BALTIMORE (WMAR) — It’s been a week since Baltimore City Department of Public Works replaced curbside recycling collection with community drop offs to move all staff to trash pickup, but the transition hasn’t been as smooth as some communities would like.
"We have to recycle. The planet is in crisis in terms of the environment and we have to do what we need to do," said Federal Hill neighbor Michael Smith.
It’s clear people are willing to go the extra mile to recycle but the community collection centers have created a lot of confusion about when and where to drop things off.
In an effort to ensure timely and consistent trash pick up, all Baltimore City DPW recycling collections’ crews have been diverted to trash collection, meaning no more curbside recycling pick up. So the city started centers in each district for people to drop off their recycling.
"I know the city is making its best effort to make this all work in light of the pandemic. I think that generally neighbors are a bit confused," said Meg Murray, from the Federal Hill South Neighbor Association.
Digital Harbor High School is one of the drop off locations and the association has been trying to get the word out about the proper way to use the site.
"There is a truck, a manned truck, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday essentially for people to drop off their recycling. I don’t think that’s reached every member of the community so unfortunately we are seeing things like this where the schools' recycling dumpster is being utilized for people to dump their recycling," said Murray.
Murray said on days and times when DPW is not staffing the site, like Monday, a holiday, or after hours, residents see the “Recycling Only” sign on the dumpster so that’s where they drop things off.
"This is a grant to promote recycling within the school and they’ve actually, because of the efforts of the students and teachers, have recycled thousands and thousands of piece of bottles and cans and paper over the years," said Murray. "And unfortunately because of this situation in the community, they are at risk of losing their grant funding."
After hearing the complaints on Monday, DPW crews came out and cleaned up the recycling at the high school. Now they want to make sure people follow the drop off times. There is a location in every district and most are open with a roll-off dumpster or a trash vehicle Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.