Welcome to the Clean Air Baltimore Coalition!
The Clean Air Baltimore Coalition is focused on three main projects:
2) DIVERT BALTIMORE,
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 dumped in the city’s Quarantine Road Landfill.
Recognize the smokestack above?
Wheelabrator Baltimore (formerly known as Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Company, or BRESCO) is the city’s largest air polluter by far, burning up to 2,250 tons of trash per day from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, several other Maryland counties, and Pennsylvania. Learn more about Wheelabrator.
Curtis Bay Energy (a.k.a. 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 20 states plus Canada. 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
75% of Baltimore’s waste is recyclable, yet only about 15% 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 recycling program, Divert Baltimore comes into play. We just wrapped up our first pilot in January 2018, and hope to take the program citywide by 2020! Find out more about Divert Baltimore!
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.
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 the Baltimore Clean Air Act, 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 Baltimore Clean Air Act.
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.