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List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Shari T. Wilson, MDE Secretary 

Volume IV, Number 3

 February 2010

eMDE is a quarterly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

Maryland Exceeds Annual Goal to Recycle and Prevent Waste

By David Mrgich, Land Management Administration

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By recycling and reducing waste, in 2008 Marylanders realized greenhouse gas savings equivalent to removing nearly 1.5 million passenger cars from the roadway. For the fourth straight year, Maryland’s waste diversion rate exceeded the State’s 40 percent voluntary goal.

In 2008, Maryland diverted 47.5 percent of waste bound for disposal – 43.9 percent from recycling and 3.6 percent from the source reduction credit that counties earn for activities designed to reduce the amount of solid waste generated. 

The State recycled 3,369,057 tons of waste and reduced the amount of waste generated by over 290,200 tons. The British thermal unit (Btu) savings resulting from Maryland’s waste diversion activities is the equivalent of the annual energy consumption of 536,856 households, or the amount of energy contained in 9,928,051 barrels of oil or 463,309,065 gallons of gasoline. 

Counties across Maryland not only collect the “core” recyclables that include mixed paper, glass containers, metal containers, plastic containers, white goods, and organics for recycling, they also collect electronics, mercury, scrap tires, motor oil, and antifreeze, just to name a few. Other programs encourage the removal of construction and demolition materials and hazardous wastes from the solid waste stream.

Maryland’s 40 percent voluntary waste diversion goal was established 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 rate is the recycling rate plus a credit of up to 5 percent for source reduction activities, which eliminate waste before it is created.

Maryland was the third state to recognize the benefits of source reduction by offering jurisdictions credit for 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 waste diversion web page and in the annual “Maryland Waste Diversion Activities Report” located in the "Publications" section of the waste diversion web page at mde.maryland.gov/recycling.


©2010 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230