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County expands recycling

Ingrid Mezo

(2/16) The Frederick County Board of Commissioners Feb. 9 approved expansion of curbside recycling pickups in several municipalities, including Thurmont and Emmitsburg.

In Emmitsburg, the county expanded its recycling program to all homes in the Brookfield, Pembrook Woods and Emmit Ridge developments, Commissioner Chris Staiger said.

‘‘It took quite a while for this thing to finally get done," Staiger said, who along with Commissioner Glenn Blanchard inherited the town’s efforts to get curbside recycling to all areas of the town from former Commissioner Diane Walbrecker.

A previous commission had requested the removal of the town’s drop-off center because some people were dumping their garbage there. Emmitsburg residents who did not have curbside service had to drive to the Thurmont drop-off center to recycle.

The Southgate development is not a part of the county’s expansion of curbside recycling this year, Staiger said, but will be under consideration for next year.

‘‘I will talk to [county officials] about communicating with residents how to go about getting containers, and if there is anything we need to do as a municipality," Staiger said. ‘‘My guess is, knowing the county, they will take care of most of the communication."


The expansion of curbside recycling in Thurmont to Jermae Estates and Pleasant Acres means the town is now at 100 percent curbside pickup, Commissioner Ron Terpko said.

Terpko, who heads the town’s recycling committee, said the town can now move forward with an update to its trash ordinance. The new ordinance will specify which items will be accepted as trash and which items fall under recycling. The new ordinance may also make recycling of some materials, such as cardboard and paper, mandatory, Terpko said. The recycling committee is still hashing out all the details.

Terpko does not expect the ordinance to be ready to come before the town’s board of commissioners for a vote for another month, he said.

‘‘With curbside recycling throughout the entire town, we can tell trash collectors not pick up trash that has recyclable material in it," Terpko said.

Frederick County in June increased fees that municipalities pay to dump regular trash at the landfill to $59 per ton. That is $17 more per ton than what was paid in previous years. The higher fees are a result of rising costs at the landfill, which is quickly running out of space.

To find out more contact Frederick County’s recycling office at 301-696-2960 or visit

In Hampstead, Md., a town of comparable size and number of homes to Thurmont, mandatory recycling has decreased the amount of trash the town takes to the landfill considerably, Terpko said. By making recycling mandatory in Thurmont, Terpko estimates the town would save $94,000 a year in fees.

‘‘That’s 3 cents on our tax rate," Terpko said. ‘‘It could be a substantial savings to residents."

Heavy, recyclable items, such as car hoods, are among the items that the new ordinance would outlaw as trash. In addition to taking up a large amount of landfill space, such items cost the town extra money, since municipalities are charged for the weight of trash picked up.

‘‘In the Town of Thurmont, we are more than capable to implement a recycling program 100 percent," Terpko said in a June town meeting. ‘‘If everyone recycled their newspapers every week, that’s 15 pounds of paper. We could save $20,000 a year just by recycling newspapers."

Terpko said the town would be sending out another letter to residents soon explaining the county’s recycling program, and stating what types of materials are now being accepted for recycling at the county landfill.

Aluminum and steel cans, foil and pie plates, clear and colored plastic bottles, other than automotive oil or antifreeze, and paper, other than wax-coated boxes, can be placed in county-issued bins for curbside pickup.

The county will also issue extra bins, lids or carts for a fee for residents who request them.

Thurmont’s drop-off center at Eyler Road Park will remain open, Terpko said.

‘‘We have one of the largest collection areas in the county, and people for the most part really do a good job with it," Terpko said. ‘‘People really respect the program."

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government