A coalition of environmental and community groups and half a dozen Baltimore City Council members on Saturday launched a plan under which the city would strive to one day virtually eliminate waste, and, they say, create jobs and improve the community in the process.
The plan includes straightforward proposals such as distributing large recycling bins and compost containers citywide and paying local residents a living wage to collect the material, but also a broader set of ideas that don’t directly relate to household trash. They include plans to salvage construction and demolition materials and promote community adoption and ownership of vacant lots and buildings. “We see momentum growing for big change in Baltimore,” said Meleny Thomas, a community organizer with United Workers in South Baltimore.
At least initially, though, the groups’ focus is on eliminating the destination for most of the city’s waste — the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator near Russell Street and Interstate 95. The same activists pushed the council to adopt a clean air ordinance last year that the incinerator’s owners said would be impossible to comply with.
The new plan calls for the city to cut its ties with Wheelabrator once its contract to deliver its trash to the incinerator expires in 2021.