Friday, April 22, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere!

When it comes to sports swimming is my number one, which means I am very in tuned with water.  As I have said previously I find water relaxing.  I have downloaded ocean waves to my iPod and love sitting by the ocean (without the screaming children, although at times they have their place too) and just watch and listen.

As someone who participates in open water swims and triathlons I am particularly concerned about the lakes and oceans around me that I swim in Centennial Lake and the Chesapeake Bay to name a couple.  I went to Ocean City for my spring break and while it is the off season, that is the time that really shows what our beaches look like.  It is the undisturbed, what naturally washes up and isn't quickly whisked away so no one sees it.  It is the black, oily sand and the weird foam that shouldn't be there.  The Atlantic is getting somewhat, slowly better. I can now sometimes see my feet, when I was younger that never happened and I was mesmerized the first time we went to Florida and I could see my body in the water like it was a pool.

All of this brings me to my community because what we dispose of no matter how hard we try ends up somehow making it into these local bodies of water.  I have lived in Howard County my whole life.  When I was in 5th grade, I believe, we got curb side recycling and I was ecstatic.  Recycling was still pretty new at the time and we worked hard to sort our recycling and fill up that little blue bin.  I still live in Howard County, just on the other side and sometimes neglected side of 95, and WE DON'T HAVE RECYCLING! ( hocoblogs@@@ )

Wait what's that you say you live in Hoco and don't have recycling?  But I thought everyone had recycling because our taxes pay for it.

You know I thought the same thing and I don't pretend to know the ins and outs and why my neighborhood doesn't have recycling, its some sort of money thing but I feel like I am probably paying for it and not getting it.  The hubby and I still recycle, we just have to drop it off places but I know my neighbors are not doing that.  They have trash bins overflowing (and we have the really big ones) with cardboard and other materials that could be recycled.  It frustrates me every trash day to see so much crap heading for the landfill.  We put out trash about once a month. I know we don't have kids and apparently they generate a lot of trash, but we do have to drop off our recycling at least once a week.  I think about all that garbage heading for the landfill and some of it will blow off the truck and not make it there increasing the chances that it is going to make it into the lakes and bay that I swim in.  I was originally going to take pictures of my neighborhood houses with their mountains of trash but thought I might make a few enemies that way so instead I am making a plea to whomever decided my neighborhood wasn't worthy of recycling to reconsider.  I care about my water and my environment.

Former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders gives her feelings on the non-chlorinated variety of water.

From the sound of it our local landfill is working to reuse and is shipping some of our trash elsewhere, to Virginia, where I have also been known to swim open water.

Are there any other neighborhoods out there not recycling? If so why?


  1. Now I want to go to a beach. A nice clean not-trashed-from-ecological-fails beach.

    Great post :)

  2. When I lived in an apartment in Columbia, we didn't have recycling... we saved it and took it to the dump. That was a pain...

  3. Nice post--- great tie in with Earth day. I'm shocked you don't have recycling. Hoco FAIL

  4. There are other parts of HoCo without recycling pickup, too. Do you have an HOA? What do they know about the recycling? In some developments, the recycling pickup doesn't start until the county takes over the roads from the developer. I hope you get some answers!

  5. Ian Kennedy -- Howard County Government25 April, 2011 08:38

    Nice post. I've noticed the ocean water around the mid-Atlantic getting cleaner as well. Ocean city, in particular, seems significantly better than it was 20 years ago. Even in recent trips to New Jersey beaches, I've been impressed with the water quality. This is a very good thing.

    What's not so good is the lack of curbside recycling in your neighborhood. Without knowing your address, I can't speak to your specific situation, but I can tell you that the county's trash/recycling collection services are paid for with a trash fee that is separate from the taxes that go into the General Fund. Without opening the old "fee vs. taxes" debate, I'll also say that there are a number of factors that go into this fee and it varies based on where you are in the county and the nature of your neighborhood. For instance, homes in the western part of the county pay a bit less in the trash fee because they don't have curbside yard waste pick up. Meanwhile, certain private communities -- i.e. apartments and condos -- that have private trash collection have opted not to utilize county recycling services because of the $39 annual fee per household. The Howard County Times wrote about this a couple years ago:

    If you send me your address or the name of your community, I'd be happy to look into your situation and find out what's going on. You can reach me at 410-313-3075 or

    Also, I noticed you linked to the Patch story about the landfill methane capture. Something else of note about our landfill is that we're planning to start "mining" it for recyclable materials, which can be removed and sent off to the recycling plant for processing.