COE agenda 8-5-15
1911 – call to action: Thomas, Gordon, Mary, me, Kim, Mark, Mike (1921), Bill
Advisory Board Changes
–Was anybody able to determine the nature of the repeals made by the Commissioners?
1911 – Thomas will follow up with Sue;
–I still have to research the Montgomery County plastic bag fee program and determine whether Trex works with Materials Recovery Facilities to obtain plastic bags and film packaging.
1914 – Thomas to follow up on “non-recyclable” plastics; Montgomery: 5 cents: 4 cents to county, 1 cents to store; will follow up with Trex who takes film plastic; will follow up with Brenda (sustainable plastics); Mark followed up with Nick to find out if transfer stations collect bags: not now as customers are asked to throw in with the rest of recyclables; Kim tried to find these answers to find out whom will take what when she worked with the schools; she wants to get info for schools and share info (CAUTION: schools used to have a separate contract from County); was told to “put it in there” and we will figure it out later; schools send out single stream; so current model looks good for school since material moves out of schools as recyclables; but she would like to know if it is really being recycled; Thomas thought rounded numbers from Waste Management was suspect; Green School program is critical to local effort; also ambiguous what is allowed in the single stream;
Facility Tours/CoE Field Trips!
–At the last meeting, we discussed touring a recycling facility, and after the meeting, Brad and Gordon sent me the following link: http://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/Recycling/RecyclingFacilityTours.aspx
These would be tours of the recycling plants at Capital Heights and Elkridge, noting that Baltimore’s single stream material is processed at the Elkridge facility. George Erichsen mentioned a composting facility in Howard County, and upon researching this more, I found a link with more tours: http://www.howardcountymd.gov/toursandpresentations.htm
We can discuss which facilities we would like to tour at the meeting.
1929 – Field Trips – last meeting discussed touring a recycling facility; tour for what is acceptable, what is not, and what happens to residual; Brad and Gordon sent link to Baltimore tours: included Elkridge and Capitol Heights; Baltimore sends to Elkridge; George Erichsen who had previously mentioned composting facility in Howard County which also has tours (Alpha Ridge Landfill);
will send out email for interest for tours; possible tour Elkridge and composting operation; discussed fact sheet:
Howard County Food Scrap and Yard Trim
What is happening:
• Howard County is opening an $800,000 pilot composting facility
at the Alpha Ridge landfill in Marriottsville.
• Built to best-practice standards for odor and run-off control, the
facility will process yard trim and food scraps, and turn it into a
valuable commodity that will be sold on-site.
• The Alpha Ridge Composting Facility allows the county to double
the size of its curbside collection program, which is the most
extensive and most successful in the State of Maryland. Later
this year, food scrap collection will be expanded so that 10,000
homes in Elkridge and Columbia will be able to participate in the
• Howard County estimates that 10,000 pounds of food scraps per week will soon be
diverted from the waste stream.
Benefits of food scrap and yard trim recycling:
• The cost of disposing of residential household waste is $41.50 per ton. A private
contractor plans to charge Howard County $65 per ton to haul food scrap and yard trim
to a processing center in Delaware.
• By comparison, the net cost of transporting and processing food scraps and yard trim at
the Howard County processing facility will be about $38.50 per ton. (Net cost means cost
of collections, transport and processing, minus revenues from sale of finished product.)
• Additionally, food scraps that are ground in residential garbage disposals and sent
through the sanitary sewer system for processing are expensive to remove – costing
about $350 per ton.
• Food scrap collection will also raise public awareness about the amount of food that
families throw away every year. Estimates show that U.S. families dispose of $2,275 in
food every year which they do not eat before it spoils.
Protects the environment:
• Potential to reduce household waste stream by 25 percent.
• Reduces greenhouse gases created when food scraps decompose in landfills and
• Creates a valuable end-product and jobs: A study shows that composting creates twice
as many jobs than landfills, and four times as many jobs as trash incinerators.
• The end product, compost, is a great soil amendment that returns nutrients to the soil,
produces healthy plants, and reduces reliance on fossil-fuel based fertilizers, pesticides
and herbicides. Compost can also absorb four to five times its weight in water, reducing
Chesapeake Bay run-off.
How it works:
• Residents provided with separate bin for fruits, vegetables, bread and baked goods, egg
shells, pasta, rice, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper towels, pizza boxes.
• Not allowed: meat and fish; fats oils and grease; pet waste; diapers.
• Bin set out weekly, same day as yard trim pickup and regular recycling.
• Food scraps and yard waste taken to Composting Facility and debagged and put through
• The ground materials is placed in piles, with a state-of-the-art odor control system.
• Piles are covered and turned.
• In 75 days, end product is fully cured, stable, ready to be put on garden
• Compost to be sold for $19/cubic yard; mulch will be sold for $20/cubic yard and topsoil
will be sold for $23/cubic yard.
• Can accommodate 10,000 homes – with an estimated diversion of 10,000 pounds of
food waste per week, based on current participation rate
Kim would want to find out what members of the community are already doing this on a larger scale; or check with organic farmer; is there a community partnership to start grass roots support; concerned about hauling costs? (thought we going to process locally?) Most important to find a site to show people how; (disconnect – will be discussed in composting item); may be possible if we could knock out two tours in one day;
–I will be meeting with college students in the near future to recruit members for the Sustainable MD Green Team. Once we have some more members, we will move forward with the certification process.
1939 – will be happening soon; will try to have Green Team present to the college; SMCM moving to “Environmental Studies” as a major (previously only a minor); Laschelle McKay is interested (Mary had called her – Hayden is trying to get off boards right now);
Long Range Transportation Plan
–Is it too late to turn in the questionnaire? If not, where can I turn it in?
1941 – Bill says you can still turn in questionnaire (email to him); need a bicycle advocate (left at Mike’s Bike, and Thomas will get in touch with Jesse Carrington as the lead of Pax Velo); County is finishing the Lexington Park Development plan which includes complete streets; need somebody to advocate; Thomas may contact Mark Dale of World Gym of Wildewood; Thomas is suggesting increase number of buses and parking; car pooling is lacking even for close neighbors with similar schedules; try to increase car pooling (create incentive); parking garage (three stories); we have a lot of people from Charles and Calvert;
–I have been corresponding with George Erichsen, Director of PW&T for St. Mary’s County, and Brett Darcey, a VP for a local defense contractor. George indentified the aforementioned Howard County facility at Alpha Ridge Landfill as a good model for our county. I was not aware of this facility, but it seems like exactly what we want to see here. They compost yard trimmings and food waste using aerated, covered static piles, similar to the facility in Vermont that originally peaked my interest.
I will be meeting with the student that plans to research the feasibility of having a composting facility in our area and producing a cost-benefit analysis. I plan to have her read the following reports that Brenda Platt sent me:
I will also have her research the Howard County facility and compare and contrast Howard and St. Mary’s Counties.
Brett Darcey is on the BRAC committee and feels that having support from the Base could prove beneficial for our project as well as for the Base. He interned for John Bohanan and has remained close with him since. We will be meeting with Mr. Bohanan to discuss strategies for moving forward, but in the meantime, he recommended forming a task force to provide political coverage for the Commissioners and spread awareness to residents. I asked George Erichsen about the process, and he said that the CoE could act as the task force rather than having the Commissioners formalize one. I am not sure when I should announce this to the Commissioners, but will determine that soon.
1950 – been back and forth with George Erichsen; came in a few meetings ago to discuss short/medium/long goals for BoCC; got him to bump up composting research from long term to short term; George had identified the Howard County program; Prince Georges is making “Leaf Gro” which is sold throughout the state; Howard is using the model like the one he toured in Vermont; he likes this model vice the giant machines and air blowers which use fossil fuels; wants research by college student to compare models; he will meet with her next Tuesday and he will turn over reports; one report includes Maryland specific information; will also take up Brenda Platt of the Institute to present; Howard County is on ¾ acres but able to produce a lot for a low cost of $800,000; can handle 10,000 homes in Elkridge; save money by reducing cost by lowering waste transfer rates; will not make money but will save money on landfill costs; George mentioned that there is an unused lot “c” at St. Andrews Landfill; should be road accessible; St. Mary’s has between 35,000 – 40,000; the County had considered doing a pickup of food and yard waste (similar to Howard County – but need to investigate the actual model); Howard County waste money comes out of the taxes and runs a pretty hard program; having a composting facility might be motivation to start the household pickup; was trying to estimate the collection of the existing yard waste (seemed very small); looking for other sources of “brown” waste (maybe tree trimming companies like SMECO); so Thomas explained that Brenda Platt would help St. Mary’s start small and local; most farmers tend to keep things on the farm; not sure if individuals compost for their own use; Kim and Mike both think farmers are well versed with conservation; may need to check with large farmers to see what their needs or experience could yield; Base is another source (buddy Brett is looking into it); Thomas started food waste at St. Mary’s College; and Public Schools; and grocery stores and restaurants; one of the shortfalls could be too much food waste; place in Vermont purchases some 1500 yards of wood chips a year to supplement; Kim wants to know if other programs are mandatory; talked about restaurant oil recycling; Thomas talked about Valley Proteins; used to charge for the oil pickup and now they pay for a small fee; could be County wide to be successful; needs to be something that is a big ticket items; total new train of thoughts; students did projects to measure how much was thrown out in a restaurant in a single day; single stream is lulling us into laziness; Germany is a great example; good place to start is mandatory recycling is for local businesses; College sends vans up to Green Door on large party nights; Thomas would like to setup recycling bins and the last pickup would pick up bins; Thomas will follow up with BoCC about formalizing a “task force”; Bill recommended contact the Department directory, Phil Shire; Mark recommended that college student do basic research before forwarding request for “task force”; discussion about how to present to Commissioners and general Commission goals; Gordon – why do you want to do this?
2059 – Kim asked about other major topics??? Other than composting… plastic bags and shrink wrap.. and long range recycling plan.. any impact for “rain tax”; what is the other purview?
Wheelabrator Incinerator in Baltimore
–Gordon sent me this link:
http://www.wtienergy.com/plants/waste-to-energy/wheelabrator-baltimore/index.html, which discusses the incinerator in Baltimore. While the fish-raising seems to be beneficial, I read up and found that the incinerator produces more mercury, lead, and Greenhouse gases than either of the 4 largest coal plants in the state.