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Hagerstown seeks residents' feedback on recycling

November 29, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown residents are being asked to provide feedback about the future of the city's recycling efforts.

The city initiated a recycling program for mixed paper in November 1995, and began recycling co-mingled glass, plastic and aluminum in April 2006.

A survey available on the city's Web site (www.hagerstownmd.org) and sent to residents in their electric bills is giving residents an opportunity to voice their opinions about recycling, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

The city's collection contract with Allied Waste will be rebid in 2010, Tissue said.

"We're looking at modifying what we do based on the input," Tissue said.

The survey, an effort to obtain that input, was a recommendation of the Trash and Recycling Task Force, which was formed by the City Council last summer.

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The city is examining a number of issues, including whether once-a-week recycling pickup is sufficient and whether the city should provide the service to businesses, Tissue said.

The survey also asks whether the city should make recycling mandatory. Currently, recycling efforts are voluntary.

About half of approximately 70 surveys returned to the city by last week have indicated support for mandatory recycling, Tissue said Monday.

However, "we're definitely not going to be going that route," Tissue said.

The city has no staff to enforce mandatory recycling. Tissue said he probably would recommend an incentive-based program to the council.

"Right now, everyone is paying for trash pickup, and so a lot of people are being charged for recycling and aren't taking advantage," said Councilman William Breichner, who serves on the Trash and Recycling Task Force.

He said he would like more residents to use the service.

Recycling helps control the city's costs at the landfill by cutting back on the amount of trash hauled there.

One suggestion discussed at the task force meetings was reducing trash pickup to one day a week, as Baltimore has done. Recycling in Baltimore increased after the number of trash pickup days were cut, he said.


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On paper or online



City residents can fill out the survey included in their electric bills or go to www.hagerstownmd.org to complete the survey online.

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