Recycling in Frederick County is a service most residents take for granted, but it’s not one that all people qualify for. Lori Duke owns a four-unit property on East Third Street in Frederick, but her tenants share a single recycling bin. When Duke called the city in April to get another bin, she was told her property didn’t qualify.

Duke ended the conversation believing that her tenants’ recycling would no longer be picked up. “If you have that rule, where is the enforcement?” Duke said after contacting The Frederick News-Post.

The reality is, Frederick County and the city of Frederick don’t have the resources to enforce recycling laws until a situation is brought to their attention.

The city of Frederick’s approach is making sure people have the opportunity to recycle, said city Superintendent of Sanitation Zach Fleagle, during a presentation to the city’s Sustainability Committee.

Back in 2012, the General Assembly passed a law that required all property managers to provide recycling services to complexes with 10 or more units by Oct. 1, 2014.

Frederick County currently also provides single-family residential properties curbside recycling as part of their system benefit charge.

The county uses the State Department of Assessments and Taxation’s designation for the primary use of the property to determine if a property is eligible for recycling, said Kevin Demosky, director of the county’s Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management.

In some cases, near Hood College, homeowners have divided their homes to make student housing, which has changed the designation of the property from a single-family home to a multi-family property that no longer qualifies for recycling, Fleagle said.

Duplexes, triplexes, condominiums and townhouses can be single-family residential properties as long as each unit has its own entrance. When a single entrance is shared by multiple units, then the property becomes multi-family, which the Frederick County Board of Commissioners clarified in 2009.

This leaves a gap of residents who don’t have enough units to require that their landlord contract for recycling, and too few entrances to be single-family. Duke said she felt like she was being penalized for being honest. “I know other multi-family [properties] and they have recycling bins,” Duke said. “We were singled out because we called.”

Duke has not spoken to the owners of these similar properties, but was basing her opinions off observations she has made.

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