An April 21 article by the Baltimore Sun discusses the decision of Ocean City to drop its recycling program in light of budget troubles. In lieu of recycling, the City will be shipping its recyclable trash to an incinerator in Pennsylvania. Unlike municipalities, counties are required under State law to have recycling plans. However, as the budget situation continues to remain bleak and the State considers additional unfunded mandates on local governments, such as the transfer of teacher pension costs, counties may have to consider taking similar drastic measures.
Even as towns across America expand recycling programs to meet the demands of increasingly green-minded residents, Ocean City is going against the wave. Its final pickup of cans, bottles and paper from homes and businesses will be next week.
Up to three-quarters of the nation now has access to curbside pickup, according to environmental and government groups. But the tourist town is grappling with another national trend: budget troubles. The move will save Ocean City an estimated $1 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
“This was definitely a hard decision,” said Richard Malone, deputy director of the Public Works Department, who launched the recycling program 23 years ago and pushed for its demise this month. “I can hardly describe it.”
Observers say other towns have at least considered such a move as commodity prices dropped and made programs more expensive than expected. Malone said Ocean City just couldn’t afford to recycle anymore, and the City Council voted this month to drop the program. …
Recyclables will be added to the trash and shipped to a waste-to-energy incinerator in Pennsylvania. All metals are removed from the trash at the waste-to-energy facility and recycled. Residents who still want to recycle can use nearby Worcester County drop-off facilities, town officials say.