Members of the Solid Waste Work Group, formed by Carroll County Commissioner Doug Howard in the spring, reported to the county commissioners Tuesday with recommendations for initiatives to help the county significantly reduce solid waste and expenses.
"Citizens are starting to become more concerned about waste," the work group's co-chair Don West said. "They are interested in where it's going."
In 2009, the previous board of at McKinney Industrial Park in Frederick. The plant would burn trash to generate electricity for approximately 45,000 homes between the two counties.
That plan had the two counties sharing in the construction costs, estimated at about $500 million, with Carroll County taking on about $200 million. Currently, Carroll County pays to haul much of its trash to Pennsylvania.
The current board of Carroll County commissioners has requested that Frederick County look for another partner. In March, Howard created the Solid Waste Work Group that was charged with exploring other solid waste reduction options for Carroll County.
The work group made its final report on Tuesday.
Karen Leatherwood, the work group's co-chair, said the county is already taking some appropriate steps including single stream recycling. She added that separating yard waste at the Northern Landfill is also an effective strategy in keeping materials out of the landfill.
West said that the Work Group worked toward a long-range waste reduction goal of 80 percent by 2018.
Commissioner Haven Shoemaker asked West if he thinks that is a realistic goal.
West responded, "Yes I do … it’s not just recycling, there’s a lot more that goes into it but I do think it’s achievable."
West said it would be challenging but added that there are jurisdictions that are getting close to 80 percent waste reduction around the country and the recommendations made by the Work Group should help Carroll County achieve the goal.
Leatherwood explained that "reduction" is referring to two things: reduction in the amount of waste being buried in the landfill or shipped out of state and waste that is diverted such as recyclables or composted materials.
The ultimate goal is for Carroll County to be waste independent which means the county takes care of all of its own solid waste--no solid waste is shipping out of county.
Recommendations made by the Work Group:
- Education is key according to West. West said educating citizens and businesses about how to dispose of solid waste and the resources available for disposing of solid waste is half the battle.
- Change the name of the Northern Landfill to the Carroll County Resource Recovery Park. This would include expanding the facility to accept more items, possibly offering land for composting and encouraging creative ideas for resource usage and recovery.
- Offer more recycling bins and toters to citizens.
- Volume based billing or pay as you throw at the Northern Landfill.
- Add remote recycling drop off locations around the county.
- Offer multi-family unit recycling.
- Encourage residential composting.
In the presentation Leatherwood explained that there are many reasons to pursue solid waste reduction programs including to save money, to create jobs locally, to conserve resources and to protect the environment.
Commissioner Robin Frazier said she would like to see this provide opportunities for local entrepreneurs to develop new products in biomass and energy industries.
"We can try to attract people in the private sector ... could encourage people who have a new idea by giving them some space and allowing them to develop their products," Frazier said.
"We’re very optimistic. We’d like to see Carroll County be a leader in some of these things too," West said.
"We believe very strongly that the county would save a tremendous amount of money going this route," West said. "Even if you don’t want to do everything, you could pick and choose and we feel lke you will save money from the get go."
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