Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (July 28, 2000) -- Marylanders continue to embrace the three R’s -- Reduce, Re-use and Recycle -- according to the latest figures tabulated by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

In 1999, Maryland achieved a statewide recycling rate of 36 percent, three percent higher than the year before. [See chart below.] Maryland’s recycling rate has continually increased year after year since the Maryland Recycling Act was passed in 1988.

"I am proud of Maryland’s citizens and all of the local officials and businesses who help to accomplish this significant contribution to the health of our environment," said Governor Parris N. Glendening. "Recycling our waste products is a proven way to help conserve precious resources, reduce the amount of valuable land dedicated to holding trash and it makes economic good sense."

Earlier this year, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 6 establishing a voluntary statewide solid waste diversion goal of 40 percent by the year 2005. The diversion rate is defined as the recycling rate plus up to a 5 percent source reduction credit for counties that have implemented a variety of source reduction activities.

"It has taken the hard work of all our stakeholders including state and county officials, businesses, and most importantly, residents to set this upward trend," said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. "The foresight of county recycling coordinators and the easily accessible public programs they have established has allowed Maryland to reach this level of success."

The 40 percent statewide solid waste diversion goal and increased public outreach of the recycling message were recommendations of the Maryland Recycling Advisory Group along with the Governor’s Solid Waste Management Task Force and the Maryland Recyclers Coalition.

MDE encourages and assists local governments and businesses to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management systems. In December 1999, MDE hosted a training program for county recycling and solid waste managers. Through an EPA grant, technical assistance was provided to businesses in Baltimore and Harford counties to implement or improve their recycling and source reduction programs. With the help of a Source Reduction Work Group, MDE has established a system to give credit to counties with source reduction programs.

"MDE appreciates the dedication of our stakeholders who demonstrate their commitment to the protection of Maryland’s environment by giving so generously of their time and expertise," said Hallie Clemm, MDE’s chief of planning and recycling. "Without their support our job would be much more difficult."

Recycling practices can be easily worked into everyday life. For instance:

At home, use the free county recycling bins to separate newspaper, glass and plastics. Then set them out by the curb on the appropriate day, or taken them to the nearby recycling station. Your local government recycling coordinator can give you more details.
In the workplace, whenever possible make double-sided copies of documents, or better yet, use e-mail.
When shopping, buy goods with minimal packaging and save even more by purchasing refillable commodities.

For more information on recycling in Maryland go to MDE’s website at: