Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (November 14, 2005) --Last year, Marylanders continued the stride toward a 40 percent voluntary waste diversion goal by 2005 with 38.8 percent success. The waste diversion rate was comprised of a 35.8 percent recycling rate and a 3 percent source reduction (SR) credit. The 2004 waste diversion rate is just short of the 2005 goal and is down slightly from the 39.6 percent rate reported in 2003, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) reports. The agency anticipates the goal will be reached by year’s end.

“MDE promotes and encourages waste diversion across the state,” said department Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “We are encouraged by the results and look forward to expanding outreach efforts to promote recycling so we can reach Maryland’s waste diversion goal. This is accomplished through partnerships that work to develop markets for recyclable materials and increase the volume of materials diverted from landfills.”

Maryland’s recycling rate is in line with the national trend toward stabilizing recycling rates. Even though the Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) recycling tonnage increased 88,455 tons from 2003, waste disposed increased by 366,660 tons, resulting in the slight recycling rate drop. Meanwhile, Maryland’s source reduction rate increased to 3 percent in 2004, representing over 230,000 tons of waste that was prevented from entering the waste stream. This was an increase of over 29,000 tons of waste from what was diverted in 2003. 2004 County waste diversion totals were:

County/City MRA
Recycling Tons
Recycling Rate
Source Reduction
Waste Diversion Rate
Allegany 21,267.53 25.99% 3% 28.99%
Anne Arundel 318,916.24 36.55% 3% 39.55%
Baltimore City 314,249.32 29.70% 0% 29.70%
Baltimore County 456,265.14 40.59% 5% 45.59%
Calvert 38,420.37 39.08% 1% 40.08%
Carroll 61,690.76 28.90% 3% 31.90%
Cecil 23,557.00 22.39% 0% 22.39%
Charles 44,635.16 30.06% 5% 35.06%
Dorchester 27,520.02 37.80% 0% 37.80%
Harford 178,292.16 60.11% 4% 64.11%
Howard 134,318.61 37.37% 5% 42.37%
Mid-Shore 120,080.54 47.58% 0% 47.58%
Montgomery 390,092.00 33.77% 5% 38.77%
Prince George's 299,293.55 36.30% 3% 39.30%
Somerset 10,290.70 33.82% 0% 33.82%
St. Mary's 17,569.73 22.11% 1% 23.11%
Washington 29,796.00 22.26% 1% 23.26%
Wicomico 29,898.73 21.18% 0% 21.18%
Worchester 38,118.05 32.78% 0% 32.78%
Maryland Totals 2,681,978.35 35.8% 3.0% 38.8%

MDE is participating in dialogues with EPA, other states, and industry representatives to develop mechanisms for increasing recycling awareness. These initiatives will raise the national recycling rate through local, state, regional, and private partnerships. MDE's Waste Management Administration is in the process of filling vacancies to promote recycling and assisting Maryland counties.

Maryland’s 40 percent voluntary waste diversion goal was established in by the General Assembly in 2000 and is intended to encourage recycling and source reduction beyond the requirements of the 1988 Maryland Recycling Act. The waste diversion goal is comprised of the recycling rate plus a credit of up to 5 percent for source reduction activities. Maryland was the third state to recognize the benefits of source reduction and offer jurisdictions credit for certain activities designed to reduce the amount of waste entering the waste stream. Details regarding Maryland’s waste diversion activities are available on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s recycling web page at

Tomorrow (Nov. 15) is America Recycles Day (ARD). MDE will mark the occasion on Friday by hosting the 4th Annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest and judging ceremony. ARD is a national event that promotes recycling, source reduction, reuse, and the purchase of recycled content products. The sculpture contest, being held at MDE headquarters in Baltimore [located at 1800 Washington Boulevard] from 10 a.m. to Noon, is a fun and easy way to extol the benefits ARD represents.

High school students across Maryland have created sculptures made of recycled and used materials that would have otherwise gone in the trash. The sculpture contest challenges students to innovatively and artistically use recycled materials to create sculptures as a solution to waste reduction. Fifty-three students from across the state have entered the contest and created sculptures composed of cardboard, scrap metal, soda cans, crushed compact disks, electronics and more.

The “Rethink Recycling” sculpture contest is just one way MDE educates and empowers students and the general public to reuse and recycle materials. To find out what you can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled products, visit MDE’s recycling web page at: Remember when it comes to recycling, “It All Comes Back To You”.