Working for a More Sustainable Mount Rainier Maryland

Tag: Trash & Recycling

Joe’s Stream Team Call to Action

The Creative Works Stream Team out of Joe’s Movement Emporium has been working diligently to maintain consistent clean-outs of the litter trap in the local Arundel canal right here in the city of Mount Rainier. The Arundel canal is a tributary of the Anacostia River and its watershed. Those who know of the Stream Team and our work should know that our focus is litter reduction overall but particularly in the local waterways. The “big picture” goal is to have a fishable and swimmable Anacostia River. We are calling on the people, the citizens, the residents, the families, the community of Mount Rainier to step up, step in, and help us with what seems to be a never-ending battle against polluters and litter.

Many people tend to not connect the dots between litter found on land (“Land-Litter”) and Litter found in Oceans, Bays, Lakes, Rivers, and Streams (“Water-Litter”). What is on the land can and usually will end up in a current somewhere and eventually in a larger body of water where it can potentially harm wildlife and negatively affect the water quality. While the Stream Team are doing its part, this is a task that really lives up to the saying of “it takes a community.” We are giving a heads up to the community of Mount Rainier that the Creative Works Stream Team will be canvassing, door to door, throughout Mount Rainier, in the near future. Our purpose will be to seek Block Leaders: individuals in the community who are willing to become part of a network we hope to create through this city. 

This network will be similar to Neighborhood Watch or Crime Watchers only we’ll be asking folks to report on a consistent basis of how much if any litter accumulates on your particular block in the city. Blocks with high volumes of litter we can zone as “litter hot spots” and work to solve the litter problem, perhaps by hosting and leading a clean-up of your neighborhood.

If you see people in sky blue shirts at your door, don’t be alarmed, it’s only the Stream Team coming to try to defend our beautiful neighborhoods from pollution. Once we have attained a dedicated community group we’ll follow up with details on our overall community environmental protection plan. As always, to learn more about Joe’s Stream Team or to keep up with the efforts, please, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @JoesStreamTeam. Send us an email if you would like to at StreamTeamPG AT gmail DOT com with any questions or concerns.

Cassette/VCR Tape Recycling Drive

Cassette Tape/VCR Tape Recycling

The Green Team is sponsoring a drive to recycle cassette and VCR tapes.  We have to do with a specialty recycler located out west called Green Disk.  While they accept a variety of items we will only be shipping media, namely cassette and VCR tapes.  If you would like to drop off you tapes for recycling email hlinak AT gmail DOT com and Joseph will provide you instructions for drop off.  The drive will end when we get a full box to ship.

Mount Rainier Reuse and Recycling Guide

This guide to what is recyclable by the City of Mount Rainier, what is not recyclable, and what can be recycled at other nearby locations was last updated in July 2018. You can also download a printable version of the guide here.

Did you know the average Marylander generates 6 pounds of waste each day?

This adds up and in the City of Mount Rainier this totaled close to $75,000in landfill costs in 2014. Reducing waste, recycling and composting can help save the planet and save money.

The purpose of this guide is to help residents find alternatives and beneficial uses of your waste.

City Recycling Programs

Curbside Recycling Pickup
The City picks up recycling every Friday. If there is a holiday, it will be picked up the following Monday. Accepted materials include aluminum and steel/tin food and bev-erage cans, glass bottles and jars, mixed paper and card-board, plastics #1 through #7 (See quick guide on back). If you need a cart contact Public Works at 301-985-6583

Curbside Yard Waste Pickup Biodegradable yard waste is collected every Monday March through November. Yard waste must be in biode- gradable paper bags or in reusable containers—no plas- tic bags. Residents are allowed 3 cubic yards per pick up, anyone going over the limit will be asked to pay for the overage. Bamboo and wood are not yard waste, these are collected as bulk trash. Yard waste such as brush and branches must be tied in bundles not more than 4′ in length and/or 50 pounds.

Backyard Composting Program
The City launched a program to help residents compost by offering compost bins for residents at a subsidized cost of $20. The bins generally retail for more than $80. Help keep food waste out of the landfill and contact Public Works to purchase a bin at 301-985-6583.

Electronic Waste/Polystyrene Days
The City hosts electronic waste recycling days on the third Saturday of March, June, September, and Dec-ember where residents can bring their items to 3750 Wells Ave (Public Works). Acceptable items include computers, tab- lets, keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, fax machines, TVs, VCRs, DVD/CD/MP3 players, stereos, radios, turntables, telephones, cell phones, cables/cords, and ink jet and toner cartridges.

The Green Team at the same time hosts polystyrene #6 (Styrofoam) recycling collection, which is taken to the EPS Industry Alliance in Crofton. If you don’t want to wait, you can take your polystyrene to the location during business hours. For more information on what polystyrene is acceptable:

Recycling Quick Guide

The City cannot accept recyclables in plastic or paper bags


  • Food and beverage containers


  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum, bimetal, ferrous, and steel food and beverage containers
  • Aluminum foil

Mixed Paper/Corrugated Cardboard

  • All paper
  • Aseptic/gable-top milk and juice cartons
  • Catalogs & Magazines
  • Flattened corrugated cardboard (boxes)
  • Frozen food packaging
  • Hard- and soft- covered books
  • Kraft paper bags & wrapping paper
  • Magazine
  • Newspapers with inserts
  • Paper board (cereal and cracker boxes)
  • Telephone books
  • Unsoiled Pizza Boxes


  • Drinking cups
  • Flower pots
  • Narrow-neck containers numbers #1 through #7
  • Wide-mouth containers such as peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise tubs
  • Prescription bottles

Remember to rinse all food and beverage containers and to recap or place the lids in the recycling cart/bin.

Common items that are NOT RECYCLABLE:

  • Plastic Bags (As of July 1, 2015 no plastic bags or film)
  • Styrofoam
  • Coat hangers

Other Recycling Options

Plastic Bags
As of July 1, 2015 plastic bags are no longer recyclable. Many grocery stores accept plastic bags and have bins for recycling. You can search for the nearest location here:

My Organic Market
My Organic Market (MOM) grocery store offers recycling of many types of items including drink pouches, corks, sneakers, and batteries, in addition to plastic bags. For more info:

Refrigerators, Freezers, Air Conditioners
Pepco has an appliance-recycling program and will recycle old, working refrigerators or freezers and give you $50. Through this program you can also recycle working window air conditioners and get an extra $25 at the same time. You can schedule a pickup by calling 877-395-5540 or visit the Pepco Appliance Recycling Program website.

Building Materials & Furniture
Community Forklift
Community Forklift in Edmonston accepts donations of mostly new and salvaged building & landscaping mater-ials, appliances, and tools, as well as antique and vintage housewares. They also accept furniture and commercial materials on a case-by-case basis. More info is available by contacting 301-832-0781 or by visiting

Habitat For Humanity
The Habitat for Humanity Restore accepts donations of household goods, building supplies, and furniture donations. All household goods and furniture donations are sold to the public at deep discounts and all proceeds are used to fund new affordable housing in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. You can drop off items or they will pickup.

Do you have concrete, bricks or chunks of clay and rubble? Luckily there is a local business that will recycle this material for a small price at 3334 Kenilworth Ave in Hyattsville. Contact DC Materials at 301-403-0200 or

Scrap Metal
Scrap metal is a hot commodity in Mount Rainier. One option is to place it on the curb and likely it will disappear within hours. However, if you’d like to get some cash for your metal, you can bring it to Metro Re-Uz-It Co., Inc. at 3401 Kenilworth Ave in Hyattsville. More information is available at

Clothing, Housewares, Etc.
Find a local Goodwill to donate items to:

Charity Pickups
Find a charity that will pick up your donations for free:

Freecycle is a moderated listserve for people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers:

Mount Rainier Listserve
If you have something to get rid off, consider posting it to the Mount Rainier listserve. If you aren’t on the list you can join by contacting:

Something else not listed?
Search Earth 911 for recycling/reuse locations:

Hazardous Items
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

Do NOT throw CFLs away in your household garbage. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury within the tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – and are safe to use in your home. However, the bulbs should be handled with care. Broken CFLs are considered hazardous waste. Unbroken CFLs can be brought to any Home Depot store or you can search here for other locations near you:

Hazardous Waste
What is Hazardous Waste?
Items include:

  • Car & household batteries
  • Automotive fluids
  • Cooking oil
  • Cleaning agents
  • CFLs
  • Oil-based paints
  • Poisons
  • Insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers
  • Solvents, varnishes and stains

For more info call 311 or visit

The City is not permitted to collect hazardous material. All material must be brought to the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill in Upper Marlboro. For information call 311. It is free of charge to County citizens and residents who need to dispose of harmful household waste.

The County does offer collection for Senior citizens and the disabled. To qualify, no one living in the home can be under 65 years of age or be physically able to transport the material to the County’s facility. Residents who qualify for this service should call 311 to schedule an appointment for the at home collection of household hazardous waste.

2018 Fall Clean Sweep

This is tomorrow!

Come help your fellow Mounties beautify Mount Rainier. We’ll provide gloves, bags, maps, trash pickers, and to a random selection of participants prizes (a drop in class pass for Joe’s Movement Emporium)! Well meet at 9 AM on 9/29 at City Hall. Some supplies provided by PGC Dept of Environment through Clean Sweep program.

Community Conversation – Trash & Recycling

Recycling Containers

September 11, 2018 at City Hall the City Council will be hosting a Community Conversation concerning trash and recycling in Mount Rainier.  The event will start at 7 PM to ask your questions about the recycling/trash cart roll out or recycling in general.  Councilmember Luke Chesek, Green Team Chair Joseph Jakuta, and Director of Public Works Kourosh Kamali will be sitting on the panel.

Add to Your Calendar

Don’t Throw Out The Trash… Can

When September ends every house will be getting a new 65 gallon rolling recycling cart and a new 45-gallon trash cart. Later, you won’t be able to use yellow bins for recycling or any old cans for trash unless you qualified to opt out or they work with the trash truck lift. So, what do you do with those old cans you can’t use anymore?

For social media - reusecansFor one, you can have them taken away as part of the rollout and there will be more from the City on that later. But, reuse is the greenest choice, so the Green Team has some options for you – just don’t forget to clean them out before reusing!

Let’s get creative, Mount Rainier. The Green Team will be giving away prizes for creative trash can reuse!


1. New Planter. Metal or plastic trash cans without a lid can be used as a planter both indoors or outdoors. Drill a hole in the bottom for proper drainage. Pro-tip: If you are not sure yet where you’d like to place your new trash can planter, fill the bottom with plastic bottles before you fill it with potting soil. Also, Larger trashcans make ideal containers for root vegetables, or any plant that has a long or deep root system, such as potatoes.

barrel2. Rain Barrel. A metal or plastic trash can be used to collect rain water, help provide free water for watering your garden, and prevent excess runoff in big storms. There are plenty of different ways to craft a trash can into a rain barrel. At this time, you cannot apply for a Rain Check Rebate if you use your trash can as a rain barrel. This tutorial from has a good rundown of you’ll need/how to repurpose your trashcan as a rain barrel:
mulch3. Yard waste/mulch container. Instead of purchasing bags upon bags at Home Depot or Lowe’s, why not use your now outdated trash can to store and put out yard waste on Mondays? Plastic cans might be easier to repurpose for this use. Another option: use it to collect free mulch from the County when they have their free mulch days every spring.
compost4. Compost bin. Turning a trash can into a compost bin is a great way to upcycle your trash can while also providing useful compost for your garden. You can use a metal or plastic trash can for this. A drill will likely be needed. This link can give you tips on how to create a compost bin in this fashion:
storage5. Storage. Need a bin to store things in? Whether it be outdoor tools, pet food, children’s toys, or even a clothes hamper, look no further than your current metal trash can! For tools, just clean it out and put them in. For pet food, clean it out and line it with a plastic bag or paper – or simply store the economy sized bags in it. For clothes hamper/children’s toy bin, clean it out, line it with cute fabric, decorate the outside and voila!
furniture6. Furniture. Another option is to turn your metal trash can into an artistic piece of furniture – an end table, a main table, or some other design. This one is a little trickier to do yourself, but some good places to look for inspiration could be Community Forklift, Tanglewood Works, and Pinterest!

Enter how you re-purposed your trash can: by December 31, 2018 to win.

NOTE: Make sure you wait until you don’t need your old cans for trash though before you re-purpose them!

Bandalong, What’s That?

bandalong-pictureAs the weather warms up many of us will wind up near the Anacostia River or one of its tributaries.  You may notice that there is often lots of trash in it. There is no way we can have a swimmable, fishable, drinkable river if we can’t stop it from being trashed.  That is why in 2010 under the Clean Water Act, EPA, Maryland and Washington, DC established a limit on trash in the Anacostia. The limit, called a TMDL, was set to bring trash levels to zero.  That’s no trash what so ever.

Our local governments have been doing a lot to solve this problem.  Prince George’s County and Washington, DC have both banned styrofoam, and DC has also taxed plastic bags, but that only gets you so far.  Trash still finds it way into the river.

Of course most Mounties aren’t litterbugs, but that doesn’t mean all trash gets thrown out properly and some of that litter gets washed into the rivers during big rain storms.

That is where the Bandalong Litter TrapTM comes in.  The Bandalong is a type of floating trash trap that gets installed on a stream and catches the trash.  Since the Bandalong floats and trash floats it can collect the trash while fish can still get under it.

Prince George’s County Department of the Environment in partnership with Anacostia Riverkeeper through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust will be installing the first trap in Prince George’s County under the bridge under 31st Street by Richardson Park.  The bandalong will likely be installed this spring and there will be an event to kick off the clean up so stay tuned. The trap will be inspected and cleaned out regularly but the Green Team is also interested in finding residents to help clean it up once or twice a year, email if interested in helping.

How To Stop Phone Book Deliveries

indexA few months ago I came home to a soggy phone book in a plastic bag thrown into the bushes near my porch steps. I was surprised to receive a phone book since I don’t even have a landline. If you are like me, I threw the book straight into the recycling bin. Most of us remember a time when phone books were extremely useful before the internet. It is how we found friends’ or businesses’ phone numbers. But today most of us look up numbers online and have friends’ numbers saved in our phones.

So why do we still get phone books? Apparently companies have fought regulations to phase out phone books, specifically the yellow pages, because they contain ads that make these companies money.

According to the nonprofit, in order to print the over 500 million phone books every year distributed in the US companies use over:

  • 19 million trees;
  • 1.6 billion pounds of paper;
  • 7.2 million barrels of oil; and
  • 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Yuck! Thats a lot of resources to make something that often just gets thrown out.

In the end, municipalities pay millions of dollars to trash or recycle stacks of books. Several municipalities and states are fighting phone book deliveries but currently almost every household gets a phone book each year.

There is good news though. You can opt out by visiting

It is simple to do and will help the environment.


In the meantime, if you get an unwanted phone book delivered at your house, please remember to remove the plastic bag and then put your phone book in the recycling bin. Plastic bags cannot be recycled in Mount Rainier’s curbside recycling.


The “Stryofoam” Ban

indexJust three days before we celebrated America’s independence, PG County initiated our freedom from a lesser know menace: expanded polystyrene (EPS), more well known by a certain brand name, styrofoam.

EPS is often used in cups to serve hot beverages, carry out food, or package goods for transport (in peanut form). But it’s not economical to recycle EPS so it end up in landfills where it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Even worse, styrofoam often just winds up as litter on our city streets and parks, where it is an eyesore and a great water-collecting mosquito breeding ground. Wherever EPS goes, it leaches into our water system and can poison fish, birds, sea turtles, etc.

The new rule means that businesses, particularly restaurants, cannot legally provide EPS to customers. The exceptions are when food is prepared off site,  prepackaged, or raw meat. PG County has started a massive outreach to business but not everyone may have gotten the memo. That’s where you come in. If you order take out in PG County and still get styrofoam containers, there are several things you can do:

  1. Tell the business about the ban. They just might not know.
  2. Call PG County 311, visit, or use the CountyClick311 app to submit a complaint.
  3. If all else fails, order elsewhere.


Rolling Cart Analysis

An analysis of the financial benefits of switching to rolling recycling carts. Mt Rainier Rolling Recycling Bin Analysis.

2018 Update: some cost numbers have shifted since analysis was completed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén