OC Exempted From Mandatory Recycling Law

OCEAN CITY — A bill in the Maryland General Assembly that will provide an exemption for the countless condominiums and apartment buildings in Ocean City from placing mandatory recycling bins on their properties passed late Monday just before the session expired.

Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring the owners or property managers of condominiums or apartment complexes of 10 or more units across Maryland to provide curbside recycling containers for their residents and visitors. The bill required the recycling facilities be in place by October 2014 and included all condos and apartment buildings in the state, including Ocean City.

However, in 2010, the town of Ocean City abandoned traditional curbside recycling in favor of a new, more cost-efficient program in which solid waste including most recyclables are trucked to a company near Philadelphia where the waste is incinerated to create a renewable energy source. To that end, Senator Jim Mathias (D-38) earlier in March introduced a bill that would provide an exemption for Ocean City from the state’s recycling program for condominiums and apartment complexes.

“The original legislation would require all of the condos and apartment houses in Ocean City with 10 or more units, of which there are hundreds, to provide recycling containers somewhere on the property by 2014,” said Mathias this week. “Because Ocean City doesn’t have a traditional recycling program, but instead has gone to a successful waste-to-energy program, the law simply wasn’t practical here. The original law would require recycled materials to be hauled to the 65th Street facility where it would end up co-mingling with the regular solid waste anyway.”

Mathias said requiring the countless condominiums and apartment buildings in the resort to provide on-site recycling facilities wouldn’t be practical from a variety of standpoints.

“Many of those building don’t have the space or the setbacks available for enough parking and dumpsters and landscaping and everything else that is required by the code in the first place,” he said. “To require them to provide big recycling bins on top of everything else would be onerous, especially when the recyclable goods would be sent to the incinerator plant in Philadelphia with the rest of the town’s solid waste anyway.”

The bill exempting Ocean City from mandatory curbside recycling breezed through the Senate by a unanimous 47-0 vote back on March 21 and the House passed the legislation by a 114-25 vote on Monday near the end of the 2013 session.

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