On January 13 Governor Martin O’Malley issued Executive Order 01.01.2015.01, which institutes four recommendations regarding zero waste, including a ban on issuing new landfill capacity permits for municipal and land clearing debris landfills. The four policy changes are based on recommendations made in the State’s zero waste plan that was released in December of 2014.
The executive order:
- Prohibits the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) from issuing new capacity permits for municipal and land clearing debris landfills for any permit application submitted on or after January 19, 2015
- Sets an 85% statewide waste diversion goal and 80% recycling goal by 2040, including a state government 20% recycling goal and 60% organic waste diversion goal by 2020
- Requires MDE, in consultation with the Maryland Green Purchasing Committee, to create a source reduction checklist for use by State agencies, including for procurement purposes
- Requires MDE to provide local governments with information on alternatives to land-filling.
From the Governor’s January 13 press release:
“While we know that climate change is real, and Maryland is vulnerable, we also know that we can take steps to ensure the sustainability of our Maryland communities and our environment,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today’s action is the right thing to do for our environment – and it creates opportunities for the jobs and business activity that we need to ensure the environmental and financial health of our communities. By limiting sources of waste, and by recycling, reusing, and composting the remaining waste, we are creating a more sustainable world for our children and their children.”
Statewide, there is an estimated 36 years of remaining municipal landfill capacity at current disposal rates. Eliminating inefficient and harmful disposal of waste into landfills is possible through progressive source reduction – avoiding waste before it occurs – and increased recycling and innovation in reuse, which will extend the life spans of Maryland’s municipal landfills.
The incoming administration of Governor-Elect Larry Hogan can choose to enforce, modify, or discard any executive order of a prior governor.