Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Talking Trash

Yesterday's Sun reports that with trash disposal contracts coming up for renewal in the not to distant future, Anne Arundel and Howard Counties are contemplating options to reduce their waste stream. The County's waste disposal contract with Waste Management Inc . expires in 5 years, and it is expected that disposal fees could double or triple from the current $33/ton when the contract is renewed.

Howard County has started a pilot program to roll out 5,000 wheeled recycling carts to residents to try to encourage additional recycling, and has seen an 18% increase in tonnage in 3 months. Anne Arundel County has funded two additional positions to boost the number of recycling workers (still only half the number of the residential waste staff), and Executive Leopold is apparently planning a County bill to "push" commercial firms to recycle more.

Widespread commercial recycling would certainly be a good start, but how about also inverting the waste pick-up schedule? That is, having recycling pick-up twice a week and reducing garbage pick-up to once a week. Think about it, if you pull the paper, glass, metal, and recyclable plastics out of the waste stream, and compost all the organics, the amount of garbage produced by a household drops tremendously, and our landfills will last much longer.

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