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Havre de Grace Green Team Zero Waste Initiative

The Zero Waste initiative of the Havre de Grace Green Team is focused on educating the public about the impact that each of us has on our environment through our actions. We promote recycling, reuse, and reduction/elimination of landfill bound items through education and outreach. Working together, it is our belief that each of us can adopt habits which can help to protect our environment for future generations!

If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned, or removed from production
—Pete Seeger

Recycling

According to the EPA, up to 75 percent of discarded waste worldwide can be recycled. In the United States, the recycling rate is approximately 35 percent. Locally, participation is lower than 35 percent.

There are many barriers to recycling, perhaps the greatest of which is that the process can be confusing. What goes in the bin? Here in Havre de Grace, we have single stream recycling curbside through Harford County. Information on what can be recycled curbside is available at https://www.harfordcountymd.gov/299/Single-Stream-Recycling.

Plastic Wrap Recycling

Curbside recycling should always be placed loose in the receptacle. Plastic bags and wraps are not eligible for recycling with your home pickup due to the inability of many recycling facilities to manage them with existing equipment. The positive news is that plastic bags and wraps can still be easily recycled at your local grocery retailer, or even at Havre de Grace City Hall.

One way to make a big difference in how much plastic waste generated is to switch from single use plastic bags to canvas or fabric totes. Remember to bring your bags along on your next shopping stop.

Textile Recycling

In 2017, an estimated 16.9 Million tons of textiles were discarded into municipal solid waste. Many of these items can avoid the landfill through donation or textile recycling. (source: epa.gov)

The Harford Waste Disposal Center accepts textiles free of charge year-round for recycling.

Food and Waste Composting

Food waste is the single largest component going into municipal landfills, and once there it rapidly generates harmful methane. (Source: USDA). Composting has multiple benefits including reduction of methane emissions and enriching soil. Learn about composting and how you can get started at home.

FAQ

Food Waste Disposal Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve had a few great questions about specific items and whether they can or cannot be left at the food waste disposal drop off.  As we learn more, we will post here!  If you have questions about specific items, please reach out to us at HdGGreenTeam@gmail.com.

Q: Can I place compostable bags in the bins?

A: Yes, but they must be bags that are labeled as certified compostable.  Some places offer plant-based bags, however these also contain additional materials which make them unsuitable for the drop off.

Q: I saved my pizza boxes!  Can they go right into the green bins with food waste?

A: Yes!  All accepted items at the drop off should be placed directly in the green bins.  Remember that due to the capacity of the containers, we are only able to accept pizza boxes at this time- no other cardboard can be accommodated.

Q: Can I leave raw eggs in the bins?

A: Unfortunately, raw eggs are considered a liquid and cannot be placed in the bins.  Empty egg shells are accepted, as are boiled eggs.  If you have eggs that have expired, please consider boiling and dropping off to save their nutrients from the landfill.

Q: Are paper plates and cups accepted?

A: Only if they are stamped as compostable.  Most regular paper plates and cups have a plastic coating which makes them unable to be composted.

Q: Are kitchen paper towels and napkins acceptable?

A: Yes!  Paper towels and napkins used in the kitchen can be dropped off, provided they are not soiled with chemicals or other materials which would be unsuitable for composting.

Q: Are all tea bags compostable?

A: Tea bags are tricky.  Some tea bags are made from nylon material which is not compostable.  Generally, these are a pyramid shape.  Paper tea bags are compostable.

Q: Can plain brown bags be left in the bins if they are used to transport food waste?

A: Yes, as long as they do not have any sort of plastic or coating, plain paper bags are accepted.

Q: Are wine corks compostable?

A: Completely natural corks can be placed in bins, but we ask that you cut them into at least four smaller pieces first to ensure they are able to be broken down during the composting process.

Food Waste Disposal

The Zero Waste initiative is proud to announce the launch of our Food Waste Disposal pilot program!  Beginning June 13, citizens of Havre de Grace can bring their food scraps to the drop off site located just outside of Hutchins Park, 100 Congress Avenue, Havre de Grace, for free disposal.

The disposal enclosure will be unlocked daily from 7am to 7pm.  Bins are serviced weekly by Veteran Compost.

Please do not place the following items in bins:

  • Seafood, Fish, or Crab
  • Paper Packaging
  • Liquids
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Oil or Liquid Fat
  • Metal

This project is made possible through partnership with the City of Havre de Grace and Veteran Compost.  Disposing of food scraps at this site will ensure that they do not end up in a landfill.  Instead, they will be used by Veteran Compost to create nutrient rich soil enhancement.

Save your scraps to help save our environment!

Our thanks to artist Linnea Tober of Morph Gallery for designing the above graphic.

Additional thanks to Vulcan Materials for supporting this effort.

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