Plastic bags are eliminatedfrom recycling pickups

On July 1, Prince George's County stopped accepting plastic bags and plastic film in its curbside recycling program. Contractors will not empty carts or bins that contain these items and will tag violators' containers with a sticker.

The bags become contaminated when mixed with recyclables, reducing their value to manufacturers of recycled products, and they jam and clog recycling machinery. They are not recycled and end up as landfill waste. The county also cites concerns that some bags could contain hypodermics or medical waste — a health risk to sorters at the recycling facility.

The prohibition includes grocery, retail or trash plastic bags; bread bags; dry-cleaning bags; fruit and vegetable bags; garden product bags; newspaper bags; crinkle cereal bags; bubble packing; zipper pouches; and outer shrink wrap from packages.

The county encourages residents to use reusable bags when shopping and to recycle plastic bags in collection boxes near the entrance at most local grocery stores.

For information, go to

County bans coal tar paving products amid runoff concerns

Prince George’s County has banned the sale and use of coal tar paving products commonly found in asphalt driveways and parking lots. The products contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are carcinogenic to humans and fish.

The ban will minimize stormwater runoff of PAH contaminants to local waterways. Contractors or property owners that use a coal tar product are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per day.

Residents and contractors should use less-toxic asphalt-based or latex sealants and review ingredients and safety data sheets when purchasing products from home improvement stores. The county is contacting property owners, contractors, distributors and retail vendors to implement the ban.

For a list of products free of coal tar, go to

WSSC opens satellite office in Largo for building permits

The water utility WSSC recently opened a satellite office at the Prince George’s Department of Permitting, Inspection and Enforcement, Inglewood Center III, 9400 Peppercorn Pl., Largo.

Services offered include coordination of WSSC approvals for building permits, reviews of water and sewer-related plans, permitting guidance and joint WSSC-county consultations on construction projects and site plans.

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, with a lunch break each day from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Water bills cannot be paid at the location. Payments can be made by phone at 301-206-4001 or 800-634-8400; online at; and in person at 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel.