By Craig K. Paskoski (email@example.com)
The mounds of empty food boxes, glass jars, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspaper and other mixed material threaten to reach the ceiling, climbing some 20 feet high. Dozens of heavy trucks steadily roll in each day, unloading tons of the discarded byproducts of our consumer life.
The spacious tipping floor at the Prince George’s County Materials Recycling Facility in Capitol Heights seems on the verge of overflowing with the miss-mash of material. But walk through the steel door into the noisy sorting area and it all makes sense.
Quick-moving employees and state-of-the-art machinery sort the material as it is brought in from the tipping floor on a steady-flowing conveyor belt, until the items are organized and contaminants picked out of the recycling stream. By the end of the process, the products are baled and packed, ready for transport to manufacturers and recyclers in this country and abroad.
The 65,000-square-foot recovery facility, owned by Prince George’s County and operated through an agreement with Waste Management Recycle America, processes nearly 500 tons of recyclables a day and has a capacity to handle twice that amount. With three shifts and 80 employees, it operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Since the facility was converted to handle single-stream recycling in 2007, it has been processing about 140,000 tons of recyclables each year. Meanwhile, Prince George’s has seen its recycling rate jump to 55 percent and its residential curbside recycling program flourish.
Residents there were provided with a 65-gallon container to place all of their recyclable material in for pick up.
“People are more apt to recycle when you’re operating under the single-stream system because they don’t have to separate those items,” said Desmond Gladden, environmental planner for Prince George’s County. “We’ve been able to add additional material to our (recycling) stream.”
It also means Prince George’s is sending less material to its Brown Station Road Landfill, which like many in the region, is nearing its capacity.
“Our goal is to divert as many materials from the landfill as possible,” Gladden said.
Not only does the center help prolong the life of the county’s landfill, it is also a revenue source for Prince George’s. Through a 10-year contract with Waste Management, the county receives a host fee for every ton unloaded and processed at the facility.
“It’s very lucrative on both parts, for the county and Waste Management,” said Gladden, while leading a recent tour of the facility for members of the Sierra Club’s Prince George’s County chapter.
About 30 percent of the material coming into the facility is from the county’s single-stream residential curbside collection program. The rest comes from commercial sources and other jurisdictions, including municipalities within Prince George’s.
Prince George’s spent $7 million in 2007 to upgrade its dual-stream recycling collection center into a single-stream sorting facility. Since then, the operations have been in the hands of Waste Management, which owns and operates a similar sorting facility in Elkridge.
Carroll County’s recyclables go to that Elkridge plant on Kit Kat Road.
But a similar resource recovery facility could be in the works for Carroll County. The commissioners are exploring the potential privatization of the Northern Landfill and have received proposals from five companies interested in creating a recycling or transfer-type station there. An evaluation committee is expected to narrow those proposals down to three, and after site visits, the information will be presented to the commissioners early next year, according to Eric Burdine, Bureau Chief of Solid Waste for the county.
Building a Carroll Resource Recovery Park for handling recyclables, construction material and compost at the Northern Landfill is at the center of several recommendations the Carroll County Solid Waste Workgroup presented last year as part of a long-range plan to reduce the county’s waste stream. In fact the county added “Resource Recovery Park” to the sign at the Northern Landfill last week.
In Prince George’s County, the facility is an integral part of the county’s goal of reaching “Zero Waste.” The county recently began a one-year pilot compost collection program that is expected to divert 4,500 tons of material from its landfill. It’s also expected to produce a nutrient-rich compost product that can be sold.
Approximately 25 percent of what is thrown away in household trash is food scraps and other compostable material.
“By generating food scraps into valuable compost material, we are reducing waste, saving money and providing a valuable benefit to our environment,” Prince George’s DER Director Adams Ortiz said in a press release this fall.
Green Business Network representative Don West presents Melinda Byrd with a certificate recognizing Byrdcall Studio for its sustainable practices.
By Craig K. Paskoski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Like many, Melinda Byrd begins her morning commute to work by stepping out her back door, coffee mug in hand. Byrd’s journey, however, takes but a few moments, as she walks across the stone path from her house to the art studio nestled in her shad-filled backyard.
Not only does Byrd avoid the time-consuming headache of battling traffic and breathing in exhaust from vehicles, her morning travel is also environmentally friendly. And Byrd wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Woodbine artist has built a lifestyle that reflects a longtime love of nature and devotion to protecting the environment. Those values have spilled over to her art business, Byrdcall Studio, which was recently certified as a partner in Carroll County’s Green Business Network. The Network was formed by WasteNot! Carroll, Sustainable Living Maryland and the Sierra Club (Catoctin Group) to recognize county businesses that have taken steps to reduce their environmental impact and reach consumers that value those priorities.
Byrd racked up 117 points on the GBN self-evaluation scorecard, which measures businesses in four areas of environmental efforts; solid waste management, environmentally responsible purchasing, energy efficiency and renewable energy conservation and quality.
In fact, the self-taught artist submitted her six-page Green Business scorecard on the back of old inventory forms, a typical move for Byrd, who saves any scrap of paper or material she can reuse.
But Byrd’s sustainable efforts go beyond reusing paper. Her studio has natural and fluorescent lighting to give it a bright, airy feel. She uses non-toxic cleaners to clean her print making, and other art materials, and she obtained many of the furnishings in her studio, such as the flat files that hold canvases, a desk, tables, shelves, sewing machine and microwave through Freecycle.com, a source for finding second homes for unwanted items.
“Anything I need I go there first,” said Byrd about the website.
Heavily influenced by her love of nature, much of Byrd’s artwork incorporates animals, plants and flowers. She uses canvas and paper but specializes in unconventional media such as glass, walls, floor mats, woodcuts and linocuts and also printmaking for T-shirts. She enjoys a challenge, particularly when it involves taking something old and giving it new life by adding a fresh and unique design.
“One thing I claim, I can paint anything on anything,” Byrd said. “So I do get a lot of business people that want to take an old Coke-a-Cola machine or whatever and turn it into something, a beer cooler for their liquor store. That kind of thing, I figure out how to do it.”
Several local shops display and sell Byrd’s work, and she participates in shows and festivals in the area. When she has to ship her artwork to customers, of course it goes out packed in reused boxes.
As an artist, Byrd explained, you have to be creative about reusing material, finding supplies and limiting expenses. “Lots of artist are very frugal about costs and supplies,” she said.
Byrd’s business and home life often overlap. She and her husband, John, have a solar hot-water heater on their house, a timer on the water tank, rain barrels to collect storm-water runoff and a compost area for food scraps. They have raised garden beds where they grow organic vegetables.
Through recycling, composting and smart shopping they also have been able to eliminate the need for a trash collection service. The business and home combined generate only enough trash to require three or four trips a year to the landfill.
Byrd’s devotion to protecting the environment can really be traced back to her childhood and high school days in Massachusetts. A self-described “nature girl,” she grew up swimming in Walden Pond. Byrd studied biology in college and spent several seasons as a park ranger in Colorado before eventually settling in Maryland in 1982, working as a naturalist at Bear Branch and Hashawha nature centers. She decided to concentrate her efforts exclusively on her art in 1999 and hasn’t looked back.
The walls in Byrd’s studio are lined with paintings and drawings of plants, people and animals, many frozen in fluid, dance-like motion. Byrd’s latest challenge is preserving rya, a traditional wool rug making technique she learned as a child. She is working on an instructional booklet and has plans to offer classes in that fading craft.
Visitors to the studio, especially those attending her classes there, get the “green studio” talk where she explains the environmental ground rules. But, she said, most visitors know her well enough that they wouldn’t dare drop a Styrofoam cup in her trashcan.
And even though Byrd does the “little things” to conserve resources, such as turning the heat way down in the winter and flushing the toilet only when necessary, she said she realized as she filled out the scorecard there were areas she could reexamine.
“It made me realize how much more I can do,” she said. “Some things I haven’t checked to see if for example I could have bought it more environmentally friendly. Choice is big.”
For more information on Melinda Byrd, go to www.brydcallstudio.com
Northrop Grumman does its part, recognized by Carroll County’s Green Business Network
Pictured left to right: Mike Ensor (NG), Don West (GBN), Joe Opauski (NG), Dan Andrews(GBN), Joe Maurio(NG), Larry Hajnos(NG)
By Dan Andrews
As light-emitting diode (LED) recessed lights illuminated the meeting room, employees of Northrop Grumman Corporation – Sykesville Campus presented their company’s green business initiatives to Don West and Dan Andrews of the Green Business Network during a site visit in late August.
As an introduction, their PowerPoint presentation outlined the hierarchy of company leaders who are not only educated in environmental engineering, but who are also dedicated to making sure Northrop Grumman (NG) does business in an environmentally responsible manner. To accomplish this, a team of expert employees from building operations, engineering, and finance, work together to monitor and reduce energy consumption, inventory and greenhouse gas emissions, manage solid waste properly, address storm-water runoff quality and promote native landscape plantings.
Their practices include: relamping the Sykesville Road facility with LED and high-efficiency florescent lighting, maximizing recycling for resources, recycling electronics (e-waste), and capturing and filtering alcohol solvents for reuse. Northrop Grumman, a global security company that provides systems, products and services for government and commercial customers, has also installed highly efficient heating and cooling systems at its campus to reduce energy load and emission output.
Outdoors, the company chose to construct filter booms, down-swale from its storm-water pipe outfall, to capture pollutants such as road salt, motor oil and anti-freeze from paved area runoff. They’ve also landscaped their front flowerbeds with native plants that require little or no summertime irrigation.
To energize its employees and promote awareness to customers, the company displays its environmental goals in the main lobby for everyone to read. Northrop also monitors its sustainability progress and strives to reach annual efficiency goals, with team members collaborating with other NG campuses to share and gain ideas.
After the site visit and review, Don and Dan came to the conclusion that Northrop Grumman’s environmental practices can only be described as outstanding. Company representatives were presented with a Green Business Network certificate recognizing its environmentally friendly efforts.
Great job NG!
Green Business Network representative Dan Andrews (left) presents Karen Greenstein with a Level II certificate recognizing her Interior Harmony LLC business for its environmentally friendly practices.
By Craig K. Paskoski (email@example.com)
The old green Jeep Cherokee Laredo sitting in Karen Greenstein’s driveway is loaded with clothing, household goods, toys, books and recyclables. The trusty Cherokee serves as Greenstein’s “staging area,” where she can sort through items discarded by her acupuncture and feng shui clients.
Greenstein, who operates Interior Harmony LLC, makes sure those items find their way to the Northeast Social Action Program thrift store in Hampstead, church groups or a recycling center. Greenstein’s commitment to reusing and recycling not only fits into the spirit of her business, but is one aspect of a concentrated effort to reduce her environmental impact on a business and personal level.
The conservation effort is one of many environmentally friendly practices Greenstein has incorporated into her business, which recently was certified as a partner in the Green Business Network and recognized for its sustainable practices.
The GBN, a program developed through Waste Not! Carroll, Sustainable Living Maryland and the Sierra Club (Catoctin Group), is designed to recognize those Carroll businesses that have taken steps to reduce their environmental impact and reach consumers who value those priorities. The program measures businesses in four areas of environmental efforts; solid waste management, environmentally responsible purchasing, energy efficiency and renewable energy conservation and quality.
Greenstein, who operates Interior Harmony out of her Finksburg home, was eager to join the GBN. For her, it was not about having her own efforts recognized but an opportunity to spread the message about a better way to live.
“I wanted to support the movement and the process and help awaken others,” said Greenstein, a licensed acupuncturist since 1993. “It is something we’ve been doing for years so it’s nice to see there is now some formalized, established program we can be part of.
“I’m interested in developing community so that I’m surrounded by like-minded folks who have a commitment to the earth as well as to each other,” said Greenstein, who studied under local feng shui expert Hope Karan Gerecht.
Greenstein and her husband, Doug Deming, have created not only an energy efficient house, but a positive energy flow throughout. They have added skylights to increase natural light, replaced much of the lighting with LED fixtures, and painted the roof from green to white to cut the need for cooling.
And Greenstein and Deming go the extra mile. They take batteries to local drop-off sites for recycling, compost, purchase their electricity from a wind source, collect rainwater in barrels and buy post-consumer recycled paper products in bulk.
And it’s been years since they used the dryer – that’s what the clothesline in the backyard is for.
It’s no wonder Interior Harmony scored 139 on the self-evaluation scorecard for the Green Business Network.
A former federal worker, Greenstein began pursuing certification in acupuncture after seeing how well the treatment worked for her. She then added organizational services for clients based on the feng shui ideas of positive energy flow.
As part of her work, she helps clients rid their houses and businesses of unnecessary clutter, to improve their health, prosperity and efficiency. That’s led to her becoming somewhat of a middleman for collecting and transporting items for reuse and recycling.
“I’ve found that if folks know something is useful to another and/or it can be recycled, then they are able to let it go with more ease,” said Greenstein, who also conducts a number of workshops in the area. “I’m a huge fan of thrift shops and consignment.”
More importantly, Greenstein said, is helping others improve their lives on a one-on-one basis.
“If everybody realizes that a sole practitioner can do a lot on their own, and they can educate others,” she said. “Every individual matters.”
Saving Green by Going Green
Late in the summer of 2012, a group of local community organizations, including members from Waste Not! Carroll, Sierra Club (Catoctin Group), Sustainable Living MD, and Venturing Crew #202 began developing a program to encourage and cultivate sustainable business enterprises in Carroll County, MD. The goal of the program would be to give businesses and entrepreneurs the tools they need to identify and adopt practices to reduce their environmental impact, improve their operational efficiency, and enhance their business reputation.
How the Program Works
At the heart of the Green Business Network is a certification process that evaluates the breadth and depth of a business' commitment to strengthening its efficiency, reducing its environmental impact and supporting a sustainable community.
The basis of the evaluation is the Green Business Scorecard. The Scorecard reflects the best practices in four areas of environmental and community stewardship: Solid Waste Management, Environmentally Responsible Purchasing, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Water Conservation & Quality.
In order for a business to become certified, it must meet specified implementation goals from a minimum number of measures from across the best practices categories. Additionally, participants agree to take certain steps to encourage employee participation and raise the visibility of the program.
Following a self-assessment, an interested business pays a nominal fee and arranges for a site verification visit by a member of the Green Business Team in order to confirm adoption of best practices and implementation goals.
Based on the level of performance, a participating business is awarded a Level of Green Excellence of one, two or three stars. Each business will receive a decal sticker, an award certificate, mention and a link on the Waste Not! Carroll and Sustainable Living MD websites and a photograph with press release sent to the Carroll County Times.
Certification is valid for two years. During that period, businesses are encouraged to raise their level of performance for future evaluations.
Why Go Green?
Implementing environmental and community stewardship practices improves operational efficiency, enhances business reputation, and increases profitability.
As many of the measures save resources and reduce consumption, they result in lower operating costs, boosting profitability and freeing up capital for business investments. Furthermore, recognition of environmental and community leadership engenders existing customer loyalty and attracts new business.
Moreover, certified green businesses benefit through shared marketing and promotion, reductions in operating costs and increased profitability, market and product differentiation and recognition of environmental and community leadership.
First Place Entry by Marisa Hrbal
Our Other Winners: Gus Foley, Alyssa Roberts, Olivia Brundage, and Annie Brown
And the Judges Judging!
The Audubon Society of Central Maryland (http://www.centralmdaudubon.org/) plans to join the Earth Day event at Carroll Community College on Tuesday, April 17th and the Saturday morning, April 21st Panel Discussion displays at McDaniel College. The group will have a display, brochures and hopefully a volunteer to answer questions at each event.
The entertainers for our Friday, April 20th Concert at the Amphitheater at Carroll Community College are on board NOW!
Joining us on stage that evening, starting at 7 pm, will be local musicians Chuck Moosian (aka Chasmo - http://www.chasmo.us/) and Jerry Diamond. Also, The Friendship Valley Elementary School Green Team will sing their "Chesapeake" Song. And finally, the drama group from North Carroll High School will perform their version of The Lorax, by Dr. Suess.
This will be a fun-filled evening for the whole family that is free and open to all!
Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) presents free multimedia assemblies on climate science and solutions at high schools nationwide. ACE visits high schools nationwide to present climate science that sticks via a free, acclaimed multimedia assembly. After the assembly, ACE kickstarts student Action Teams (environmental clubs) and offers support including grants, scholarships, online project templates, trainings and more. Please visit our website, view our trailer and book your assembly now.
As a part of its continuing Community Matters Film Series, a film series to stimulate discussion about energy, self-reliance and the environment, Sustainable Living Maryland will screen the film No Impact Man on Thursday, April 19th, starting at 7 pm in Room K 127 at Carroll Community College. No Impact Man follows the true story a couple living in New York City who decide to live for one year without making a negative environmental impact. Relive their challenges, struggles and transformation then stay for a facilitated discussion of the issues and concepts they faced.
There will be an open discussion immediately after the film. Explore together how, we here in Carroll County, could reduce our footprint. There is no charge for the film.
Wednesday - April 18th
6:30pm - Room K100, Carroll Community College. BGE will giving a one hour presentation on ways to save money on your electric bill and in turn save energy.
7:30pm - Room K100, Carroll Community College. We will be showing the movie COOL IT! Climate catastrophe? The end of civilization as we know it? COOL IT is based upon the book of the same name and lectures by Bjorn Lomborg, the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner travels the world with Lomborg exploring the real facts and true science of global warming and its impact. Lomborg is the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a globally respected think tank that brings together the world's leading economists to prioritize major global problems -- among them malaria, the lack of potable water and HIV/AIDS -- based upon a cost/benefit analysis of available solutions. Amidst the strong and polarized opinions within the global warming debate, COOL IT follows Lomborg on his mission to bring the smartest solutions to climate change, environmental pollution, and other major problems in the world.
Don Boesch, PhD - Professor of Marine Science and President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Michael Barbour, PhD - Vice President of Tetra Tech and Director of the Center for Ecological Sciences
Ned Tillman - Co-Founder of Sustainable Growth, LLC and environmental author
Dru Schmidt-Perkins - Executive Director, 1000 Friends of Maryland
Richard Josephson - Director of Planning Services for the Maryland Department of Planning
Nelson Widell - Co-Founder of The Peninsula Compost Group, LLC
For more information of the speakers, please click on the Bios section of our website.
We look forward to seeing you at the Planet Carroll Panel Discussion on Saturday, April 21, 2012, starting at 9 am at Decker Auditorium on the campus of McDaniel College in Westminster, MD!
The Maryland Native Plant Society (http://www.mdflora.org) has agreed to participate in two Planet Carroll events - the Earth Day celebration at Carroll Community College on Tuesday, April 17th and the Panel Discussion on Saturday, April 21st. The MNPS will be setting up a display at both events. Welcome to our event!
We have just added a new event to the Planet Carroll week, a special Tree Planting on Sunday, April 22 (Earth Day!), partnering with Boy Scout Troop #395 and Venturing Crew 202. It will start at 11 am at Freedom Park, 100 Raincliffe Road in Sykesville. For more information, contact Paul Kazyak at PKAZYAK@dnr.state.md.us.
This event is rain or shine!
Donald Boesch, professor of marine sciences and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, has written an article for The Capital that is must reading for anyone concerned about the health of the Chesapeake Bay. We are proud that Dr. Boesch has agreed to join our event as one of our features speakers for our Saturday, April 21st Panel Discussion at McDaniel College. Please come out that morning to hear what these experts have to say about our local environment.