(June 21, 2018—BALTIMORE, Md.) If you think you’re doing the environment a favor by filling your recycling bin, you’re probably wrong. In Maryland, as much as a third of material set out to be recycled ends up in a landfill or incinerator. What was once a money maker for local governments is now requiring taxpayer dollars. An increase in food scraps, plastics and other materials in recycling streams has damaged industry economics.
A lack of education on what can actually be recycled is to blame, as well as the type of recycling systems where the items ultimately end up. For instance, there are some items that are recyclable, but not through single-stream sorting centers, which are used in Maryland.
“Well-meaning people might assume that detritus can just be filtered out at the recycling center — no harm, no foul. But the growing contamination of recycling streams has thrown off regional and global markets for the raw materials, perhaps eventually threatening the economic viability of single-stream recycling.”
“People are thinking they’re doing the right thing,” said Michael Taylor, director of recycling operations for the industry giant Waste Management, via an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “Our message is, when in doubt, throw it out.”
The value of recycling in Baltimore has drastically fallen over the past seven years and costs associated are continually increasing. There is potential to reverse the damage through disseminating information to the public and moving away from incinerators toward zero waste.
To learn more about recycling in Maryland, click here, for the full article in the Baltimore Sun.