The owner of a regional recycling center in Elkridge is proposing to nearly double the size of the facility and modernize it.
The 4-year-old plant is operating around the clock, sorting cans, glass, plastics and paper from Howard, Anne Arundel, and Harford counties, said John L. Lininger, a marketing vice president for Browning-Ferris Industries.
"We were maxed out very early in the game," Mr. Lininger said yesterday.
The Houston-based company is seeking approval from Howard County to expand the recycling plant from about 40,000 square feet to about 70,000 square feet.
"We anticipate additional tonnages. And we would like to more efficiently handle the tons that we currently have," said Linda Birtel, manager of the plant off Cemetery Road. "Part of the expansion would include newer technology."
The company has not disclosed the estimated cost of the expansion or the tonnage the expanded plant would handle.
Howard officials will probably make a decision in the next month, said Cindy Hamilton, a county planner.
"The idea of having a large trash facility in the neighborhood is not real appealing," said Ray Miller, president of the Elkridge Community Association.
The organization has not taken a formal vote, but "there is opposition," Mr. Miller said. "It seems BFI is growing so quickly. Any time you hear about the plans, it seems to be a larger operation."
Twelve percent of BFI's revenues come from recycling, William D. Ruckelshaus, the company's chairman of the board, said yesterday. He was in Annapolis for the dedication of BFI's relocated Washington and Baltimore offices.
In conjunction with the expansion, BFI hopes to build a 34,000-square-foot transfer station on the 17.3-acre site and use another six acres it is buying for parking, truck turn-arounds and similar uses. The firm also would need to make nearby road improvements.
Unlike the recycling center addition, the transfer station would require a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The proposal for the transfer station, which arose about a year and a half ago, comes as counties look for alternatives to new landfills or incinerators.
The transfer station could process 1,800 to 2,000 tons of trash a day, company officials estimate. Howard County will need to move up to 900 tons of waste a day.