The Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM) is putting local businesses in the spotlight with two fall programs that focus on local commercial recycling and waste reduction activities. The outreach efforts are intended to provide resources for businesses that would like to reduce their disposable waste stream and also to provide recognition for those that are already operating with a ―green‖ mindset.
Between September 1 and October 12, 2011 any local business, non-profit or public sector entity can be nominated for the County’s Business Waste Reduction and Recycling Award program. This annual award recognizes the efforts of organizations that have taken steps to reduce their impact on the waste stream, through preventative waste reduction practices or integrated waste management strategies. Examples of waste-preventative business practices include ordering supplies in bulk, distributing pay stubs electronically or avoiding disposable items where possible. While such front-end tactics can reduce the amount of waste generated, other strategies, such as equipment and supply reuse, materials exchange programs, composting and recycling, divert valuable resources that would have otherwise been disposed.
According to DWSM Superintendent Phil Harris, in 2010, almost 160,000 tons of waste were generated in Frederick County and sent for landfill disposal; local businesses contributed roughly half of that amount. Harris notes, ―"While much attention has been given to residential recycling in recent years, this awards program is part of our ongoing effort to promote integrated solid waste management practices to the local business community. We are committed to helping local business leaders recycle more and waste lessand to demonstrate that such practices are not only environmentally sustainable but are also economically feasible."
For businesses interested in establishing or improving a recycling program, the County is conducting a free, day-long forum on October 5, 2011; the purpose of the program is summed up in its title, Working Together: Helping Businesses Recycle. The goal is to provide attendees with information and resources for creating a recycling program that meets their particular needs. Dialogue will be facilitated to help identify and reduce perceived barriers to beginning a commercial recycling program.
To address concerns specific to individual sectors—such as retail, hospitality or multi-family housing—attendees will be able to converse with local business leaders who have already incorporated recycling into their enterprise as well as learn from regional recycling experts. Richard Anderson, principal consultant of CQI Associates, will present information on how recycling cooperatives were created in Howard County to assist businesses in arranging recycling collection service in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Local waste hauling companies that offer recycling collection will also be on hand to discuss the existing array of available services. Complete information for both the business awards program and the recycling forum are available on the county’s website, www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/BusinessRecycle. Applications for the award may be downloaded online and submitted by fax or mail. Those interested in attending the forum may register online; there is no cost to attend, but space is limited, so advance registration is required.
These programs are being administered by the Department of Solid Waste Management, in conjunction with The Frederick County Office of Economic Development, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, City of Frederick Economic Development and the Downtown Frederick Partnership. The Department of Solid Waste Management regularly assists businesses in developing waste reduction and recycling programs by providing technical assistance and outreach support. For more information on commercial recycling and waste reduction opportunities, contact Dave Helmecki, the county’s Commercial Recycling Program Coordinator, at 301-600-7404 or by email to DHelmecki@FrederickCountyMD.gov.