2013 Recycling Awards

Welcome to the 2013 Maryland Recycling Network annual awards. This is our twenty first year of recognizing the “best of” among recycling programs in the state of Maryland. We are very pleased to bring much-deserved recognition to the individuals and programs that are responsible for the success of many extraordinary recycling efforts in Maryland.

Each application was evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Effectiveness
  • Reliability
  • Economic feasibility and sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Commitment
  • Creativity
  • Waste diversion

This year’s winners include:

Outstanding Government Leadership Award

Baltimore County Government

Accepting the award from the Bureau of Solid Waste Management are (from Left) Public Information Specialist Anne Marcher, Recycling and Waste Prevention Manager Charlie
Reighart, Office of Information Technology, Heather List, and Bureau
Chief Mike Beichler. (MRN Awards Chair, Bob Stumpf)

On May 31, 2012, Baltimore County announced the official start of its latest residential recycling campaign, which included the launch of a new web site – BCrecycles.com. On this site, the County’s Bureau of Solid Waste Management has divided the County into 44 areas. Recycling rate information for each area is updated monthly, enabling residents to see how their area and other areas of the County are doing in terms of recycling. The web site also features a “Spotlight On…” section on its main page, which features a different area’s recycling data each month. The development of the BCrecycles.com site was the result of collaboration between the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management and Office of Information Technology.

This is the first time ever that the County has made this information available to residents in such a format. With this campaign, the County is making important information transparent to residents, who can see for themselves how they and their neighbors around the County are doing in terms of recycling. The Bureau hopes that this knowledge will inspire residents to recycle more and see their area’s recycling rates increase over time.

In 2012, the BCrecycles.com web site was promoted across the County in a number of ways. For example, the County placed colorful billboards in eight locations around the County, inviting residents to the site. The County also mailed postcards directly to approximately 100,000 households, and ads were placed in local publications as well as movie theaters. All of these forms of advertising placed emphasis on specific neighborhoods and areas of the County, mentioning them by name. The recycling information continues to be updated monthly, and data through April 2013 is now available.

The areas listed on the BCrecycles.com web site cover all residential recycling collection routes in the County. All 817,000 Baltimore County residents may access this site online.

The BCrecycles.com web site officially launched on May 31, 2012, and has been actively updated ever since. It is currently displaying data up to April 2013.

The Baltimore County Office of Information Technology, with guidance and input from the Bureau of Solid Waste Management, completed the BCrecycles.com web site in-house. There are no additional budgetary impacts associated with the development and updating of the site.

The BCrecycles.com web site has proven to be a valuable resource for both County residents and the Bureau of Solid Waste Management itself. The monthly recycling data presented on the site will continue to be updated through the foreseeable future. The Bureau will also continue to promote awareness of BCrecycles.com through the main County web site, word of mouth, and other forms of advertising.

On March 26, 2013, the Web Marketing Association (WMA) presented the Baltimore County Office of Information Technology with an Outstanding Website award for the agency’s work on the BCrecycles.com “microsite.” The WMA presented the award as part of its 11th annual Internet Advertising Competition, which was created specifically to recognize outstanding online advertising in all of its various forms.

The WMA, founded in Boston in 1997, helps set a high standard for Internet marketing on the World Wide Web. The Internet Advertising Competition is open to all organizations and individuals involved in the process of Internet advertising development, around the globe and spanning 96 industries and nine online formats. The 2013 competition judges represented all aspects of the advertising and Internet worlds, and included professionals from a wide variety of organizations, including CNN News Group, Google, IBM Interactive, and PayPal.

Outstanding Environmental and Community Leadership Award

Charles E. Miller Library, Ellicott City, Howard County, MD

Accepting the award is Branch Manager, Susan Stonesifer (Middle).
Presented by MRN Vice President Gemma Evans and MRN Awards Chair, Bob Stumpf.

The Miller Library, located in Ellicott City, Maryland is a recently renovated library that serves approximately 160,000 patrons per year. In addition to their mission to be a “21st Century facility for a 21st Century public education,” the library’s management and staff consistently demonstrate their interest in developing and implementing best practices and new programs in the areas of recycling and waste reduction. This is accomplished through a 4 pronged approach using advocacy, education, promotions and operational strategies. A steady stream of internal efforts aimed at library staff, as well as outreach to the community, means that there are always new projects underway.

Designated LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council, the energy efficient Miller Library includes 72 solar panels, an abundance of controlled natural daylight, approximately 9,000 sq. ft. of vegetative roof, and many other sustainable, energy efficient features. Also located at this branch is the innovative Enchanted Garden which focuses on health, nutrition, and environmental education and is a sustainable, community-based teaching garden.

The renovated library opened in December 2011, and the Enchanted Garden was opened to the public in May of 2012. Since that time they have only continued to expand their efforts. Recent noteworthy efforts that deserve recognition represent the ‘greening’ of internal processes. Last fall the Howard County Recycling Division approached the library with the idea of installing a solar powered recycling compactor at the library. The traffic flow of the renovated library means that as the majority of library patrons exit the facility by driving past the recycling & trash dumpsters, making it the perfect location for a demonstration. A solar powered compactor for recyclables was installed in October 2012, and since that time has been enthusiastically adopted by the staff at the Library. In some ways the compactor has become a mascot for their internal operations. In fact, because the compactor resembles a certain Pixar/Disney movie character who spends a lot of time recycling, the compactor has been nicknamed Wall-E. To complete the resemblance, oversized googly eyes have been purchased for the compactor to be installed near the solar panel. An informative sign was installed as well, to alert patrons to the new project.

In March of 2013, library staff contacted the Howard County Recycling Division to see if it could offer them any support with beginning a food scrap composting program. Within days, two kitchen food scrap pails to collect fruit & vegetable scraps were delivered. A couple of times per week the food scraps are added to the compost pile in the Enchanted Garden, mimicking what a homeowner might do. The Enchanted Garden is also a composting demonstration location used by the Master Gardeners.

The library is primarily used by Howard County residents, the majority of whom live in Ellicott City and Columbia. On average they serve 160,000 customers per year and since the renovated library & Enchanted Garden opened last year, their educational workshops have had over 1200 attendees of all ages. Their popular ongoing drop-in workshops have also reached a large number of people.

What is the project’s annual budget? That’s the best part – it is free!

The initial purchase of the solar compactor was made possible through an education fund that Waste Management established for Howard County. The compost program was also established using donated materials.

In the future, it is anticipated that the programs will be self-sustaining. Library staff is committed to the programs and their energies and efforts will ensure continued program success. One of the reasons cited for the creation of the Enchanted Garden is: “Providing our children an environmental and nutritional education while instilling a love of nature is the best way to inspire them to be the stewards of our future.”

Its efforts have sparked interest in other Library locations in the Howard County system. Other types of facilities may also consider collecting food scraps for composting, particularly those that double as demonstration locations run by the Master Gardeners.

Extraordinary Achievement Award

NoWorriesIT’s Recycling Computers for Charity Programs

Accepting the award is Marketing Manager, Jean Burgess.

NoWorriesiT is a Westminster, MD-based computer services company, serving small businesses in Carroll, Frederick, Howard, and Baltimore Counties, and Baltimore City. During the summer of 2011, they found their small IT shop overrun with the old, non-serviceable computers, servers, and printers which had been replaced at their clients’ workplaces. The four-person NoWorriesiT team put their heads together to come up with a solution that would appeal to their values: concern about data security, love of the environment, and the desire to give back to the local community.

The NoWorriesiT Recycling Computers for Charity program started out very small, with just their team and another part-time IT company, ProTech. The program works as follows: they collect unusable computers, sanitize the data, and transport them to a recycling center for a cash rebate. NoWorriesiT then matches the cash rebate and donates the total amount to one of two local charities.

After the initial recycling event in the fall of 2011, they decided to expand the recycling program to twice a year and open the computer collection to individuals in the community, using the NoWorriesiT office as a drop-off center. They hung posters around the community, published press releases, and used social media to get the word out. The response was wonderful, and the individuals from the community were so appreciative to have an alternative to the landfill in which to dispose their computers.

Although NoWorriesiT is located in Carroll County, MD, their client-base expands to four counties as well as Baltimore City. Therefore, they draw many computer donations from their small business clients, and many of these clients contribute their non-serviceable personal computers as well. In terms of the environment, the reach of this little recycling program has proven to be quite expansive. By extension, the monies collected by recycling the computers and then matching that amount and donating it to a charity continues the reach of this program.

There is no budget or outside funding for the Recycling Computers for Charity program. NoWorriesiT donates time, materials, space, and personnel; and therefore the program is self-sustaining. The line items for the Recycling Computers for Charity program breaks down as follows:

  • Flyers are printed in-house at NoWorriesiT
  • Marketing, such as press releases and announcements, is done through donated time by NoWorriesiT staf
  • Sanitizing hard drives is accomplished through donated time by NoWorriesiT Systems Engineers
  • Tracking all donated computers is done through donated time by NoWorriesiT staff
  • Donated computers are stored at the NoWorriesiT facility
  • Transportation to the recycling center is accomplished through a donated trailer and NoWorriesiT staff time

NoWorriesIT notes that a funny thing has happened with the Recycling Computers for Charity program: suddenly, other businesses want to help. A screen printing company in Taneytown, MD wants to be a drop-off center to make it easier for individuals in that area to make donations; a print cartridge company wants to have a stack of flyers on its counter since many of their customers ask about recycling computers; a real estate company on the east end of Westminster has volunteered to “do anything” to help; and a home remodeling business offered the use of the company trailer this past spring and wants to continue indefinitely.

After two years of hard-work and “going at it alone,” NoWorriesiT suddenly has community partners in the Recycling Computers for Charity program. People seem to be very excited about the idea of keeping their computers out of the landfill, while also finding a way to give back to the community!

NoWorriesiT believes in “What ifs …” What if other technology companies across Maryland were willing to create similar programs, serving the concern for data security, the love of the environment, and the desire to give back to the community?