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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment


International Compost Awareness Week (May 6-May 12, 2013)


NEW PUBLICATION- Composting Workgroup Final Report, January 2013 - NEW PUBLICATION

On May 10, 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley signed House Bill 817 entitled Environment – Composting (Chapter 363, Acts of 2011).  The bill became effective July 1, 2011 and directed the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE” or “Department”), in consultation with Maryland Environmental Service (“MES”) and Maryland Department of Agriculture (“MDA”), to:

  • Study composting in the State, including laws and regulations governing composting by individuals and composting businesses;
  • Develop recommendations on how to promote composting in the State, including any necessary programmatic, legislative, or regulatory changes; and
  • Report findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

 The Composting Workgroup Final Report details the recommendations of the study.

Composting Grant

The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to award a grant for the continued development of the local composting market in Maryland.  Proposals are due to NMWDA no later than 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, 2013.  For details, please see the following 3 documents or visit the NMWDA's web page at


Composting - General Information

Organic matter such as yard and food wastes comprises 23% of the waste generated in the United States. Composting is an effective, inexpensive, and natural way to handle this organic waste. With many of Maryland's jurisdictions banning yard wastes, composting is an important part of Maryland's waste management strategy.

What is Composting?Composting

  • Composting is the process by which organic matter is biodegraded to a soil-like condition called compost or humus. Composting works best with a 2:1 Green/Brown ratio:
        • "Greens" are the source of nitrogen and include items such as grass clippings, almost all food waste, old plants, wilted flowers, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and manure;
        • "Browns" are the source of carbon and include items such as leaves, hay, straw, wood chips, sawdust, chipped brush, and shredded newspapers.
  • DO NOT use meat, fish, bones, dairy foods, fats, and oil or grease when composting because they smell, attract pests, and retard the biological process that converts the organic material to compost.
  • When organics are composted, they become natural soil additives for use on lawns, gardens, and potting soil. As a soil amendment or mulch, compost adds essential nutrients to the soil, improves soil texture, moderates temperatures, and increases the ability of the soil to absorb air and water. It also suppresses weed growth, decreases erosion, and reduces the need to apply commercial soil additives, thereby saving you money.


Composting Operation Permitting Fact Sheet

Updated on February 3, 2012, this two-part fact sheet developed by the Land and Water Management Administrations provides guidance regarding the various types of MDE permits that may be required for commercial, governmental, or experimental composting operations.


2011 House Bill 817, Environment - Composting


Resources for More Information

For further information on composting contact:


Please direct questions or comments to: 

  •      MD Department of the Environment Permitting Guide
  •      MD Department of Agriculture Regulations -- State Chemist, 410-841-2721
         or by fax at 410-841-2740
  •      Solid Waste Composting -- MD Department of Environment Solid Waste Operations Division 410-537-3318
  •      Natural Wood Waste Composting -- MD Department of Environment Solid Waste Operations Division
  •      Sewage Sludge -- MD Department of Environment Nutrient Resources Division 410-537-3375
  •      Prior to the Start of Food Composting Operations -- MD Department of the Environment Solid Waste Program
  •      Stormwater Discharges -- MD Department of the Environment Compliance Program 410-537-3510
  •      Groundwater Discharges -- MD Department of the Environment Groundwater Permits Division 410-537-3778
  •      Discharge Permit General Information
  •      Refuse Disposal Permit -- MD Department of the Environment Solid Waste Program 410-537-3318