Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fun find in the compost pile

Found in one of my compost piles:

T-shirt tags attached to thread

Some years ago, I came across the perfect white cotton t-shirt. The fabric was soft and comfortable, the fit was great, and I wore it often. Over time, holes developed. I mended what I could.

The day came when I had to declare the shirt ready for the rag pile. Reluctantly, I pulled out the scissors, and cut my t-shirt into a number of cloth wipes. The wipes served us well, helping us to clean dishes and mop up spills.

Even wipes wear out. When the holes got too big, I added the pieces of cloth to a compost pile in the backyard.

As I turned the pile this spring, the item in the picture got caught up in my pitchfork. I'm used to finding all sorts of hidden treasures in with the composting yard trim, but what was this?!

Thread... a tag... Of course! These were the remains of my t-shirt. At least, what I had in my hands was what was left of the shoulder seam: while the t-shirt fabric was 100% cotton - and had completely decomposed - the thread and tag were apparently not!

Happy composting, and... discovering!

Read more about how to get started with composting yard trim (not necessarily t-shirts, though they do count as a carbon-rich ingredient!).

Need a compost bin? Visit our list of compost bin pickup locations, newly updated for Spring 2010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 - modified trash and recycling collection schedule

Monday, May 31, 2010 - Memorial Day - is a recycling and trash collection holiday. After the holiday, all County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide and be one day later than normal.

If your normal collection day is: Your collection day for the week of
May 31, 2010, is:
Monday Tuesday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday Thursday
Thursday Friday
Friday Saturday

If you have any questions or concerns about your County-provided collection, please contact our Customer Service staff online or call 240-777-6410.

If you (or your community) have a private contract for your trash collection, or if you live in a municipality, our schedule announcements may not apply to your trash service -- check with your hauler or community manager.

Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station

Poolesville Beauty Spot

New Beauty Spot hours are in effect, beginning January 2, 2010: 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

New collection trucks run on compressed natural gas

What's unique about the newest recycling and trash trucks used by our contracted hauling companies? They are fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). In fact, they are the first CNG solid waste collection vehicles in Maryland!

We have 20 CNG trucks on the road right now. They are serving neighborhoods in Bethesda and Silver Spring/Kemp Mill. Our contractors expect to add another 21 CNG trucks to their fleets in Fall 2010.

Why CNG? One of the benefits is that these vehicles create less pollution than conventional diesel-fueled trucks.

Here's a side view of a CNG recycling truck at Montgomery County's Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station:

side view of recycling truck at compressed natural gas fueling  station

Photo credit: G.A. Corrick

Here's the same truck from the rear. It has a "split hopper" design: the left compartment holds commingled recyclables -- the items you set out in your blue bins -- and the right compartment holds mixed paper.

rear view of recycling truck at compressed natural gas fueling  station

Photo credit: G.A. Corrick

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What happens when your paper recycling cart is damaged?

Let’s face it. Recycling containers get a workout. Your paper recycling cart may develop a broken
  • lid
  • lift bar
  • wheel, or
  • body
What happens next? Call Montgomery County's Customer Service Center at 311 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 301-251-4850) for a repair. Our Customer Service staff will schedule a Thursday appointment with you.

If we receive your request before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, we can add you to our list for that week. Otherwise, we'll give you an appointment for Thursday of the next week.

What’s special about carts and Thursdays? It’s our cart repair day! If the problem(s) can be fixed, we’ll do that. And, if the cart is beyond repair, we’ll give you a replacement.

We ask you to set your cart at the curb empty. This allows our staff to work on your cart easily. A full cart can weigh over 200 pounds, which is why recycling collection vehicles have a mechanical lift to empty them. Our cart-repairers do not have lifts or the truck they would need to transport any paper they took with them.

When arriving at your address, we first assess the “patient.” This cart has two problems. Can you spot them?
Checking cart to identify the problems needing repair
Photo credit: R. Birndorf
After the diagnosis, surgery begins!
Tools and repair supplies on truck gate
Photo credit: R. Birndorf
First, the team gives the lid hinge a new pin.
Inserting new hinge pin
Photo credit: R. Birndorf
The mechanical lift hooks on to the metal bar on the front of the cart. Remember how heavy those full carts can be? Sometimes, the lift bar simply starts to give. Here, it’s swapped out for a new, straight bar.
Removing bent lift bar from paper recycling cart
Photo credit: J. Buhl
Voila! This cart is good as new, ready to receive many more pounds of paper from its owners!
Repaired paper recycling cart
Photo credit: J. Buhl

Friday, May 07, 2010

Are churches, and programs they host, required to recycle?

From our mailbag:

“Are Churches and businesses run on their facilities (Childrens' programs - schools and day care) required to comply with SORRT?”

Thanks for your question, B. To clarify for everyone, SORRT – Smart Organizations Reduce and Recycle Tons - is our non-residential recycling program. All non-residential properties in Montgomery County, regardless of type or size, are required to recycle all mandatory materials in accordance with Executive Regulation 15-04AM. This includes churches.

Our Business Recycling Handbook, available in English, as well as Chinese and Spanish, is a comprehensive resource for planning, starting, and maintaining a recycling program at non-residential properties.

We’re happy to provide advice and assistance by phone or in person, too! For more information, or to schedule a visit, please call the SORRT Program Office at 240-777-6486.

Gabriela Monzon-Reynolds
Manager, Business Recycling SORRT Program

Thursday, May 06, 2010

From branches to mulch

The numbers are in!

In March, we felt the aftermath of this winter’s snow storms at our Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, where we grind branches and woody vegetation into mulch.

During March 2009, we produced 2,428 tons of mulch. During March 2010, we produced over 17,552 tons — over seven times as much!

Need any mulch for your yard or other projects? We have lots available our Neighborhood Mulch Preserves.