Prince George’s Exec Proposes Expansion of Composting Pickup Program

Washington Post article (2019-04-22) reported that Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has proposed expanding the County’s composting pickup program from 200 households to 3,000 households during the next fiscal year. The proposal would be in lieu of the County returning to a two-day-a-week trash collection schedule.

The County moved to a one-day-a-week schedule under former Executive Rushern Baker III. While the move saved the County significant money and helped reduce air pollution, it proved unpopular with some voters and was an election issue during last year’s Democratic primary. At the time, Alsobrooks supported a return to the original two-days-a-week schedule.

However, the article noted that Alsobrooks asked for the County’s Department of the Environment to come up with an alternative plan after considering that a return to two-days-a-week would cost between $7-10 million and involve extensive contract renegotiations with 15 garbage companies. That alternative was an expansion of the County’s composting program, which would become available to any household that wants to participate after three years.

The article noted that Alsobrooks has proposed $200,000 for the program in the FY 2020 budget. The funding covers 3,000 food scrap carts and pails and composting mailings and advertisements. The article stated that the County is home to one of the largest municipal composting facilities on the East Coast.

From the article:

“We had to get very innovative with this problem,” Alsobrooks said last week in Chillum, Md. “I think you’re going to be pleased with what we came up with.” …

Alsobrooks, a native Prince Georgian who campaigned on a promise to make government more responsive to residents, said trash collection “is a kind of meat-and-potatoes issue” for her constituents. …

Trash and litter, she adds, are some of the first things she hears about when she is shopping at Wegmans or getting coffee at 7-Eleven.

The article also highlighted mixed reactions from County residents. While most were cautiously supportive about composting, some raised concerns about the need to still address the broader trash collection issue.