Friday, October 28, 2011

At events, we share recycling information... and are inspired in return

Most weekends find Division of Solid Waste Services staff and volunteers at community fairs, festivals, and other happenings. These events give us great opportunities to bring you our displays, to give you literature and other goodies and to answer your questions about waste reduction, recycling and trash disposal.

We teach at these events, and we also learn. We get to hear about the interesting and inspiring things you and your families are accomplishing!

Last Saturday, a colleague represented our Division at Bethesda Green’s “Green Home Expo”. In chatting with an Expo visitor, she learned about Kate. Kate is a local middle school student… and a filmmaker.

When an English class assignment tasked her with reporting on her experiences about a community project, Kate focused on recycling. She wanted to show her class the importance of recycling, and the consequences of not recycling. To accomplish this, she set to work on a video, scripting, filming, and adding voiceovers and music.

Her research took her to our Recycling Center, where she filmed video segments of the Tour Room and the sorting process. She was surprised to see how many workers manually sorted recyclables passing by on swift conveyer belts. In an email interview, her mother reflected that “Kate learned that recycling at the Montgomery County Recycling Center -- with all its mechanical parts and quick hands -- is very complicated. She also learned that our role in everyday life is simple -- just put recyclable items into the right bins.

Beyond the classroom, Kate also showed the video to her church community. She didn't stop there, however. She also organized a recycling drop-off event for her church!

Come see the Recycling Center’s sorting process yourself by dropping in for a visit or scheduling a group tour.

Review what’s recyclable in Montgomery County, and refer to ourRecycling Basics flyer for a quick visual reference on what goes in your blue bin at home.

Kate, thanks for the inspiration!

How do you share recycling with your community? Send us a comment -- we love hearing about your projects!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can you recycle toilet paper rolls with little pieces of tissue?

Our Division of Solid Waste Services website covers the recycling basics, like what types of plastics we accept in our curbside recycling program, or how to prepare yard trim for weekly collection.

Talkin' Trash Reader W. sent us a set of questions. Very practical questions. The kind which has you standing there with an item in hand, scratching your head, and wondering beyond those basics, "Now what about THIS?" I confess: these are asked in our house, too! With thanks to you, W., here is the first post under a new blog tag titled "the finer points" of recycling (and trash disposal)...

W. asked:
What about the tissue left on empty toilet paper rolls - okay or will it spoil the recycle process?

Please drop those toilet paper rolls right in with your other recyclable paper items. We cannot accept paper towels, napkins, or tissues because we are concerned about receiving ones which have been used for wiping hands, noses, and messes. However, those clean little bits of towel or tissue stuck on paper towel or toilet paper rolls are fine.

For recycling basics on paper, visit our "How to recycle/dispose of paper / mixed paper" page.

What are the finer-point questions in your household? Send them our way!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Watch webinars for answers on Montgomery County's new Carryout Bag Law

Starting January 1, 2012, retail establishments in Montgomery County, Maryland which provide plastic or paper bags to customers are required to charge 5-cents a bag. Shoppers can avoid the charge—and help reduce litter in the County—by bringing their own bag for purchases.

Montgomery County’s Carryout Bag Law (8-11) is a low-cost incentive to
  • encourage shoppers to use reusable bags,
  • refuse bags for their purchases, and
  • encourage retail cashiers to ask whether a bag is even needed.
Plastic bags are consistently one of the top items found in studies of litter in Montgomery County. This Law is intended to help reduce litter in our waterways, on our streets and in our parks. Proceeds from the Carryout Bag Law go exclusively to programs that fight litter and provide stormwater pollution control in Montgomery County.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Finance are jointly hosting free half-hour Webinars to help retailers understand the County's Carryout Bag Law requirements and receive answers to their questions without leaving their workplace.

To learn more about the Carryout Bag Law, including the webinar schedule and fact sheets for residents and retailers, visit

Have questions on the Carryout Bag Tax or on the webinar content? E-mail the Department of Environmental Protection or dial 3-1-1 (240-777-0311 outside Montgomery County, MD).

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Columbus Day 2011 - normal trash and recycling collection schedule

email Subscribe to our holiday reminders (Available as wireless alerts, too!

Monday, October 10, 2011 - Columbus Day - is a regular recycling and trash collection day. All County-provided recycling and trash collections will be made on their normal schedule.

If your normal collection day is: Your collection day for the week of
October 10, 2011, is:
Monday Monday, October 10
Tuesday Tuesday, October 11
Wednesday Wednesday, October 12
Thursday Thursday, October 13
Friday Friday, October 14

If you have any questions or concerns about your County-provided collection, please call the Montgomery County Customer Service Center (MC311) at 3-1-1 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 240-773-3556)

Note: if you (or your community) have a private contract for your trash collection, or if you live in a municipality, these 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

America Recycles Day 2011 - paper shredding and household goods donation events

Celebrate America Recycles Day with us in November! Shred and recycle your confidential paper and donate clothing and household goods in working condition at our two events. Read detailed paper shredding and donation guidelines.

Saturday, November 19, 2011
10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Thomas S. Wootton High School (Bing map)
2100 Wootton Parkway
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Sunday, November 20, 2011
10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Takoma Park Middle School (Bing map)
7611 Piney Branch Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Compost bin pick-up locations

WaterShed, the University of Maryland's house, earned first place in the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon! The edible garden portion of their entry featured a composting station.

Autumn is a great time to start composting, or to expand existing composting efforts at your own home or business. Our website has information to get you started with composting. If you need a bin, check our compost bin pickup location list to find the site most convenient to you.