Montgomery County Releases Report Highlighting Recycling Achievements

Courtesy Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection has released its  2022/2023 Recycling Summary, highlighting the county’s recycling accomplishments.

Per the news release: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Director Jon Monger today released the County’s  2022/2023 Recycling Summary, which highlights the County’s recycling efforts and new materials eligible for recycling. The announcement was made at the County’s Transfer Station Recycling Center as part of the County’s Earth Month celebration.

“Montgomery County is dedicated to setting an example for the state and the nation in waste and recycling management,” said County Executive Elrich. “From accepting durable medical equipment and paint for reuse to recycling mattresses, books and textiles, we are consistently looking for innovative ways to recycle more and waste less. While there is still more we can do to reduce waste and increase recycling, we are making progress towards our goal of achieving zero waste. This Earth Month, let’s all Act Now and work together to reduce, reuse and recycle more.”

DEP includes all materials being reused and recycled by the County in its recycling rate calculation. These materials include glass, plastics, paper, tires, electronics, mixed metals, scrap automobiles, construction and demolition debris, asphalt, concrete, motor and other types of oil and grease, liquid animal protein, animal carcasses, paints, textiles, propane tanks, manure, food waste for animal feed, industrial fluids, mercury and hazardous household waste.

Since 2020, the County has increased recycling of glass, paper, plastic, tires, electronics and various construction and demolition materials.

Between 2020 and 2022:

  • Plastic recycling increased by 110 percent
  • Construction and demolition materials recycling increased by 58 percent
  • Tire recycling increased by 32 percent
  • Mixed paper recycling increased by 15 percent
  • Electronics recycling increased by 7 percent
  • Glass recycling increased by 3 percent

In 2023, DEP began accepting new materials for recycling and reuse, such as mattresses, box springs and durable medical equipment. DEP collected 251.5 tons of mattresses/box springs and 18 tons of durable medical equipment in 2023. In addition, DEP began sending usable paint collected at the transfer station to non-profit organizations in Africa.

DEP has also expanded the list of electronics that can be recycled at the transfer station, including audio and video tapes, empty printer ink cartridges and handheld electric tools.

“Thanks to individual and collective action across the County, the amount of trash we are producing is going down as our County continues to grow,” said DEP Director Monger. “From 2018 to 2022, the amount of waste disposed of per person decreased by 11 percent. This is no small feat–and a credit to our ongoing work to reduce waste, reuse material and recycle more. The idea is simple – the more we recycle, the less we throw away and the closer we get to aiming for zero waste. Each and every resident and business in the County plays a key role in helping reach this goal together.”

Montgomery County is dedicated to expanding and diversifying its solid waste and recycling management. This includes expanding commercial and residential food scrap composting programs and adding to the list of materials accepted for recycling.

DEP manages the nationally recognized Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program, which works intensively with commercial generators of food scraps to increase recycling. Through this program, DEP helps businesses establish on-site efforts to separate food scraps and deliver them to a composting facility in the region.  There they are processed and used to create a useful soil amendment that returns to the marketplace. All businesses and organizations that have graduated from this program continue to recycle their food scraps.

DEP is also working to provide curbside recycling collection of food scraps to all single-family residences starting with more than 1,500 homes. The data, information and feedback gathered as this program is started will be used to inform the planning for the future Countywide program.

The DEP website has more information on how and where to recycle in Montgomery County.

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