Thursday, January 24, 2008


i received this email:

I recently moved into a multi-unit building in the neighborhood, and I'm hitting a huge roadblock when it comes to recycling. I am from Anne Arundel County in Maryland, and I have been spoiled with co-mingled, county-wide, curbside recycling. I have not had such luck in the District. Because I am not a homeowner and not renting in a 3-unit-or-less building, I am unable to use the blue bins to have the city pick up my recycling. My building does not pay for private recycling collection, so I have been trying in vain to find a metrorail- or metrobus-accessible (prefferably co-mingled) recycling facility. Thus far I have been transporting my recyclables to my parents' house, begging friends to take some along when they leave my apartment, and otherwise swimming in cardboard, plastic and glass.

Anyone have any answers?


Anonymous said...

From the DPW commercial recycling pdf ( Recycling is required in all commercial establishments. These include office buildings, churches, retailers, warehouses, apartment buildings (with four or more units)... check with the landlord or management company to find out what their recycling program is. They can be fined if they don't have one. If they need a little nudging, you could call the DPW and ask an inspector to speak with the management.

Unknown said...

yay!! i called the recycling hotline and was forwarded to the Office of Recycling who then took my address and told me to leave a msg for the investigator for our area because the violations are being more strictly enforced. this is such a relief, thank you!! i was loathe to start asking people in the homeowners association because if nothing came of it and then i decided to report them, it would be quite obvious who was making a stink. this information is so greatly appreciated... i should have emailed our scenic artisan a month ago :)

Anonymous said...

For starters, through the glass away. It creates more CO2 to recycle than to make more glass, and we're not running out of sand. That's a start.

Sean Hennessey said...

while the internets may lie, a quick google search shows otherwise:

According to Waste Online, for every ton of recycled glass, 1.2 tons of raw materials are not required and after taking into account transport and processing needed to recycle glass, nearly 700 pounds of carbon dioxide is saved per ton of glass melted for the purposes of making bottles and jars.

The Glass Packaging Institute states recycled glass uses only two-thirds the energy needed to manufacture glass from raw materials

Recycled glass isn't just used for making more bottles - it can be turned into fiberglass (which is also used in house insulation), and as a component of bricks; requiring less energy to create the bricks and as the product is lighter, less energy is used in transport. Glass can be recycled indefinitely.

The Economist take on is is worth it:

and the Guardian:,,1988143,00.html

i'll keep recycling.

J.T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.T. said...

I am having my doubts about the District recycling. They come in an orange truck and throw the whole mix into one truck. Where oh where is this stuff going and where are the hoards of people required to separate everything??? Please somebody put me at ease by sending me a picture? I may email the district and demand a tour. I would like to see how exactly this recycling occurs from home to fiberglass insulation (in the case of glass). I especially am cynical about the District government leg of the process. Help! Help me feel better someone. Give me proof that it happens.


Sean Hennessey said...

i'm as skeptical as you J. T.
i dont know where the stuff goes.

The Marpepps! said...

Actually, I work for an environmental advocacy group and some of the members actually followed the truck. They do, in fact, separate and recycle at the facility. At least they did the one single time we followed them.

Here's the one thing they saw: if the people mixed their paper in and it got wet, our "investigators" said they threw it away. They said there was a LOT of that. So maybe keep your paper in a paper bag to keep most of it dry? Or just make sure you dump out the contents of bottles, etc. when you co-mingle.