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County recycling rate drops

August 02, 2000

County recycling rate drops

By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

Reported recycling rates for Washington County

1990 - 6.3%

1991 - 8.6%

1992 - 12.5%

1993 - 20.7%

1994 - 20.5%

1995 - 24.7%

1996 - 23%

1997 - 26.2%

1998 - 25%

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1999 - 22%

Washington County's recycling rate for 1999 was reported at 22 percent, according to Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch.

That's down slightly from last year, which was at 25 percent, he said. But Hoch said he does not think that means the county is recycling less.

Instead it may have more to do with how the information is reported. Companies aren't required to report how much they recycle so the rates fluctuate annually, he said.

He partially bases his opinion that the recycling rates are actually higher than reported on the fact that the amount of recyclable material left at the county's drop off sites by local residents increased 15 percent since 1998.

The amount recycled in 1998 was 1,664 tons, according to Hoch. It was 1,925 tons in 1999.

But the majority of the recycling in the county comes from commercial and industrial companies and some of them didn't report how much they recycled this year, Hoch said.

Recycling isn't mandatory in most of Washington County with Williamsport the sole exception, according to Hoch.

He said he has no plan to curtail efforts to get the community to increase how much they recycle, even if the rates go up.

Maryland counties with a population under 150,000 are required to have recycling rates of at least 15 percent, Hoch said. Among those 13 counties Washington County is seventh, with Carroll County first with a 57 percent rate and Allegany last with 16 percent.

Neighboring Frederick County, since it has a larger population, has to meet a 20 percent minimum and has a 33 percent rate.

Washington County's rate is much lower than the 36 percent attained state-wide, according to Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman Richard McIntire.

The state rate has increased annually since passage of the Maryland Recycling Act in 1988, according to McIntire. The current rate is up three percent since 1998.

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