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:  March 19, 2018; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM  

Future meetings will be canceled and rescheduled if State offices are on liberal leave or are closed.  Details on State closings are available on the Department of Budgement and Management's Special Closings of State Buildings, Liberal Leave and Emergency Information​ web page.​

Parking:  Study Group members ONLY may park in the Red Lot (until full -- then the blue lot).  The Red Lot is directly in front of the building.

Interested parties will need to park in the Blue Lot and enter the building through the tunnel (located at the back right corner as entering the blue lot).  The Blue Lot is on the left, prior to the railroad tracks if approaching​ from 83 or traveling north on Washington Blvd.  Or on the right, after the Red Lot and the railroad tracks if approaching from Baltimore City or Monroe St.

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

Place:  Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230

Documents:  Documents for the meeting are available in the House Bill (HB) 171 Study Group section, below.

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

Meetings are tentatively scheduled to occur every other month in 2018.  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)​.​


House Bill (HB) 171 Study Group

HB 171 text.

HB 171 Study Points.  This newly revised document lists the tentative order for study topics to be addressed by the Study Group.  

January 24, 2018, Study Group Meeting
January 24, 2018 HB 171 Study Group Meeting Agenda​​
January 24, 2018, Topic 1 HB 171 White Paper.  Diversion of organic materials from refuse disposal facilities in the State, including State laws or regulations governing the diversion of organics.
January 24, 2018, HB 171 Meeting Minutes  

March 19, 2018, Study Group Meeting  
March 19, 2018, HB 171 Study Group Meeting Agenda
March 19, 2018, Topics 3 & 5 HB 171 White Paper.  Review the status of infrastructure for the diversion of organic materials.  Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
March 19, 2018, Topics 3 & 5 HB 171 Recommendations Discussion

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 Department's review of submitted comments and a response to these comments are available in the Response to Comments on Draft General Composting Facility Permit March 28, 2016 summary.

Certain water related permits may be applicable to a composting facility.  See the Contacts section below, for groundwater and stormwater discharge contact information.

Composting Facilities

As of December 1, 2017, the Department  has reviewed 20 applications for composting permits.  As a result of the reviews, the Department has issued 15 certificates for coverage under the General Permit, modified 4 landfill refuse disposal permits to include composting, and issued 1 Individual Composting Facility Permit.

Fourteen (14) 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