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Monday, February 11, 2013

Can Howard County reach 100% recycling?

   We are all familiar with the recycling containers pictured above that the County has issued to homes here in Howard County.  Since the recycling program has started in Howard County the amount of trash that goes into landfills has been dramatically reduced.  I remember a time when I had more than 4 bags of trash to put out on trash day.  Now with recycling I sometimes don't have a full trash can.  Having the kids leave home did help with some of this!
     Did you know that the County is now experimenting with recycling food scraps?  According to the County website:
      "A large portion of the trash generated in Howard County is food scraps – according to a recent study, about 23% of Howard County’s trash is food scrap. That’s right – almost a quarter of what we send to the landfill is wasted food.
     Volunteer households in certain areas of Elkridge and Ellicott City are participating in the food scrap collection pilot program. The pilot program is on-going - if you are interested, you can still participate! Participants received a special food scrap collection cart that is emptied weekly on recycling day. "
    This pilot program that started in 2011 is currently collecting food scraps from 1,000 households in the Ellicott City and Elkridge areas.  It is presently being transported to a commercial composter in Delaware.  
       The County is currently working on a new facility at the Alpha Ridge landfill in Marriotsville to recycle food scraps to save money, have the recycled material for use in the County and to be able to expand the program. To see if you if you are in the pilot area and to sign up click here. 
    Recently I became aware of how the recycling of food scraps here is relatively new on the West Coast it has been going on for some time.  In fact San Francisco has a goal of being the first city in the US to recycle 100% of their trash.  According to the Mother Nature Network report:
"By 2020, the city has vowed to achieve zero waste. Waste reduction efforts range from a Styrofoam ban in restaurants, to prohibiting disposable plastic bags in large supermarkets and pharmacies, to pursuing wider markets and technologies for recycling."
“As with a lot of things that happen here in San Francisco, one reason we’re doing this is because we’d like other people to follow suit,” says Deanna Simon with the city’s Zero Waste program."

  The County also has a Bulk Pickup.  Bulk items (such as large appliances, mattresses, or large pieces of furniture) and scrap metal must be scheduled. Call 410-313-6444 or visit the Bulk Item Collection webpage.

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lemon sorbet said...

Any word of the pilot (or permanent) project coming to Columbia? I tried composting via a 'worm bin' in my basement last year. But, being hopelessly lazy, I couldn't pull it off. A food scrap recycling program would be perfect for me.

HoCo Connect said...

Seems like the expansion of the program to other parts of the County will depend on having the capability to recycle the food scraps at the Alpha Ridge Landfill and funds appropriated to make it more widespread in the County.