Welcome to Clean Air Baltimore!
Energy Justice Network’s vision for a cleaner, greener Charm City.
The Clean Air Baltimore Project is comprised of two main components:
Why Clean Air Bmore?
Baltimore City is plagued by two incinerators placed in low-income communities: the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator, and Curtis Bay Energy – the nation’s largest medical waste incinerator. These facilities spew invisible, poisonous emissions and leave behind toxic ash that is stored in the city’s landfill.
Recognize this smokestack?
A landmark into Baltimore and passed by thousands daily, Wheelabrator (formerly known as Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Company, or BRESCO) releases invisible, but toxic pollutants into Charm City.
Click this link to learn more about Wheelabrator.
Curtis Bay Energy (aka Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services) is one of the few remaining medical waste incinerators in the United States, and is the largest of those remaining. It receives medical waste from over a dozen states and Canada – a clear environmental injustice.
Click this link to learn more about Curtis Bay Energy.
You also can check out this page with more facts about incineration.
What are the solutions? Increasing recycling rates .
Over 70% of the Baltimore’s waste is recyclable, yet only about 20% gets recycled. Recycling as much as possible starves Wheelabrator and increases demand for our own recycling facilities.
Learn more about recycling here.
This is where our incentivized program, Divert Baltimore/Baltimore Recycles comes into play. We just wrapped up our first pilot in January 2018, and hope to take the program citywide by 2020! Click here to find out more about Divert Baltimore/Baltimore Recycles.
Compost! Food waste can be recycled too! Work with your local school, church or community garden to learn and implement backyard composting in your community and send your food scraps there! This builds the demand for our own compost facility. Learn more about composting here.
Baltimore City’s contract with Wheelabrator expires December 31st, 2021. which means right now is the perfect time to advocate for and introduce zero waste policies in Baltimore.
Shift government policies!
In 2017, Baltimore City passed both Climate Change and Zero Waste resolutions calling for our city to be more sustainable in carbon dioxide emissions and waste production. Unfortunately, these resolutions don’t have any teeth. Call your council members and encourage them to make these resolutions into laws!
Pass a Clean Air Ordinance, which will strengthen emissions standards for both Wheelabrator and Curtis Bay Energy. This also will require continuous monitoring of major pollutants, and installation of up-to-date pollution controls.
Here is our page with more information about the Clean Air Ordinance.
Build Material Recovery Facilities (MRF, pronounced ‘merf’) These recycling facilities would pull more recyclables out of the waste stream that weren’t separated at your home or business. Then the city would have more materials it could sell to manufacturers, bringing in additional revenue! Even better, building and running MRFs means jobs for Baltimoreans!
Build a Compost Facility in Baltimore City. Like recycling, there is a need for more commercial scale municipal compost facilities that process food waste into compost.
- Prepare for growing pains. Change is necessary but can be tough. As DPW and other agencies implement these changes mistakes and mishaps will likely occur. Be patient and stick with it!
- Start at home. You can begin your zero waste journey today by recycling at home, starting or joining a compost group and reducing your consumption. Educate yourself on what you can do at home!
- Take it to the community. Join your local neighborhood association and ask them to support our work and support zero waste projects.
- Join our work! We work daily with your elected officials and administrators to pass, implement and enforce these laws.