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Perhaps you’ve seen an old sofa or a used mattress along some of the rail lines or alley ways in and around Baltimore County.  Maybe a thoughtless individual dumped large trash items along our public parks or highways.  Regardless of the circumstance, they are unsightly, unseemly and negatively impact the quality of life for a community.

Bulk trash can be a troublesome issue and is addressed in different ways in the Baltimore region.  One approach deals with the imposition of penalties for illegally dumping trash on roads and alleys.  In April of 2015, Baltimore County increased its minimum fine to $500 and allowed for the imposition of a jail sentence of up to six months for those found guilty of dumping.

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Baltimore City likewise has fines in place for illegal dumping, $500 for amounts under 25 pounds and $1,000 for amounts in excess of 25 pounds.  The City, however, has another fairly aggressive program in place to address bulk trash. While there are exclusions for automobile parts, building materials and hazardous waste, city residents are still able to coordinate a pick-up of up to three large items, or four if they are all tires.  Baltimore conducts approximately 600 pickups a day and generally only requires 4 business days of notice in order to schedule.  Bulk trash is one of many services coordinated through Baltimore’s 311 program.

The best part? For residents of the city, it is an absolutely free service.

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The options when it comes to bulk trash items for Baltimore County residents are considerably more limited.  These include either personally taking bulk items to one of the county’s three drop-off facilities­­ or hiring a private, bulk item collector.  While the drop-off facilities do not charge a fee for Baltimore County residents to bring their items, for many residents the process can be daunting: many do not have the appropriate transportation options to haul bulk items, while others (such as our senior citizens) may not have the physical ability to move heavy and cumbersome objects around. The alternative of paying for pick-up is hardly a more appealing option and can end up costing several hundreds of dollars.

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While it might not solve all of the challenges associated with illegal dumping throughout Baltimore County, it might be worthwhile to consider finding a way to implement a low or no cost bulk pickup option similar to what is provided currently to our City counterparts.  In addition to being a useful service for county residents, it certainly makes it even easier to justify penalties for dumping. It could prove another useful tool in curbing some of the dumping challenges currently out there.

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