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Complaints to scrap waste plan? Board may drop mandatory recycling


Bowing to public pressure, the county commissioners say they may scrap mandatory recycling and other aspects of a proposed solid waste program that raised objections from residents and trash haulers.

"What we're finally going to agree on is still very much up in the air," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy cautioned Friday.

Since a public hearing Tuesday on proposed revisions to the county's Solid Waste Ordinance, which would include mandatory recycling, the commissioners have been meeting with staff to rework aspects of the plan.

On Thursday, the commissioners postponed action on a $258,000 contract with Phoenix Recycling Inc. of Finksburg to operate the county's sole recycling facility under the program.

"We're certainly going to reconsider the requirement for all recyclables to go to one [facility]," Lippy said.

Several trash haulers objected to the county's intent to use just one facility for the collection of recyclables. Phoenix was the low bidder to operate it.

Complaints also were heard from non-profit groups, which would have been allowed to sell aluminum cans to scrap yards only with a county permit, and from residents, who would have been prohibited from selling them at all.

"We're also leaning toward a plan that addresses the concerns of the residents, particularly those who are in charity efforts," Lippy said. "They wanted to sell cans wherever they chose and, naturally, get the best prices."

In renegotiating a contract with Phoenix, commissioners said they may drop mandatory recycling and allow voluntary recycling -- a plan similar to one in Harford County, Lippy said.

Commissioners sought a mandatory recycling program in order to comply with a state law that requires Carroll to recycle 15 percent of its solid waste by 1994.

"If we can get 15 percent without requiring mandatory recycling, then that's what we should do," Lippy said. "But we should keep in the contract the fact that if we can't get 15 percent with voluntary goals, then we will have to use mandatory."

One aspect of the solid waste plan that is not likely to change, commissioners said, is a proposed increase in the landfill tipping fee from $15 per ton to $40.

"All of [these changes] came out of the public hearing," Lippy said. "The fact that we have so many confusing issues to nail down points out the complexity of the issue."

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