10-year waste plan aims to encourage recycling

The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore County Council unanimously adopted a 10-year solid-waste management plan last night that included several recommendations aimed at fostering recycling.

The result of a lengthy public participation process, the plan is like "a menu that we can work off of in the next 10 years," said Charles M. Reighart, the county's recycling and waste-prevention manager.

The plan suggests transitioning to single-stream recycling for single-family homes and townhouses; creating economic incentives to encourage owners of apartments and condominiums to provide recycling opportunities to residents; and minimizing waste sent to landfills.

In an executive summary to the plan, county officials highlighted several challenges, including a decline in recycling tonnage even as population increased, as well as a low recycling rate among "multifamily homes."

Although the county's population grew by about 7 percent from 1998 to 2006, residential recycling tonnage for paper went down nearly 15 percent over that period - and about 11 percent for bottles and cans. Meanwhile, the amount of residential trash climbed about 15 percent - and is likely to continue to rise as the population does in the next decade.

Last year, the county's residential and commercial recycling rate was 62 percent, placing the region first in the state, according to the summary.

The plan will next be submitted to the Maryland Department of the Environment for approval.

Also last night, the council approved a bill to appropriate $800,000 awarded through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency under a federal public safety grant program.

The money, along with $200,000 in required matching funds provided by the county, will be used to build two radio towers to support communication between state and local emergency responders, according to council meeting notes on the bill. The grant program funds an effort to develop a statewide wireless communications system.

Tower construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in January, according to the notes.

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