Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (June 24, 2002) –The efforts of Marylanders to produce less waste and reuse materials continue to make a significant contribution to recycling efforts already in wide practice. These efforts raised Maryland’s 2001 waste diversion rate to 39 percent, up from 37.75 percent in 2000, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) reports.

A joint resolution enacted in the 2000 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly 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.

“Marylanders have shown tremendous support for recycling in their neighborhoods and their businesses,” said Acting MDE Secretary Merrylin Zaw-Mon. “Recycling helps conserve our natural resources and creates a safer, cleaner environment for our children. The voluntary 40 percent goal will help motivate us to continue to look for new opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

In the second year of this optional source reduction report, 11 Maryland counties, representing 76 percent of all Marylanders, reported on the source reduction activities that they provide local citizens and businesses. These counties emphasized reducing waste at the source and were able to raise their diversion rates from 1 to 5 percent, which helped boost the state’s total waste diversion rate. The state’s waste diversion rate is the total of recycling plus source reduction credits.

A variety of source reduction activities are taking place throughout Maryland. More counties have provided easy access to resources via the Internet so that people know how they can produce less waste and where they can take materials to be re-used instead of discarded.

For example, counties have shown citizens that healthy lawns can be had without bagging grass clippings and businesses are getting free consultations on how they can improve their bottom line through recycling and source reduction.

“We can’t rest on our laurels,” added MDE Waste Management Director Richard Collins. “New national recycling initiatives are on the horizon. Over the next year, we will be working closely with local governments to provide opportunities to incorporate these new initiatives into their programs.”

For more information on recycling and source reduction in Maryland go to MDE’s website at: and click on the “Recycling in Maryland” link on the sidebar.