Smithsburg Town Council members are considering starting the town’s first curbside recycling service, which one council member hopes will prompt Washington County to start its own program.
Smithsburg’s current trash-collection contract expires July 1, and the town has a group of bidders for the new service, town Councilman Jerome Martin and Mayor Mildred “Mickey” Myers said
Before council members vote on a new service, they will present the new trash proposal to residents during a public meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the town hall, they said.
The town currently has a yard-waste pickup twice a month and twice-a-week trash pickup.
Under the plan being considered, council members will chose between two options, Martin said.
Under one option, there will be once-a-week trash pickup, once-a-week recycling pickup and once-a-month yard-waste pickup on the second Wednesday of the month, from April through December.
The second option is the same as the first except recycled materials would be picked up every other week, Martin said.
For recycling, people in single-family homes in town will leave the items at the curb in a 65-gallon “tote” which will be provided to them free of charge, said Martin, who noted that residents will not see any increase in their trash bill under the new plan.
“We’re making it very easy for them. I’m really excited,” Martin said.
Martin said he believes the town will pay about $170,000 to $180,000 a year for trash service under the new plan compared to the $200,000 to $205,000 it is now paying.
Myers said she hopes there are savings with the new plan, but said it is too early to determine that.
The Smithsburg recycling service will be “single-stream” service, meaning residents will combine recyclable materials together to be placed in totes, Martin said. Residents will be able to recycle items like paper, glass, plastic and aluminum, he said.
Martin said not only is the recycling service being offered at no charge, town officials will consider giving residents a rebate on a $40 annual sanitation fee.
Town officials will consider giving a rebate on the fee based on how much is recycled, said Martin, adding that the rebate will be designed as an incentive to recycle trash.
Town council members are expected to vote on a bid for the new trash service during their March 1 meeting.
Myers said she hopes people will come to next week’s meeting to learn about the proposal.
“I can’t gauge the feeling of the public (on recycling) right now,” Myers said.
Martin said he hopes any new recycling program in town will spur a countywide recycling program.
Some county residents have pushed for curbside recycling in the past, describing its absence as being in the “Dark Ages.”