County to consider nixing recycling drop-off bins

January 30, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • The Washington County Board of Commissioners are looking into eliminating the county's recycling drop-off bins.
File photo

Curbside recycling is up for discussion at the Washington County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday — but this time, county officials are looking to the private sector to manage a program.

Allied Waste has proposed creating a bi-weekly curbside recycling program serving up to 12,000 homes in pilot areas of the county, according to an agenda report for Tuesday’s meeting.

Washington County Director of Environmental Management Julie Pippel recommended in that report that the commissioners help promote Allied Waste’s program and consider eliminating the county’s recycling drop-off bins — both manned and unmanned — when the program begins.

Allied Waste, which has a facility on Greencastle Pike, already offers curbside recycling pick-up as an option for residents who use its garbage collection service.

To increase participation, the company is proposing an “opt out” program in which residents in certain areas of the county would be included in a curbside recycling route unless they opt out.

Allied Waste would provide participating homes with wheeled carts and bill them quarterly for the service, according to a presentation from Allied Waste linked in the commissioners’ agenda.

According to that presentation, proposed pilot areas are:

• North of Hagerstown, including Maugansville, Fountain Head and Long Meadow
• Jefferson Boulevard, Robinwood and Funkstown
• Boonsboro and the area around Keedysville
• Virginia Avenue area
A proposed timeline suggests starting the recycling program June 4.

County staff have presented options for a county-managed curbside recycling program at previous meetings, but in order to fund that type of program, a special fee would need to be assessed for each residential property in the county, or a tax increase would be needed to offset the cost, Pippel’s report said.

The county’s current drop-box recycling program includes recycling bins at the county’s landfill and transfer stations as well as several unmanned bins at other sites.

Those bins are funded through the Forty West Landfill budget.

“However, with reductions in the revenue source caused by economic conditions and the diversion of waste stream to private landfills, this means of funding is no longer viable or appropriate,” Pippel wrote.

Removing the recycling drop-off bins would save $350,000 in the solid waste department budget, according to her report.

The topic is on the commissioners’ agenda for 1:45 p.m. Citizens’ comments on any topic will be accepted at 10:30 a.m.

View Allied Waste presentation at:

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