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County officials 'very pleased' with recycling's 200-ton start


The county's new voluntary trash recycling program netted 103 tons of yard waste and 110 tons of other materials in the first week of collection.

Officials estimate that 11 percent of the garbage collected between June 1 and June 6 was recycled, including materials from the Susquehannock Environmental Center but not Aberdeen Proving Ground.

bTC Administrators hope to recycle 20 percent of the county's garbage with the state-ordered program.

County administrators and local haulers praised the program as they worked to smooth out a few rough spots.

"We're very pleased with the start-up," said Bob Ernst, the county's recycling coordinator. "For the most part, everyone knows what they're doing."

John McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Sanitation of Baldwin, said most of his 2,500 customers in the Bel Air and Edgewood areas are recycling.

"We're running anywhere from 80 [percent] to 90 percent participation with our customers," said McKenzie, whose three trucks collected about 10 tons of recyclables in the first week. "I'm very optimistic."

In the program, haulers pick up trash once a week and recyclables once a week.

Materials collected for recycling, to be put in blue plastic bags, include glass, plastic, aluminum cans, newspapers and yard waste.

Trash is dumped in the landfill or incinerated, while recyclables are taken to the transfer station and put into a large trailer. Once filled, the trailers are taken to Browning Ferris Industries' regional recycling plant in Howard County, where recyclables are separated and marketed.

Most haulers are collecting trash early in the week and recyclables later, Ernst said.

The county ran into a problem at its transfer station at Scarboro Landfill near Dublin when too many trucks stuffed with recyclables arrived at the same time, Ernst said.

Twenty trucks lined up at the station between noon and 2 p.m. on June 4, Ernst said. When the trailers filled quickly, the trucks had to wait for additional trailers.

McKenzie noted that the station was "flooded" with recyclables. "They received an extremely large amount of material," he said.

Ernst dismissed rumors that haulers were told to discard the recyclables with the trash because of the delays.

The recycling coordinator and McKenzie said they believe the amount of recyclable materials per household brought into the station will level off in future weeks as the novelty of the program wears off.

They theorized the county received a large amount of materials the first week because many residents were stockpiling recyclables in anticipation of the program.

Most residents are recycling the correct materials, Ernst and McKenzie said.

However, some are improperly including items like cereal box cardboard with their recyclables, McKenzie said. Ernst said some people are not properly securing bags of newspapers.

But for now, haulers have been instructed to collect anything that residents put out for recycling, Ernst said. Once the program becomes routine, the county will take steps to correct mistakes.

"Right now we don't want to discourage recycling at all," Ernst said.

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