A new era of recycling begins Thursday in two Washington County towns.
Smithsburg and Clear Spring are introducing curbside recycling this month, with the first pickup scheduled for Thursday in both towns.
As the new programs get started, officials from both towns said they have been getting calls from residents with questions about the new service and related changes.
Smithsburg Town Council member Jerome Martin said several people who live outside the town have asked what they should do with their recyclables now that the recycling drop-off bin has been removed from the Smithsburg fire hall.
The closest recycling drop-off site is the Greensburg Convenience Center at 13125 Bikle Road north of Smithsburg. There is no charge for residential users to drop off recyclables there, said Clifford J. Engle, the county’s deputy director of environmental management.
The Smithsburg Town Council decided to ask the county to remove the bin at the fire hall by July 1 because curbside pickup made it superfluous, Martin said.
In Clear Spring, however, council members specifically asked that the county recycling bin at the community park remain in place, Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said.
“Our recycling is just for in-town residents, and there’s a lot of out-of-town residents that recycle,” she said. “And there’s going to be some things our recycling company isn’t going to take that they can still take out to the recycle bin.”
Plastic grocery bags are accepted in the county bin but not in the curbside pickup, Grimm said.
Clear Spring has contracted Apple Valley Waste of Kearneysville, W.Va., and Smithsburg has contracted Allied Waste for garbage collection and curbside recycling collection.
In both towns, recycling pickup will be weekly, on Thursdays, and collection will be single-stream, meaning paper, plastic, glass and metal should all be placed in the same container for pickup.
Both towns will pay for the recycling service with taxes instead of charging a separate recycling fee. Clear Spring has no separate charge for trash collection, while Smithsburg’s trash collection charge will remain $10 per quarter, officials said.
In Smithsburg, recycling pickup is available to single-family homes and two-unit homes, but not to residents of apartment buildings housing more than two families, Clerk/Treasurer Betsy Martin said. There is no mandate to participate, but all eligible homes were offered recycling bins, she said.
Residents had a choice between larger and smaller containers, Betsy Martin said. The larger containers were distributed last week, but as of Tuesday, the smaller bins had not come in, and no estimated delivery date was available, she said.
About 120 households requested the smaller bins, Betsy Martin said. Those still waiting for bins are encouraged to put their recyclables out in a cardboard box until the bins arrive, she said.
In Clear Spring, Grimm said recycling totes were distributed with papers outlining what can and cannot be recycled in them.
“So far, I’ve had some questions about what they can put in the totes and what they can’t,” she said. “I tell them to read the paperwork we sent to them.”
Details about the curbside recycling program in Smithsburg are available on the town’s website, www.wc-link.org/smithsburg.