Osher at Towson University tours Baltimore County Materials Recovery Facility
Last year, members of the Osher at Towson University formed a Green Team. These Osher members are dedicated to initiating sustainable changes within the Osher community and are working to raise awareness of environmental issues.
On Friday, October 11, members of the Green Team and other Osher at TU members attended a tour of the Baltimore County Materials Recovery Facility in Cockeysville, MD. The Materials Recovery Facility is tenderly referred to by its staff members as “The MRF.” The MRF is a facility that receives, sorts, and prepares recyclable materials to be sold. The processed recyclables are marketed after sorting, allowing Baltimore County to retain the value of these materials and maximize the financial benefit of the recycling program. You may know that Baltimore County has moved to a single stream recycling process. This means that all recyclable items can be placed in the same bin, as the equipment is able to sort through paper, plastic, metal, and glass items.
The MRF is likely exactly as you would imagine it to be: large and loud.
To ensure our safety while touring the facility, we were each given hard hats, safety glasses, and a map of our route. We were also fitted with personal audio devices so we would be able to hear our guide through a headset while taking the tour.
Within the facility are 86 conveyor belts, six sorting screens, three optical sorters, and two balers. Workers, who are current inmates from the Baltimore County Detention Center, are stationed throughout the MRF to locate materials missed by the automated equipment. Throughout the tour of this vast facility, Osher members were provided with an abundance of information from our guides.
Here are five notable things that our group learned while on our tour:
- Do not include “tanglers” in your recycling bins. Tanglers are long or stretchy items such as plastic bags, clothing, linens, rope, or cords. Watch the video above about how detrimental tanglers are to the MRF.
- Each piece of recycling is processed from start to finish in approximately 3 minutes.
- Aluminum cans yield the highest profit from the sale of recycled items, more than both plastic and paper.
- Very small items are difficult to sort through the MRF as they are not always captured in the sorting process. Our guide, Richard Keller, recommends that if the item is small enough to hold liquid in your carry on, then you should not be placing it in your recycling bin.
- The Baltimore County MRF processes between 30 and 35 tons of waste per hour.
You can learn more about Baltimore County’s efforts to promote a clean, green County by accessing the Department of Public Works’ newsletter.
Join the Osher at TU Green Team
Osher at Towson University’s Green Team formed less than a year ago. These Osher members are dedicated to initiating sustainable changes within the Osher community. They also aim to raise awareness of environmental issues by educating themselves and their fellow Osher members on ways that they can be more environmentally conscious. If this blog post sparked your interest, consider attending a Green Team meeting. The Green Team meets on the second Friday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in room 233 of 7400 York Road. Remember, it’s okay to talk trash, just try to keep it clean.