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Guide to the Forty West Landfill

September 24, 2011
  • Lisa Houser dumps paper goods into a bin Monday at the Guide to the Forty West Landfill. The Big Pool resident usually carries her recycling items to Clear Spring, but the bin was full.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Address: 12630 Earth Care Road (off U.S. 40 about one mile west of Huyetts Crossroads)

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday

Vehicles crossing scales should arrive before 3 p.m.

Mulch and compost sales 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Residential permit sales 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


1. Dual-stream recycling bins

Location: At the center of the landfill's residential recycling area are two green recycling bins. One half of each bin is for paper and cardboard, the other half for glass, metal and plastic. A third bin might be added soon.

What's accepted: Mixed paper: newspaper, office paper, junk mail, magazines, cereal box paper, phone books, flattened cardboard no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet; commingled material: food and beverage cans, glass bottles and jars, No. 1 and No. 2 rigid plastic containers

The bins are for residential recycling only.

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: A contractor — currently Republic Services — collects, sorts and processes the materials for recycling. The county currently does not receive any payment for the materials, Deputy Director of Environmental Services Clifford J. Engle said. Under the current contract, the county pays Republic about $166 each time one of the containers is emptied, he said.


2. Batteries

Location: The battery drop-off site is under a white metal canopy at the northwest corner of the residential recycling area.

What's accepted: Lead-acid batteries, such as those from car, truck and yard equipment, and large rechargeable batteries from power tools

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: The batteries are sent to off-site battery recycling companies.


3. Used motor oil

Location: Motor oil is accepted under the white metal canopy at the corner of the residential recycling area.

What's accepted: Used motor oil, up to 5 gallons per visit, and empty oil containers and filters

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: Maryland Environmental Service re-refines the used oil so it can be used again.


4. Used antifreeze

Location: Used antifreeze is accepted in a tank under the white metal canopy at the corner of the residential recycling area.

What's accepted: Used antifreeze, up to 5 gallons per visit

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: Maryland Environmental Service uses a distillation, filtration process and corrosion inhibitor treatment to recycle the used antifreeze for reuse.


5. Magazines

Location: Magazines are accepted in the mixed paper section of the dual-stream bins, but residents who want to "go the extra mile" may separate out magazines and glossy advertisements, which are more valuable, and place them in a separate green bin at the back of the residential recycling area, Engle said.

What's accepted: Shiny and glossy magazine-type paper

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: A contractor — currently Republic Services — collects the materials for recycling.


6. Corrugated cardboard

Location: Like magazines, corrugated cardboard is accepted with mixed paper, but also may be separated out. It is accepted in a gray trailer at the back of the residential recycling area.

What's accepted: Flattened, corrugated cardboard (the type with a wavy layer)

Cost: No charge; no permit needed.

What happens to it: Workers from the Arc of Washington County's vocational program pick up the cardboard and take it back to their facility, where they sort and bale it for sale to recycling companies.


7. Styrofoam

Location: Three smaller bins in the residential recycling area accept Styrofoam.

What's accepted: White, No. 6 Styrofoam blocks. Engle described the acceptable type as the "kind that busts up," as opposed to the spongier, flexible Styrofoam. Packing peanuts and Styrofoam that has been in contact with food are not accepted.

Cost: No charge; no permit required

What happens to it: The Styrofoam is compacted into a solid mass that is shipped off for recycling into items such as plastic utensils, cups and lids.


8. Tires

Location: Near the garbage bins is a drop-off area for tires.

What's accepted: Vehicle and equipment tires

Cost: Auto and light truck, less than six: $3 each; less than 22 inch rim size, $162 per ton; equipment tires, $250 per ton. Paid at scale house.

What happens to it: Smaller tires are recycled by a contractor for construction use or as fuel for cement plant kilns. Large tires are reused on-site as bases for litter net posts.


9. Garbage drop-off

Location: Along the south side of the residential drop-off area are eight numbered bins for garbage drop-off. Bins one through five are for residential permit-holders, while bins six through eight are for customers who pay by weight at the landfill scale.

The bins sit at a lower elevation behind a concrete barrier so the top of the bin is easily accessible. Trucks emptying the bins access them from the other side, via a separate access road.

To the right of bin one, there is an area where users with physical disabilities may set garbage on the ground.

What's accepted: Household trash.

Cost: Residential permits good for one year cost $130; $95 for senior citizens age 62 and older, $95 for service-related disabled veterans; $65 for a second permit for the same owner. After Jan. 1, permits are half-price.

Non-permit-holders may pay by weight, via cash or check, at a rate of $52 per ton, with a minimum fee of $10.

What happens to it: A contractor transports the garbage to the working face of the landfill, where it is dumped, spread, compacted and covered with soil.


10. Electronics

Location: An electronics recycling area is located near the scales on the opposite side of Earth Care Road from the residential recycling and garbage drop-off area.

What's accepted: Electronics including computers and computer accessories, regular and flat screen TVs (no wood cabinets), VCRs, CD and DVD players, PDAs, radios and phones

Cost: $10 for up to 300 pounds, paid at the scale house.

What happens to it: Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR, collects the electronics and takes them to one of several federal penitentiaries, where inmates disassemble them and send out valuable materials  — primarily the precious metals on the boards and controllers — to be recycled.

The county pays UNICOR 18 cents per pound for glass-containing items. The electronics recycling program costs the county about $40,000 per year.


11. Yard waste

Location: Continuing north past the residential drop-off area on Earth Care Road, the yard waste processing area is on the left.

What's accepted: Leaves, grass and brush

Cost: Residential permit-holders may purchase $15 add-on permits good for one year of yard waste disposal. Others, such as landscaping businesses, are charged by weight at $63 per ton, with a $10 minimum, at the scale house.

What happens to it: Woody material is processed into mulch, sold to the public at $30 per ton, and leaves and grass are processed into "soil amendment," or compost, sold to the public at $20 per ton.

The process includes feeding the material through a grinder and piling it in long rows where it cures for anywhere from 30 days to four months. Temperatures in the piles can be upwards of 120 to 130 degrees, which kills insects and harmful bacteria, Engle said.


12. Scrap metal

Location: Near the yard waste area is a drop-off area for scrap metal and appliances containing Freon.

What's accepted: Scrap metal such as patio furniture, grills, bicycles, and appliances

Cost: Metal drop-off is free; $5 per unit for Freon-containing appliances such as air conditioners, freezers and dehumidifiers. No permit required.

What happens to it: A contractor pays the county to collect the metal for recycling. The current contract price is just over $200 a ton.


13. Propane tanks

Location: Near the yard waste and scrap metal areas is a drop-off area for propane tanks.

What's accepted: Empty propane tanks and other pressurized cylinders such as oxygen tanks. No scuba tanks.

Cost: No charge; no permit required.

What happens to it: A contractor collects the tanks. If in good condition, the tanks are reused. If they are outdated or damaged, the contractor will make sure they evacuated, cut them up, and recycle them as scrap metal.


14. Commercial dumping

Location: Large commercial haulers cross the scales and drive directly to the working face of the landfill to dump their loads.

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