Waste Diversion in Maryland

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) promotes and encourages waste diversion across the State of Maryland.  Waste diversion combines both recycling and source reduction activities.

The waste management pyramid​The Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) requires all Counties and Baltimore City to recycle 20% (populations under 150,00​0) or 35% (populations over 150,000) of the waste generated. State government is required to recycle 20% of their solid waste.  In addition, Maryland established a voluntary waste diversion goal of 60%, and a voluntary recycling rate of 55% by 2020.  The waste diversion goal is comprised of the recycling rate plus source reduction credits (maximum 5%) that Maryland Counties and Baltimore City earn through activities designed to reduce the amount of waste going to the waste stream.

MDE works toward Maryland's waste diversion goals by partnering with Maryland's jurisdictions and the public and private sectors to develop markets for recyclable materials and by working with other St​ate agencies to increase the volume of materials diverted from​ landfills. 



Food Residual Diversion Waiver Application - this is a link to the waiver application and instructions for Maryland's Food Residual Diversion law. For more information about the law, including waiver information, visit MDE's Solid Waste Management - Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion - Food Residuals webpage.

 Rx takeback day.jpg​​

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.    The web page also give the ability to search for year round pharmaceutical disposal locations.​
The next take back day is on April 27, 2024 from 10 AM to 2 PM


Issues in Focus

  • Organics Diversion and Composting

    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.
    • Food Scraps Management - At 33.7%, compostable materials comprise the largest portion of waste generated.  Food scraps comprise 54.1% of compostable material and 21.6% of the total waste generated.
    • Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Division – Food Residuals - During the 2021 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 264 or the Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Division – Food Residuals, Chapter 439 (law).  The law requires certain persons that generate food residuals to separate said residuals and divert them from refuse disposal sy​stems. 
  • Recycling Market Development

    During the 2021 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 164 or the Department of t​he Environment - Office of Recycling - Recycling Market law.  ​The law Requires the Office of Recycling in the Department of the Environment to promote the development of markets for recycled materials and recycled products in the State. It also requires the Office to evaluate the availability of recycling markets and identify businesses in the State that use recycled materials.

  • Construction and Demolition (C&D)

    Information for finding markets for C&D materials, a list of C&D acceptance facilities, disposal methods, and job-site recycling and waste prevention.
  • eCycling - Electronics Recycling

    Information provided on where businesses and residents can recycle or donate computers and other electronics, the benefits of recycling electronics, collection events, and eCycling partners.​
  • Education and Outreach

    Classroom presentations, America Recycles Day, fact sheets, fun facts, activities and web sites for educators and kids.

  • Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products Ban 
    Information provided on Maryland's ban on EPS food service products. Sections 9-2201 through 9-2207 of the Environment Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.

  • Green Building

    Information provided on green building programs, design, maintenance, product directories, model contracts, available funding, case studies, database of LEED architect/engineer/builders, green hotels and more.
  • Green Procurement and Environmentally Preferable Products

    Information on manufacturers and vendors of recycled products, environmentally preferable procurement programs, case studies, green procurement starter kits, model contracts, implementation information and buy-recycled training information.
  • Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

    Information on HHW collection events and programs, HHW county coordinator information, battery recycling and propane cylinder recycling.
  • Mercury Recycling

    ​Information on mercury, where it can be found, mercury thermometer drop-off locations for residents, alternative products, spill kit vendors, recycling resources, and thermometer manufacturers and retailer prohibitions.​ 
  • Newsprint Recycling

    Information on the required newsprint recycled content for newspaper publishers and distributors and the report forms.
  • Oil Recy​c​ling

    Information on used motor oil and antifreeze collection.
  • Pesticide Container Recycling Program

    For 25 years, Maryland’s pesticide container recycling program, offered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), has helped prevent pesticide residues from entering the soil and local waterways and has saved valuable landfill space by recycling more than 900,000 empty, plastic pesticide containers.
    • Recycling Market Directory

      The Maryland Recycling Directory locates markets for batteries, motor oil, aluminum, wood, textiles, fluorescent lights, and much more.​
    • Scrap Tires

      Scrap tires, because of their size, shape and associated environmental hazards, present both difficult and costly disposal and recycling challenges for the entities responsible for overseeing their management. MDE's Scrap Tire Program is dedicated to ensuring the cleanup of illegal scrap tire stockpiles and to managing the collection, transportation, recycling, and processing of the scrap tires generated in Maryland. 
    • Source Reduction in Maryland

      Contains helpful tips for reducing the amount of solid waste generated at home, school, office, and at the store, plus detailed information about source reduction in Maryland's counties.


    Contact Info

    For additional information or questions, email the Waste Diversion Division ​or phone at 410-537-3314.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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