Wicomico recycling impacted by pandemic, put in landfill instead
WICOMICO CO., Md. – In Wicomico County, hundreds of tons of materials are usually recycled every month. However, on Thursday officials confirmed that the county’s recycling facilities have been putting all that material right into the landfill for quite a bit of time now and residents say they were never told about the change.
“Well I’m disappointed and a little angry,” says Robert Hall, a Salisbury resident. “Well I mean if you’re doing recycling, it’s because you’re concerned about the environment and if your efforts are for nought then that’s disappointing.”
Officials tell 47 ABC, inmates usually sort through items at the county’s recycling facilities but because work release programs aren’t running as usual during the pandemic they haven’t had the manpower.
“So we have nobody to sort through or bale or do anything as recycling goes,” says Mark Whitelock, the deputy director of Wicomico County Public Works.
They’ve now started processing cardboard, newspaper and bimetal cans because those don’t require as much sorting. But up until recently, hundreds of tons of recyclable material went into the landfill every month for the past three or four months.
Residents aren’t sure what the right solution should have been but they tell 47 ABC they at least wish they were aware of the situation. “Then again what was their alternative? I think they could have let us know maybe we would find another recycling center,” says Hall.
County officials say they didn’t publicize this information everywhere because they don’t want people to get out of the habit of recycling. They also say the county’s recycling is actually self sustaining and residents don’t pay taxes for it. As for a timeline, they really aren’t sure when things will be 100 percent back up and running.