Committee Tables Recycling, Composting Program Idea

OCEAN CITY – An organization’s plans to reintroduce a recycling program in Ocean City were delayed by a resort committee this week.

On Wednesday, Go Green OC founder Josh Chamberlain came before the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, to make his case for a recycling and composting program in Ocean City.

Chamberlain said the organization’s goal is to reintroduce a traditional recycling program in Ocean City, end trash incineration and move toward zero waste through composting.

“When people ask why I started Go Green OC, my answer is simple,” he said. “As a father to two young boys, I recognize the environmental challenges they will be facing. My generation and certainly the generation before me have absolutely destroyed this planet … It is my responsibility, not only as a community member, but as a human being, to say I care to do something about it.”

Chamberlain told the committee his organization wanted to see the Town of Ocean City submit a request for information on a recycling and compost program and learn more about trash incineration. Currently, the town uses an incineration company, Covanta4Recovery, that turns solid waste into energy. The town collects all trash, which is then taken to a energy resource recovery facility in Chester, Pa. and transformed into steam and then electricity.

“Go Green has a big problem with waste incineration,” he said.

Chamberlain added the town could also take advantage of grants and zero-interest loans to launch a recycling and compost program.

“We have to do better, not just for Ocean City, but for our surrounding communities and neighbors,” he said. “This is a moral issue just as much as it is an environmental issue.”

Chamberlain commended the committee for taking steps to create a green community, and urged the Green Team to support the organization’s efforts.

“I basically just want the city to listen,” he said.

Councilman Tony DeLuca, chair of the Green Team, told Chamberlain he had researched the organization’s position, but said he would not recommend the recycling and composting program to the full Mayor and Council.

“You have got to remember one size does not fit all,” he said.

DeLuca explained the resort once operated a recycling program, but found it to be ineffective.

“We averaged 33,000 tons of waste per year,” he said. “Ten percent of that was recycled and 90 percent was in landfills. Now, we turn or reuse all of our waste into energy.”

Before a vote could be taken to recommend the initiative to the Mayor and Council, community members in the meeting urged the Green Team to read the information and data Chamberlain had presented.

DeLuca agreed to table the vote to the committee’s July meeting, but made it clear that he did not support the initiative.

“We want to work with you, not on recycling but on source reduction,” he said. “That’s our message.”

Sandi Smith of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program applauded the Go Green OC organization for its dedication.

“I commend you for your research, and I do believe all of us need to know more,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.