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Harford County Recycling Ranks 2nd in Maryland

Harford County now trails Montgomery County in recycling in Maryland, officials said.

Harford County has seen a 40 percent increase in recycling since its first full year of running a single-stream program, starting in 2011.

But even with the increase, the county has dropped from No. 1 in Maryland to No. 2, officials said Tuesday. Harford's 59 percent participation rate is trailed only by Montgomery County, according to county recycling officials. 

“We can out-do them. Let’s make that a goal,” Council President Billy Boniface said Tuesday after viewing a presentation on the program.

Boniface added: “You guys have probably one of the most important programs in the county.”

Check out the PDF version of a slideshow with this post, which includes many facts and figures about Harford County's program.

Four county staff members—Tom Hilton, Deputy Director of Environmental Services; Jeff Smithberger, Chief of Solid Waste; Bob Ernst, Recycling Program Manager; and Jessica Green, Recycling Program Coordinator—were on hand at Tuesday's council meeting to preset the results of the county-wide recycling program. 

January is one of the busier months for yard waste recycling in the county. 

"We take this material into the facility in street at no charge and process quite a bit of that material, especially at this time of the year, because we take in Christmas trees," Smithberger said.

In 2011, residents recycled 25,000 Christmas trees. See more figures in the slideshow.

Following the presentation, Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti said: "It does my heart good driving through the community and seeing the recycling bins so big and the trash bins so small."

The 59 percent rate is compiled by adding a 55 percent waste diversion rate with 4 percent waste reduction credits, according to the presentation.

Each municipality within the county—Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace—manages its own recycling program.

TELL US: Do you recycle? What steps have you taken to reduce your waste output? Leave a comment.

Brian Ferri January 17, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Why aren't we recycling newspapers and junk mail?
Bruce January 17, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Recycling should be required, and should be expanded to other items as well. Having lived in Germany for quite some time, almost everything is recycled, and there are recycling collection points with 40 foot containers where the public can pull up their car and dump cardboard, junk mail, newspapers, plastic, cans, light bulbs, hazardous materials, oil, etc...
JGreen January 17, 2013 at 08:21 PM
You can! Both newspapers & junkmail are accepted in the curbside single stream recycling program
julio perla January 18, 2013 at 12:53 PM
My recycling barrel is much bigger than my regular trash. I'm happy with that. But I have to throw things in the trash like batteries and those new light bulbs (that do not last for years!) in the trash because I have no choice, and that upsets me.
JGreen January 18, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Glad to hear about all your recycling :) It's true one time use batteries are difficult to recycle at this point (hopefully in the future that will change!) however, rechargable batteries are recyclable and can be used between 600-1000 times before having to get new ones. They can be brought to the Harford Waste Disposal Center or there are a number of retailers that accept them (check out www.call2recycle.org to find the closets free drop-off for you) CFL bulbs & fluroescent tubes are also recycled at the Harford Waste Disposal Center in Street and can be dropped off for free (if you have other items that cannot be recycled like trash, then a fee applies) or I believe Home Depot & Lowes will take them back for recycled, but call them first to confirm. Hope this helps!

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