The Garrett County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved three amendments to the county’s 10-year Solid Waste Management and Recycling Plan (2004–2014). As required by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the new regulations pertain to methods for recycling in public schools, recycling light bulbs, and recycling electronics.
Manager Dave Baker, Garrett County Department of Solid Waste and Recycling, noted that though the amendments are new state requirements, his department has already implemented them.
“They’ve been up and running for some time,” Baker said.
Kim Madigan noted that one of her first jobs as recycling coordinator for Garrett County was to start a school program.
“We’ve been recycling since 2005 in our schools,” she said.
Working in conjunction with school and board of education personnel, Madigan said it took her a little over a year to get the initiative up and running. She described the end result as “excellent.”
“I’m very proud of that program,” Madigan said.
The 10-year plan calls for Garrett County schools to collect, but are not limited to collecting, #1 and #2 plastics, cardboard, mixed paper, tin cans, aluminum cans, magazines, and newspaper. The Board of Education is responsible for picking up the materials biweekly from each school.
Garrett College is also required to collect office paper, #1 plastics, aluminum cans, toner cartridges, light bulbs, motor oil, tires, and batteries.
Madigan said her department also came up with a strategy to collect fluorescent light bulbs (4-inch lamps, 8-inch lamps, and U-tubes), compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and non PCB ballasts for recycling. That program has been in place since May 2010.
Currently the program is limited to individuals (Garrett County residents), not businesses. In addition, because of potential mercury exposure, bulbs (unbroken) are only accepted at the county landfill. The bulbs must be given to a landfill employee, who then places them in a properly ventilated 10-foot by 10-foot shed. The materials are stored in the MDE approved shed until they are ready for shipment to a recycling contractor for processing and recycling.
In the event of bulb breakage, landfill staff must contact MDE and follow guidelines set forth in the Mercury Spill Emergency Response Manual.
Baker indicated that it is currently cost prohibitive for the county to construct bulb collection sheds at all of the county’s refuse collection sites.
The county has also been accepting electronics for recycling for several years. This initiative started as a pilot program through a grant from MDE. Madigan noted that electronics are accepted at four of the county’s refuse collection/recycling sites.
More information about recycling in Garrett County is available at garrettcounty.org or by calling Madigan at 301-387-0322.