Organics Diversion and Composting

Waste Managed in U.S. in 2013

Compostable materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings make up nearly 30% of all municipal solid waste generated in the U.S.  Instead of disposing of this material in landfills and incinerators, composting uses organic material to create a valuable product with environmental and economic benefits, including greenhouse gas emissions reductions and green jobs.

Recycling of some organic materials, such as yard trimmings and manure, is widespread in Maryland.  One area of growing interest is food scraps diversion.  Though only an estimated 9.6% of food scraps was recycled in Maryland in 2014, much of the remaining material could be prevented, used to feed humans or animals, or composted.  

For additional information on Food Scraps Management in Maryland visit the Department's Food Scraps Management web page.



House Bill 171 – Department of the Environment – Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study​  

Subject:  Public Meeting

Date and Time:  January 4, 2018; 1 PM to 3 PM

Call-In:  The Department's 410-537-4281 Mulit-Party Conference line accomdates up to 14 people.

Place:  MD Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD

Add’l Info:  The Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”) has scheduled a meeting of the study group required by House Bill 171 – Department of the Environment – Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study.  The bill requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”), in consultation with certain persons, to study and make recommendations regarding specified matters that relate to the diversion of yard waste, food residuals, and other organic materials from refuse disposal facilities, including the status of infrastructure in the State.  The complete text of the bill is available at

 An agenda of the meeting will be posted as soon as it is available..

Meetings are tentatively scheduled to occur every other month in 2017.  If necessary, more frequent meetings will be scheduled.  However, it is anticipated that, even if additional meetings are necessary, study group meetings will take place no more than once per month.  Future meeting notices will be posted here and on the Department’s Public Meeting Calendar web page.

Contact:  David Mrgich, 410-537-3314

FY18 Animal Waste to Energy Grant Program​
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is excited to announce the opening of the FY18 Animal Waste to Energy Grant Program (AWE Grant Program). MEA has made $3,500,000 available in two Areas of Interest (AOI) - on-farm/pilot scale and a community/regional scale. For details regarding the grant program requirements and restrictions, please see the FY18 AWE Grant Program Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)​.​


Composting Facility Permits

 The Maryland Department of the Environment (the Department) has published a final General Composting Facility Permit (GCFP) as provided under Environment Article, §9-1725, Annotated Code of Maryland, and Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)

The comment period on the draft GCFP ended on February 1, 2016.  The Department has completed the review of submitted comments and a response to these comments is available in the Response to Comments on Draft General Composting Facility Permit March 28, 2016 summary.

Composting Facilities

As of August 22, 2017, the Department  has reviewed 19 applications for composting permits.  As a result of the reviews, the Department has issued 14 certificates for coverage under the General Permit, modified 4 landfill refuse disposal permits to include composting, and issued 1 Individual Composting Facility Permit.

Thirteen (13) of the facilities compost yard waste, 3 compost both food and yard waste, 2 compost food waste and manure, and 1 composts hay, straw, and manure.​

Composting Facility Regulations Adopted (COMAR 26.04.11)

On June 12, 2015, a Notice of Final Action was published adopting new composting facility regulations effective July 1, 2015.  The Final Action adopted the regulations as proposed in December 2014, with several minor nonsubstantive changes.  The changes are listed in the Notice of Final Action.

Fact Sheets


The following are collections of organics diversion resources targeted to various audiences.  These resources can help you start an organics diversion program at work, school, or home, or simply learn more about compost and its use. Food Hierachy

Other Information

Legislation and Reports


  • Composting facilities:  The Department's Resource Management Program, 410-537-3314.
  • Natural wood waste recycling:  The Department's Solid Waste Operations Division, 410-537-3318.
  • Sewage sludge composting:  The Department's Biosolids Division, 410-537-3314.
  • Stormwater discharges:  The Department's Water and Science Administration Compliance Program, 410-537-3510.
  • Groundwater discharges:  The Department's Water and Science Administration, Groundwater Permits Division, 410-537-3778.
  • Compost product registration or operator certification:  Maryland Department of Agriculture, State Chemist, 410-841-2721.
  • Local zoning or land use issues, or any requirements governing backyard composting:  Please contact your county recycling office.  Contact information can be found here.