Burning Trash is Not Recycling
Under a quirk of Maryland code, burning trash can count as recycling. Incinerators built before 1988 generate a 5% recycling credit for local governments that use them, while using the leftover toxic ash can also count as recycling. Obviously, burning trash is not recycling and completely undercuts the entire point of recycling programs.
While this may seem abstract, there is a practical reason why Maryland should not count burning materials as recycling. Take the case of plastic bags. Many grocery stores collect plastic bags for recycling. Marylanders around the state painstakingly collect their plastic bags and bring them to these centralized collection points, thinking they’re doing a good thing. While some of these bags are recycled, generally turned into artificial wood decking, others are burned. Under current Maryland law, burning these plastic bags counts as recycling. Some grocery stores have been paying waste haulers to recycle plastic bags, only to later realize that those bags are being burned, and that “technically” burning is recycling.
That’s insane! Burning plastic bags is not recycling. House Bill 179 (sponsored by Delegate Charkoudian of Montgomery County) would delete trash incineration from Maryland's definition of recycling. Contact your legislators today to ask them to please pass HB179!