In 2018, compostable materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings make up nearly 34% of all municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. (see pie chart). 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 15.5% of food scraps was recycled in Maryland in 2019, 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.
HB264, Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion--Food Residuals--Effective January 2023, requires certain generators within 30 miles of a composting facility to either
reduce, divert to food rescue organizations, farms for animal feed
operations, or compost or anaerobically digest the residuals.
House Bill 171 – Department of the Environment – Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study
Details on HB 171 and the Study Group are available on the House Bill 171 - Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure web page.
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) 26.04.11.11.
Certain water related permits may be applicable to a composting facility. See the Contacts section below, for groundwater and stormwater discharge contact information.
To date, the
Department has issued 22 composting permits. As a result of the
reviews, the Department has issued 17 certificates for coverage under the
General Permit, modified 4 landfill refuse disposal permits to include composting,
and issued 1 Individual Composting Facility Permit.
Currently, 20 facilities are operating. Out of the 20 facilities, 14 compost
only yard trimmings, 5 compost a combination of food scraps, yard trimmings, manure
etc., 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.
County Food Scraps Collection Programs
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.
Legislation and Reports