A work group tasked with studying organics diversion and composting held its third meeting on May 17, 2018. Legislation passed in 2017 (HB 171/SB 99) requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to study the diversion of yard waste, food residuals, and other organic materials both in Maryland and other states and recommend how both Maryland and its local governments can implement better diversion programs. MDE must consider programmatic, infrastructure, and funding challenges, as well as challenges that may be unique to different geographic regions of the state. The study is primarily focused on compositing but will also review the permitting process for anaerobic digestion facilities.
As part of its study, MDE must consult with a variety of stakeholders that currently compose the work group, including both MACo and the Maryland Municipal League. The work group previously met on January 24 and March 19.
As the pie chart shows, nearly 30% of the waste stream in the United States consists of food waste, yard trimmings, and other compostable materials. As Maryland’s recycling rates have increased, compostable materials have become the single largest item in the waste stream that goes into landfills or is incinerated.
MDE must submit an interim report of its findings and recommendations to Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly by July 1, 2018, and a final report by July 1, 2019.