Letters to the Editor - July 9

July 08, 2011|By Donnie Souders Jr.

By Donnie Souders Jr.

When reading the editorials and stories about the county's lack of solutions to the recycling issue that has plagued this county for many years, I thought I would offer a few talking points to possibly help propel a countywide curbside recycling program.

1. The City of Hagerstown needs to be a leader in any county wide recycling program. The city charges for its recycling program, but only offered a small container to those residents who wished to participate. This completely undermines the validity of any program.  

If residents are going to be charged for the service, then all city residents should have received (at minimum) a small recycling container for collection — thereby reducing the burden and cost to the county for the placement of the large recycling bins located throughout the city.

2. If the county wishes to increase the percentages of county residents participating in recycling from the nearly 30 percent rate now to the goal of 50 percent, then I would suggest the County Commissioners consider a subsidy for those small towns like Smithsburg, Clear Spring and Williamsport that currently offer curbside recycling programs and those like Boonsboro, which is considering proposed curbside services for its residents.

By offering subsidies to these municipalities, the county could increase the number of residents participating in recycling while minimizing its cost for those incorporated areas. If the County Commissioners would allocated (let's say) $10,000 per municipality that offers its residents curbside recycling, that would equate to approximately $100,000 with an additional amount for the City of Hagerstown in the range of $50,000.

The county's total cost for those municipalities would come to an approximate cost of $150,000. Again this is a much better fiscal option to start with.

3. For the unincorporated areas within the county, the County Commissioners should reconsider the grid proponent that was once discussed.  By dividing the remaining unincorporated areas into grids and finding a vendor (through a bid process) to service those areas, you would be creating a competing market from the trash hauling vendors and ensuring the best rates for the residents of each individual grid.

 4. The county needs to determine its final point of success!  Is it getting residents to participate in recycling and therefore reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill, which may help to avoide higher dumping fees or the cost of a new landfill?

If the answer is "yes," then thinking small might be the best solution. Instead of trying to cookie cut every county resident into one program, perhaps the County Commissioners should consider a few of my talking points.

Donnie Souders Jr. is vice president of the Smithsburg Town Council.

Recycling in Washington County is long overdue

To the editor:

I have been a faithful recycler for many years and I write this to express my deep concern that Washington County appears to have given up on the recycling program that obviously is so important to so many people. I could see the problems mounting for a long time and I wonder why the county could not be more proactive and get ahead of the problem.

Yes, people took advantage and dumped trash at the recycling sites. They should not have done that. I, however, think that the county is partially at fault for that.

People do need a way to get rid of trash, particularly bulky items such as mattresses and furniture. I can remember when the City of Hagerstown had semi-annual bulk trash pickups and that the results clearly showed that it was necessary.

I know that people can go to the landfill and dump their trash themselves but realistically, how many people can do that? Not everyone has a vehicle that allows them to haul such items and not everyone has the money to pay the fees for a permit.

And yes, I see that the recycling program was expensive to the county. The program, however, is necessary and clearly desired by many people. I think it is part of the government's responsibility to address this so that people don't start to dump more things in Antietam Creek and along the countryside.

There are, of course, obvious reasons why we need a viable recycling program. There are many people who just simply believe that we need to recycle to help the environment. Others recycle because they know that the landfill will soon be full if we don't find a way to reuse things that we can reuse. I also believe that there is law which requires a certain amount of recycling.

I sincerely hope that Washington County will act quickly and deal with this problem. When I think of how much this small household takes to the recycling bins every week it breaks my heart to think I will soon have to just put it in the trash.

Loretta J. Thornhill


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