Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My World Tuesday - Recycling

On Monday I dropped off a few pieces of scrap metal at the recycling center. Last time I did this I got a couple of bucks for ten pounds of junk. With the economy today, they offered 7 cents. I said that's not worth doing the paper work and was just glad to not have the stuff still in our garage.

I have been recycling since I was a kid. When I was around 9, my buddy and I discovered that we could make a little money for movies and such by recycling. Soda bottles then required a 2-cent deposit. The fish market would pay a penny per pound for used newspapers, which they used to wrap the fish. And the dry cleaners would pay a penny for each coat hanger returned. We would go to the neighbors and collect bottles, paper and coat hangers, loading his wagon and taking our haul to the appropriate store to make a couple of dollars. In the late 1940's that was plenty for a movie, popcorn and a drink. When my kids were young, there was usually a school project or some organization like the boy scouts recycling to raise money. We would save aluminum cans and newspapers delivering to the collection points. When there were not such drives, we delivered our load to the company and have a few extra dollars for ourselves. Our neighborhood association set up a container for recycling years ago and we took our papers, cans and glass there. This helped control our trash disposal fee, which is based on the weight of trash delivered to the landfill. Then the county took over the collection of recyclables and required that yard waste be delivered to two county-run composting facilities. For a number of years we put our paper, cans, glass, plastic and cardboard in a small blue bin and the county picked it up once a week. The crew sorted it into separate bins on the truck. This January the county changed the rules. Now everything goes into a big blue bin and is picked up every other week. They also expanded the types of items are accepted.

It is all now dumped in the big blue truck and sorted elsewhere.

The old way of handling our throw away trash in Frederick was to bury it large trenches in the county landfill. With population growth and increased use of packaging materials and products that are replaced every few years, the landfill was filling up faster than planned. Expanding the county landfill was major issue that took several years to resolve by buying additional land next to the existing landfill. The county also transports trash to landfills out of Maryland.

Trash disposal has become a significant political issue here and in the US generally. In 1988, Maryland passed a law requiring recycling of 15% of solid waste. The law also required that yard waste (leaves and brush) not be disposed of in landfills and special requirements were established for items like batteries. By 2005, the rate of recycling was 39.2%, with another 3.4% waste reduction by reducing waste at the source. Today the issue in Frederick is a waste to energy proposal. The county (together with Carroll county) is planning to build plant to generate electricity by using waste as fuel. The county is also going to investigate a biological waste processing method. The county government has some tough decisions to make to make as it pursues a goal of 60% reduction in the trash.


allhorsestuff said...

Wow, that certainly is interesting. I am not sure if we have laws like that set here in Oregon..but it is big business...
my mom jsut called to ask if I had the "new" recycle cart delivered yet. We normally use a small tray and then have to suppliment by paper bags and such.
The new Cart...is soo big, my mom can't use it..it will take off with her at 80 years old, down the driveway!

chrome3d said...

I think it´s good if they sort it somwhere else. There is less traffic then.

I have 5 different bins but that means a lot more traffic for different kind of trash trucks.

Louise said...

I love it when recycling is easy and practical.

7 cents for scrap metal? Wow!

John said...

Great shots and posting, Lew.
Nice information.

SandyCarlson said...

Wouldn't it be great if each of us could say we do this?

The Good Life in Virginia said...

a very good post lew.
in california we recycled regularly and had bins for glass, plastics and paper.
when we moved to virginia (this part of virginia) there is no active recycling program going on. we find it disturbing. we are told that they will take everything in the regular trash but yard waste...which of course breaks down faster than plastic containers(don't understand that).
alas...it is a huge problem and there is not one universal solution for it across the US which is of course troubling.

anyway...i have rambled on here too much. thanks again for the post and great pics.

enjoyed your post.

Arija said...

Trash is a massive problem in all advanced countries. There is much too much non-compostable packaging. Components in sealed plastic packed in styrofoam and cardboard boxes and once more in plastic. What a rediculous waste of resources and space. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

Summer said...

It's a nice post friend.Great information as well..;D
Thanks for sharing it to us.;D
Have a nice day.

Sandi McBride said...

I take it the theme is blue...and bright blue at that...color makes the otherwise mundane eye catching, don't you think Lew? I wanted to thank you for stopping by my place and commenting and to let you know that Pye is in good fettle and bossing the kittens around again. I love Siamese and hate that everyone thinks they are "bad" cats..they are what cats are all about!