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 Let’s all take charge

Dianne Walbrecker

(10/18) Blue recycling bins on a Friday morning along the back alleys and the sidewalks of Emmitsburg. As the sun rises, blue bins can be spotted here and there, but no one could claim that the town’s streets are a sea of blue Friday mornings. In some areas, several houses in a row sport the bins piled high with cans, bottles, plastic and bundles with newspaper and cardboard. Then you can pass eight or ten homes in a row without a bin in sight.

An unscientific survey of the town’s recycling during the last collection day in September showed that neighborhoods with the greatest percentage of recycling to the least were: Frailey Road, Northgate, Pembrook Woods, East and West Lincoln, Brookfield, DePaul, North Seton, Emmit Gardens, Silo Hill, Welty and Southgate.

While there are many factors that can affect a neighborhood recycling rate, by taking advantage of recycling, residents can help lower the cost of their quarterly garbage bill. A residential garbage bill is partially based on a tipping fee, a charge billed to the town based on how much garbage is hauled to Frederick. When Emmitsburg is charged the tipping fee, it is divided by the number of households in town and added to the $31 per quarter trash fee.

Over the last two years, the tipping fee per customer has ranged from a low of $11.47 to a high of $18.31. The overall tipping fee at the Frederick County Landfill increased from $59 per ton to $71 per ton on July 1, so the per-household tipping fee will increase as well.

One neighborhood that should soon get a chance to “show its stuff” is Southgate. The subdivision next to the town office is being considered for addition to Frederick County’s Recycling Program at a meeting of the county commissioners on Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Winchester Hall.

Lee Campbell, a resident of Mountaineers Way in Southgate, said, “My husband and I talked about it and we will definitely recycle once we have the opportunity. In fact, several other people in the neighborhood are excited about it too.”

Michael Marschner, Director, Frederick County Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, believes that more residents will recycle once single-stream recycling is implemented in the county. This will be possible once the new transfer station is built on Reich’s Ford Road, anticipated for July 2008. The county’s recycling program is also looking at other options for increasing the recycling rate, including supplying residents with 64-gallon totes instead of the blue bins now in use and decreasing the number of pickups.

“We can’t keep hauling our trash out of the county. Recycling is a vital component, along with a waste-to-energy facility, and source reduction, of beginning to address that problem,” Marschner said.

One important way that businesses are contributing to source reduction is the reusable canvas bags offered for a nominal fee by Jubilee and donated by the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association at its recent Green Forum. Rich Boyd, Jubilee Foods Manager, said he is pleased with how many people are using the bright orange bags. Customers like them because they stand up when packed with groceries, they are easy to fold and store, the handles are sturdy, the bags can hold more than the white plastic bags, and customers receive a refund of 3 cents for every reusable bag in which their groceries are packed. Marschner points out that the low-grade plastic used in white grocery bags is almost impossible to recycle and encourages use of canvas bags.

Libby Briggs, president of the EBPA, encourages citizens to come to Green Forum II on Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. at the town office.

What can you recycle in town?

Acceptable items for both curbside program and the dropoff locations are:

  • Aluminum, steel and bimetal cans

  • All plastic bottles except motor oil/antifreeze bottles, no lids

  • All glass bottles and jars, any color, no lids

Items that must be tied in bundles, placed in paper bags or similar sized container no larger then 18 gallons:

  • Newspapers

  • Phone Books

  • Mixed paper (junk mail, writing paper, envelopes, catalogs, glossy inserts, paperback books,

  • Magazines, small catalogues and boxboard)

  • Corrugated cardboard-must be flattened and no larger then 2.5 feet square (no wax coated boxes)

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