Just as we were dropping our 2009 Baltimore City Department of Public Works calendar in the recycling bin, we received the terrible news: A new DPW calendar for 2010 is not forthcoming from the city.
The calendar, which we gave a Best of Baltimore award to in 2005 for being the "Best Use of Taxpayer Money," listed city holidays and trash and recycling pickup dates, important info back before we got this new One Plus One system that replaced our twice-a-week trash and twice-a-month recycling pickups with once-a-week pickups for both. Not so much now, says DPW spokesman Robert Murrow, who says that the new system makes it easier for citizens to keep track of pickup schedules.
"One Plus One made everything so much simpler," he says. "One day a week you have trash, and another day of the week you have recycling. So it undermined the purpose [of the calendar]."
According to a press release sent by the DPW on Dec. 21, the full-color, 44-page calendar was also expensive to print and not environmentally friendly enough for cleaner, greener Baltimore. In place of the calendar, DPW opted instead sent out a postcard with the city's recycling rules.
"One of the things Mr. David Scott [director of DPW] wanted is, we're always talking about being green, maybe we should practice it," Murrow says. "It was a 44-page calendar. That's a lot of paper and even though it's recycled paper, we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint."
Plus, Murrow says, the postcards were a lot cheaper to send. He says that printing a 2010 calendar would have cost the city $121,595. The cost of printing and mailing the postcards that went out in its place this year was only $58,106.
So far, Murrow says that the department has received about a dozen calls from people who still want the calendar, so the department is currently working on a compromise—something along the lines of a calendar in PDF file form that people can download themselves from the DPW web site. We'll put up a link when they get something up on the site.
In the meantime, it may be worth it to dig through your recycling bins to look for that postcard that should have arrived in mailboxes this week—it displays a graphic of what items can and cannot be recycled and it lists holidays that will affect pickups in 2010. Speaking of holidays, Murrow says that many people don't know that the makeup day for missed pickups due to holidays is the following Saturday—that information, apparently, is on the postcard. Guess we need to find it and put it up on the fridge.