Baltimore County residents in 2012 recycled the most household trash in the program’s 20-year history, but it was still only a fraction of the trash that’s dumped into landfills or burned in incinerators.
More than 52,500 tons of recyclables were collected last year, about 1,200 tons more than what was collected in 2011.
Today Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz ballyhooed this fact at the Catonsville Public Library, noting that recycling saved the county nearly $3 million in annual costs.
It costs about $57 to dispose of a ton of trash, according to Kamenetz’s press office, with most of it going into landfills that are filling up and driving up costs. Last year, the county picked up 314,000 tons of residential trash.
The county executive traveled to Catonsville today because the town and neighboring Oella have the highest curbside recycling rates in the county (27.6% last year and 31.7% during the month of December).
How does Baltimore City compare to that?
According to the Department of Public Works website, 26,000 tons of recyclable material were collected in 2010. On the other hand, DPW collected 147,000 tons of trash.
That places the city’s recycling rate of 15% slightly above the county’s overall rate of 14%, but still far below DPW’s goal of 35% recycling.
In addition to saving costs, recycling decreases the emission of greenhouse gases, preserves natural resources and reduces dependence on landfills and incineration.
Supplementing the collection of paper, cardboard, glass and recyclable plastics at curbside, are a number of “drop-off centers” for residents to take scrap metal, hard plastics, Styrofoam and many household hazardous wastes.