Ocean City Today

County recycling totals increase

By Brian Gilliland | Apr 05, 2018

(April 6, 2018) In 2013, Worcester County’s recycling rate was 29 percent and in 2016, the rate was 24.5 percent, according to Public Works Director John Tustin.

Now, however, the county has rebounded from this slump with a rate of 33.16 percent for 2017, Tustin said.

The county must produce a tonnage reporting survey each year because of the Maryland Recycling Act reporting requirements. Each year, the county must submit this report to the Maryland Department of the Environment for review by the end of March.

Tustin called last year’s recycling rate the highest it’s been in at least a decade, and credits Recycling Coordinator Mike McClung with the increase.

“McClung … has sought additional private business’ inclusion in the recycling program,” Tustin said. “It was also Mike’s initiative and recommendation to no longer accept and recycle televisions and other electronic devices, saving the county about $60,000 per year.”

Collecting and disposing of such devices costs the county money, rather than saving it, Tustin said.

At the central landfill, Worcester County collected a little more than 28,800 tons of approved recycling materials last year. At 65th Street in Ocean City, about 35,400 tons were collected. Both facilities collected almost 112,000 total tons of combined waste last year.

Commissioner Ted Elder asked Tustin how much non-recycling waste ended up in the recycling containers, to which Tustin replied it was between 30 to 40 percent.

“They’re being abused,” Tustin said.

Tustin stopped short of suggesting having the stations monitored, as they are in Wicomico County via security cameras, since he was unsure of how effective it would be.

Tustin said it would cost about $3,000 per camera, not to mention the time and effort to monitor and enforce dumping regulations at the recycling centers.

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