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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Organics Diversion and Composting 

U.S. Waste Generation Compostable materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings make up nearly 30% of all municipal solid waste generated in the U.S.  Instead of disposing of this material in landfills and incinerators, composting uses organic material to create a valuable product with environmental and economic benefits, including greenhouse gas emissions reductions and green jobs.

Recycling of some organic materials, such as yard trimmings and manure, is widespread in Maryland.  One area of growing interest is food scraps diversion.  Though only an estimated 8.5% of food scraps was recycled in 2012, much of the remaining material could be prevented, used to feed humans or animals, or composted.


Fact Sheets



The following are collections of organics diversion resources targeted to various audiences.  These resources can help you start an organics diversion program at work, school, or home, or simply learn more about compost and its use.  Food Hierachy



Other Information


Legislation and Reports



  • Composting facilities:  MDE, Waste Diversion & Utilization Program, 410-537-3314.
  • Natural wood waste recycling:  MDE, Solid Waste Operations Division, 410-537-3318.
  • Sewage sludge composting:  MDE, Nutrient Resources Division, 410-537-3375.
  • Stormwater discharges:  MDE, Water Management Administration Compliance Program, 410-537-3510.
  • Groundwater discharges:  MDE, Water Management Administration, Groundwater Permits Division, 410-537-3778.
  • Compost product registration or operator certification:  Maryland Department of Agriculture, State Chemist, 410-841-2721.
  • Local zoning or land use issues, or any requirements governing backyard composting:  Please contact your county recycling office.  Contact information can be found here.

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