminum cans to raise money to buy heifers to provide milk to children in undeveloped countries.

Franklin Goldstein, representing firms in Carroll through the Seaboard Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, said the county had no right to control "the disposition of recyclables" prior to their commitment to the landfill.

Non-profit groups, he said, should be able to sell cans to either a designated recycling facility or other county scrap recyclers.

"Recyclables have a value and are property," he said.

Jean Knill of Mount Airy, representing citizens and small businesses, said she was opposed to mandates in the plan that would "destroy individual initiatives."

During the two-hour hearing, attended by about 75 people, county officials emphasized that they were there to hear suggestions from residents and businesses. The commissioners are slated to take action on the proposed revisions to the county's Solid Waste Management Plan by May 15.

In implementing a countywide recycling program, commissioners are working to comply with a state mandate that will require the county to recycle 15 percent of its solid waste by 1994. The county currently recycles about 6 percent, officials said.

To finance the proposed recycling program and other solid waste measures, the commissioners have proposed raising the landfill tipping fee from $15 to $40.

Several trash haulers urged the commissioners to phase in mandatory recycling for businesses. They also objected to the county allowing just one firm handle to handle recyclable materials.

The county is close to reaching a $258,000 contract with Phoenix Recycling Inc. of Finksburg to operate a facility. The firm was the lowest of several bidders.

The recycling facility will collect newspapers, cardboard, office and other paper, aluminum cans, glass and plastic.

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