SNOW HILL – The recycling rate in Worcester County went up again in 2007, with 34 percent of trash recycled.
In 2006, Worcester Countians recycled 32.5 percent of their trash, staff reported this week, compared to 34 percent in 2007.
“Residential recycling has picked up,” said Public Works Director John Tustin.
Recycling Coordinator Ron Taylor said the recycling rate is about as high as it will go.
“It’s getting better,” Taylor said. “As long as we don’t have a curbside program, which isn’t going to happen because of the cost, it’s not going to get much better.”
Ocean City recycles about 10 percent of its waste, Snow Hill 8 percent to 9 percent, Berlin about 9 percent and Pocomoke City about 5 percent, said Taylor. He did not have exact figures for Ocean Pines, but reckoned that the community recycles about 10 percent of its trash.
“It’s really tough to tell with Ocean Pines because we have an independent contractor to pick up trash,” said Taylor.
Recycling costs are substantially defrayed by the sale of the materials collected. Keeping thousands of tons of materials out of the landfill keeps Worcester County from having to build expensive new landfill cells as often, also a savings.
Worcester County has earned $85,000 from the sale of recycled materials in the last three months, putting county recycling on track to earn $340,000 in 2008. Some prices for recyclables have risen, Tustin said.
Recycling efforts are funded through the landfill enterprise fund, which earns money through tipping fees and sales of recyclables. Money from the county general fund is not used.
In 2007, from both residential and commercials sources, Worcester County recycled 5,759 tons of paper; 3,506 tons of metals; 1,060 tons of glass; and 168 tons of plastic.
Eighty tons of electronics also were recycled as well as 251 tons of textiles and 239 tons of drywall.
The Worcester County recycling report also lists 21,300 tons of chicken manure, 335 tons of straw bedded manure and 728 tons of hatchery byproducts, but those materials are not recycled by the county, instead being recycled directly by the farmer as fertilizer.
Overall, Worcester County recycled 108,365 tons of trash last year.
“People need to make an effort. If they want recycling in their neighborhood, they need to ask their homeowners’ association to encourage whoever picks up the trash to pick up recyclables,” Taylor said.