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County recycling efforts blasted at hearing

May 12, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

BOONSBORO -- People described recycling efforts in Washington County as being in the "Dark Ages" and "archaic" during a public meeting in Boonsboro Tuesday night.

Attendees also said during the meeting sponsored by Washington County government that the county owes it to the next generation to get more serious about recycling. The gathering was the first in a series the county will hold to get input on a new 10-year solid waste plan.

The county had a previous 10-year plan on how to manage its garbage and other waste, and county officials need to have a draft of a new plan submitted to the Maryland Department of the Environment by Feb. 1, 2010, County Planner Bill Stachoviak told about 25 people at Shafer Park's Community Center.

The plan touches on a number of solid waste issues, but curbside recycling was a priority for many residents.

Residents expressed frustration about Washington County being behind other counties in recycling, about local drop-off recycling sites being abused and how businesses are not encouraged to recycle, among other issues.

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Janeen Solberg, who is on a recycling task force in Boonsboro, said Washington County is in the "Dark Ages" and is "letting things slide" in recycling.

Solberg said it is frustrating to go by a house with about six bags of garbage out front and knowing that at least half the waste could be recycled.

Boonsboro Town Council member Richard Hawkins said recycling is not cost-effective initially. But when officials consider the cost of a new landfill, it pays off, Hawkins said.

"I know it won't happen easily," Hawkins said.

Boonsboro resident Brigitte Schmidt said she came from Montgomery County, Md., where curbside recycling was offered. Schmidt pushed for curbside recycling in Washington County and said she would be willing to help pay for the cost.

Schmidt said she paid about $90 every three months for garbage collection in Montgomery County, which did not include costs for curbside recycling.

The Maryland Department of the Environment wanted Washington County to recycle at least 15 percent of its waste, Stachoviak said. The county has been able to recycle about 25 percent to 30 percent of its waste, he said.

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