Thousands of Bowie households will be able to cast out the old when they ring in the New Year as the Bowie City Council authorized overtime hours to allow for recycling pickup for about 4,000 homes.
The city’s observance of Christmas and New Year’s Day meant residents of neighborhoods such as Collington Manor, Lake Village Manor and Devonshire would go three weeks before having recycling pickup, said Jim Henrikson, the city’s public works director.
“We want people to know about this service,” said Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson at the Dec. 3 City Council meeting.
The change was welcomed by Byron Smith, president of the Devonshire Homeowners association, which includes 185 homes. During last year’s break in recycling, his two roughly 40-gallon recycling containers were filled to capacity with items from the holidays, Smith said.
“The problem with Christmas is there really is a lot of wrapping paper and things that are really recyclable,” he said. “If you skip recycling, you're likely to have that wind up in the trash.”
While Bowie pays tipping fees to dispose of trash, the city actually makes money when it collects recycling as it receives a minimum of $5 for every ton of recycled material it drops off and has received as much as $60 per ton depending on market conditions for the recyclable, Henrikson said.
Picking up on New Year’s Day will require about 14 people to work on the holiday and cost about $5,000 in triple overtime, Henrikson said.
The change will represent the first time the city has picked up on one of the eight holidays it recognizes since the city’s public works department picked up trash on Presidents Day in 2010. Snowy weather caused a backlog of trash at resident’s homes, Henrikson said.
The city will be looking at the tonnage of debris collected as it decides how much need there is for pickup when a holiday causes a break in service, Henrikson said. The next holiday the city recognizes that impacts collections is Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21.