BALTIMORE, MD (August 14, 2000) – The efforts of Marylanders to produce less waste and reuse materials has made a significant contribution to recycling efforts already in wide practice. Maryland’s 2000 recycling rate rose to 37.75 percent, up from 36 percent in ‘99, as a result of a joint resolution enacted during the 2000 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) reports.
“Marylanders have worked hard to make recycling a part of their daily lives,” said Governor Parris N. Glendening. “Recycling helps conserve our natural resources and creates a safer, cleaner environment for our children. This new voluntary goal will motivate us to continue to look for additional opportunities to reduce waste statewide.”
The assembly’s joint resolution created a voluntary statewide waste diversion goal of 40 percent by 2005. This goal consists of a 35 percent recycling goal and up to a 5 percent credit for source reduction activities.
Seven Maryland counties, representing 54 percent of all Marylanders, reported source reduction activities by local citizens and businesses. These counties emphasized reducing waste at the source and were able to add 2 to 5 percent to their recycling rate to report their waste diversion rate.
“Recycling has become a way of life in Maryland,” said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. “We are now ready to take the next step and look for ways to make better use of what we buy and, therefore, throw away less.”
A variety of source reduction activities are taking place throughout Maryland. Counties are providing easy access to resources via the Internet so that citizens know where they can take materials to be re-used instead of discarded. Marylanders can also learn how to compost grass, leaves and twigs in their own backyard. Additionally, counties have shown citizens that healthy lawns can be realized without bagging grass clippings. MDE expects to see even more counties implementing source reduction programs next year as they learn from successful colleagues.
Non-profit groups are also partnering with government to increase awareness of the opportunities for source reduction and reuse of materials such as linens, pet supplies, medical equipment, clothing and computers.
Businesses are getting free consultations from county and state officials on improving their bottom line through recycling and source reduction. Businesses in Prince George’s County have a special recycling opportunity by participating in MDE’s Look for the Loop program, which aims to increase consumer awareness about the range of products made from recycled materials and encourages businesses to carry products made from recycled material. To take advantage of all the benefits the program has to offer, interested companies should visit the MDE web site at: www.mde.state.md.us/programs/landprograms/recycling/index.asp and download an application, or contact the Prince George’s County Waste Reduction Section via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (301) 883-5045.
For general information on recycling and source reduction in Maryland, go to MDE’s website at: www.mde.state.md.us and click on the “Recycling in Maryland” link in the Choose Topic list.