The final step in a countywide recycling program is about to be taken, and all apartment and condominium dwellers have to do is ask.
All houses in the county have had curbside pickup of paper and containers since July 1993, but apartment dwellers still must haul their recyclables to the Mobile Recycling Truck (MoRt), the county landfill's recycling center in Marriottsville or to a private recycler.
By summer's end, the county will start placing mobile recycling containers next to trash bins in 10 apartment complexes as a pilot program for the county's apartment recycling program, said Paul A. McIntyre, the county's residential recycling coordinator.
"The property managers are really excited, and the residents are really excited," Mr. McIntyre said of the program, which will provide the containers and hauling to apartment dwellers or their landlords free.
Lisa D. Barbour, property manager for Beech's Farm apartments in Kings Contrivance village, said she can't wait.
"I'm ready for it. I'm surprised that they hadn't offered it sooner," she said. "They have recycling for the homes but not the apartments.
"We had called earlier in the year, but at that time they didn't make it as affordable -- we had to provide the [containers] and everything. Now they provide the [containers] and the service to take the recyclables away."
The pilot program will take only mixed paper, which the county trucks to Simpkins Industries Inc., a paper mill on the Patapsco River in Catonsville.
The paper, which the mill uses to make paperboard for cereal boxes, makes up about three-quarters of the recyclable material that comes from current residential collection, said Linda Fields, chief of the county Public Works Department's Recycling Division.
"We are actively looking for communities that would like to participate," Ms. Fields said. "We can't put a service in a community unless it wants us to be there."
If the paper recycling program is successful, Ms. Fields said, the county will consider picking up other recyclables.
Mr. McIntyre said the pilot program will bring service to about 1,600 condominium and apartment units -- about 10 percent of the county's total units as of last year. The 10 complexes on the pilot program were the first to ask about the service. An additional eight communities have inquired about recycling services, he said.
The program will include: the Chimneys at Cradle Rock, in Owen Brown village; Kings Crossing and the Pines at Dickinson, both in Kings Contrivance village; Rockburn Commons I, in Elkridge; Sierra Woods, in Long Reach village; Montgomery Run and Woodland Village, both in southern Ellicott City; and Chase Glen, in Hickory Ridge village.
The new program is likely to bring the county close to its self-imposed goal of recycling 28 percent of the trash it generates. As of Jan. 1, the county was recycling about 27 percent -- well above the 20 percent state requirement that took effect on that date.
Mr. McIntyre urged apartment and condominium residents interested in being included in the program to talk to their complex managers or homeowner association representatives, who can call him to request the service at (410) 313-SORT.