Heavy metal

The recycling area is doing brisk business at the landfill

The recycling area is doing brisk business at the landfill

July 20, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

WASHINGTON COUNTY - There were refrigerators, grills, stoves and videocassette recorders. There were water heaters, bikes and metal pipes. And a bathtub.

All that and more sat in piles last Friday at the metal recycling area of the Forty West Landfill west of Huyetts Crossroads.

For $39 a ton, Washington County residents can add to the pile, landfill staff member Donna Buss said.

The metal recycling area is a specific section of the landfill for appliances. Other sections are for household waste and nonmetal recyclables and there is a section known as "the pit" for commercial trash and weighed residential trash.


The metal recycling area was doing a brisk business on Friday.

Kirk Mullenix, 48, of Hagerstown, threw an old metal bathtub into the metal recycling area Friday because "there's no use for it."

"This (tub) is worn out," Mullenix said, although he added that others might be too quick to throw things out.

Pete Webber, 52, of Hagerstown, was throwing out six old lawn mowers he collected over the years.

Webber said that for him the landfill was the "last resort," but others pitch items that could be used.

"Look around," he said, pointing to piles of appliances.

Darrell Nelson, 56, of Clear Spring, said he doesn't mind if people throw out things that still can be used. Before a recent ban on "scavenging," he said, he used to find things at the landfill that he could use.

"I've gotten some axles out here, some metal pipes," he said.

Oly Olsen, 67, of Boonsboro, offered to give away an old typewriter and microwave when asked why he was throwing them out.

Olsen hauled both to the landfill Friday after using each for more than 15 years. He said that maybe he should have looked into repairing the typewriter before tossing it on the pile.

Russell Barnhart, 63, of Hagerstown, said he threw out an entire shed one time because it was "all rusted out."

He said he tried to sell it at a yard sale and hauled it to the landfill after it was "left behind."

Lillian Patton was throwing out an old VCR.

"People don't want something that's cheaper (to buy) than it costs to fix," she said. She noted that before making the trip to the landfill, she asked many people if they wanted it.

Webber said whether he would take something home from the landfill would depend on the item's condition. Others, like Olsen, said they weren't interested in shopping at the landfill.

Robert Davenport, the county's solid waste director, said items placed in the metal recycling area are bought by Dirt Express, a Baltimore-based firm.

During fiscal year 2004, Dirt Express paid $10,472 for the 1,211 tons of metal it bought from the landfill, Davenport said.

Making sure trash and things that can be recycled, such as metal items, are kept separate depends on many factors, including vigilance from county residents.

More than one person using the landfill questioned whether recyclables are being recycled.

Davenport said employees monitor disposal so items can be recycled instead of being mixed with other items, but admitted that they can't see everything.

"Everyone has to take a little responsibility," Davenport said.

Residents with questions about what and where to recycle may call the county Recycling Office at 301-313-2796.

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