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Trash & Recycling Plans Advance

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

Waste not, want not

(5/18) Though Thurmont residents have trash pick-up once a week, they could soon see BFI garbage trucks in town five days a week.

"They would divide the town into zones and still collect it once a week," said Thurmont Commissioner Ron Terpko. "It would be less costly. They would only need one person per truck, no overtime and fewer runs."

Terpko and members of the town's recycling commission met with representatives from BFI, the town's garbage contractor, on May 10. BFI will prepare proposals for a twice a week pick-up and five times a week pick-up. The commissioners can then decide whether or not to accept one of the proposals.

Recycling

Another change coming for residents is the introduction of mandatory recycling, beginning July 1. The blue recycling bins are available from Frederick County Recycling by calling (301) 696-2960.

The meeting with BFI followed a May 3 recycling commission meeting where members reviewed the proposed solid waste and recycling ordinance.

According to the proposed ordinance, "It shall be unlawful to combine the above designated, unsoiled recyclables with other solid waste." Corrugated cardboard, newspaper and mixed paper, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and grass clippings and leaves must be set out for a separate curbside collection.

Failure to recycle can result in a $50 fine for each offense and the recycling commission has already recommended the town hire a part-time ordinance enforcement officer.

Bulk trash

The recycling commission had considered asking that Thurmont's monthly bulk trash pick-up be changed to quarterly. In the end, they decided to recommend continuation of the monthly pick-up. One bulk item - washers, dryers, refrigerators, furniture - will be picked up per residence. Additional items will be picked up if they have bulk trash stickers, which cost $10 per item.

Yard waste

With the county landfill no longer taking yard waste, the town will collect yard waste every other Saturday at the wastewater treatment plant. There will be three collection dates beginning Saturday, May 20 from 8 a.m. to noon. The town will mulch the yard waste.

Mayor Burns said the advantage of doing this is, "It's going to save on our tipping fees."

The commissioners have been trying to find ways to reduce the high disposal costs for town waste. Reducing the amount of waste is the easiest way. Grass clipping pick-up has already proven successful for the town and the commissioners are hopeful the extra expense incurred to collect and mulch yard waste will be more than offset by the savings in disposal costs.

"You've got to start somewhere," Terpko said. "This may work. This may not work."

Apartment waste

The commissioners will also be requiring apartment complexes to contract for their waste disposal. Not only does the cost of waste disposal for apartments eat up most of the property tax revenues the town receives from the apartments, nearly all municipalities treat rental units as business operations and require them to arrange their own collections.

While many changes are coming with regards to trash disposal, Burns said it would be worth it.

"If you have to be inconvenienced a little bit for us to save thousands, deal with it," Burns said.

While there are still bugs to be worked out with all the changes, Burns said BFI and the town office are the first places to call. Then call Terpko or Burns.

"Hopefully, we can resolve how to do it and have everything in place 100 percent up and running by July 1," Terpko said.

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