St. Patrick’s Day weekend is here, and the town will be painted in green. The town will come alive and be filled once again. St. Patty’s Day is the unofficial return of the season, more officially heralded as the town warms up. I am filled with excitement for the upcoming parade and parties. As I think about the upcoming festivities, I am reminded that Ocean City is a proud green beach and works diligently to ensure the sparkling waters and white sands remain clean for you each year.
Going Green in Ocean City
The Ocean City chapter of the Surfrider Foundation introduced Strawless Summer. Over 70 restaurants and 500 individuals have pledged to stop using straws and single use plastics. These restaurants are recognized as Ocean Friendly Restaurants, encouraging the reduction of plastic pollution. In November of 2018, The Mayor and Council of Ocean City passed a resolution in support of Surfrider’s efforts.
After the success of Strawless Summer, Ocean City’s Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, and its partners the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean City Surf Club, launched a source reduction program, “Protect our Sands and Sea”. This campaign works to voluntarily reduce the use of plastics and expanded polystyrene products, such as carry out containers, beverage cups, plates, coolers and other products used throughout the hospitality industry.
The campaign is further encouraged by Maryland State Senate’s recent passing of a bill to make Maryland the first state to ban expanded polystyrene products commonly known as Styrofoam.
Surfriders Foundation continues their efforts to reduce pollution with regular beach cleanups. The club and locals meet regularly at the Inlet parking lot, traveling the beach, picking up garbage and refuse. If you need a break from the celebrations this Saturday, the group is meeting at 2PM for the next cleanup.
Adopt Your Beach
Ocean City Surf Club, in partnership with The Green Team, introduced the Adopt Your Beach initiative. ATB is focused on more than just beach litter. The program focuses on not only the cleanup, but “fosters feelings of pride and ownership as local residents begin to care for their beach and it gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in conserving coastal resources.” While collecting litter in the adopted area, individuals collect data about the litter, supporting efforts to develop solutions to pollution. To learn more, email the OCSC at email@example.com.
Locally, residents and visitors generate roughly 34,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually. Previously, waste was land filled in Worcester County’s central landfill, but the town chose to find alternative trash processing. The town collects the MSW from all residents and businesses, however; once the trash is brought back to the solid waste transfer station, it is loaded in large tractor trailers and taken to the Energy Resource Recovery Facility, which is owned and operated by Covanta 4Recovery, a leader in solid waste management energy. That facility, which is located in Chester, PA., has an annual capacity of nearly 1 million tons of MSW.
MSW is used in lieu of fossil fuels to generate heat and produce steam. The steam is then used to turn turbines that produce electricity. On average, 670 Kilowatts of electricity are produced for every ton of trash that is burned. Left over metals are sorted to be recycled after burning.
For those who prefer more traditional recycling over waste to energy incineration, two drop off locations can be found in the surrounding area of Ocean City. Sorting bins can be found in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in West Ocean City. Also, Berlin offers a single-stream recycling station located on Old Ocean City Blvd. The entrance is between the main entrance to Berlin Falls Park and Croppers.
Several groups in Ocean City, Assateague and surrounding areas are dedicated to educating the public on the ocean and beach ecosystems. Public outreach and engagement remain the top way to educate locals and visitors alike to ensure we all work together to protect our beaches, oceans, bays and other natural resources. In addition to our local municipality and state and national park rangers, local non profits are dedicated to protecting our shores.
- Maryland Coastal Bays (410)213-2297 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ocean City Reef Foundation email@example.com
- Assateague Coastal Trust (410) 629-1538 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lower Shore Land Trust (443)234-5587 or email@example.com
To learn more about Eastern Shore living and going green in Ocean City, contact Mechelle Nichols, Luxury Collection Specialist, at 410.430.1575 (cell) or mnichols@LuxuryShoreLiving.com.