Local recycling advocates will have to choose between two events Tuesday night as the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force holds a recycling rally at the same time that Washington County holds a meeting to gather public input on recycling options for the county.
Both events are scheduled for 7 p.m., with the rally in the community center in Boonsboro's Shafer Park and the county meeting at North Hagerstown High School.
Rosemary James, who chairs the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, said the task force event was planned and invitations were printed before the county meeting date was announced.
"It was a dilemma," she said. "We all really would love to be at the county meeting."
Instead, the task force decided to send founding chairwoman Janeen Solberg to speak on behalf of the group, James said. Task force members also plan to appeal to the county commissioners when the commissioners visit Boonsboro on Aug. 30, she said.
The county recycling meeting was scheduled at the request of Board of County Commissioners members who wanted feedback as they decide whether to institute curbside recycling in the county, expand the county's drop box recycling program or maintain the county's current recycling program.
The Boonsboro event is a celebration of the task force's fourth anniversary and will include a volunteer-appreciation reception and discussions about how to continue to move forward toward curbside recycling and other green initiatives, James said.
"The rally is a celebration and also a call to action," she said.
The Boonsboro Recycling Task Force was created in August 2007 after Boonsboro officials had a recycling drop box removed from the town due to illegal dumping of trash, she said. The task force succeeded in getting the box restored a few months later, and, with monitoring by task force volunteers, the misuse has ended, she said.
Since the formation of the task force, recycling has increased about three-fold in Boonsboro, and the group's annual Green Fest has become a major regional event, with more than 2,000 visitors this year.
"As much as we are happy with our progress, we are really disappointed that there still is no curbside recycling in Boonsboro," James said.
Even with two recycling task force members on the Boonsboro Town Council — Solberg and Barbara Wetzel — and seed-money donations from the Nora Roberts Foundation, the council has not acted to begin a curbside recycling program.
"The cry is money, that it's costly and they don't want to tax the community any further," James said.
However, she said if the town cut back from twice-weekly trash pickup to weekly trash pickup, the savings could be applied toward a curbside recycling program.
At the anniversary rally, the task force hopes to enlist recycling supporters to a new group called Friends of Recycling that will act as the task force's auxiliary unit, James said.
The task force has invited past volunteers, survey respondents and friends, and welcomes anyone else who wants to come, she said.
"We want fresh faces and new ideas as to how we could move forward and accomplish the goal of recycling opportunities, not just for Boonsboro, but ... throughout Washington County," James said.
At the county meeting, Solberg's message from the task force will be a call for the commissioners to take action on curbside recycling, James said.
"They just gather information, but there doesn't seem to be movement forward," she said. "I realize they're somewhat of a new commission, but this has been studied to death."