Organics Diversion and Composting

Waste Managed in U.S. in 2013

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 9.6% of food scraps was recycled in Maryland in 2014, much of the remaining material could be prevented, used to feed humans or animals, or composted.  

For additional information on Food Scraps Management in Maryland visit the Department's Foo​d Scraps Management web page.



NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL - FOOD MATTERS FUNDING - CITY OF BALTIMORE.  Will be awarding up to $10,000 each to schools, nonprofit organizations, and/or small businesses that do work in support of Baltimore’s goal to reduce commercial food waste in Baltimore City by 50 percent by 2030 May 7, 2019. All applicants will be notified whether they have been selected for funding during the week of May 27. The application deadline is Tuesday, May 7, 2019. All applicants will be notified whether they have been selected for funding during the week of May 27.​  

Maryland Department of Agriculture Seeking Grant Proposals for Animal Waste Technology Fund​

House Bill 171 – Department of the Environment – Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study

Subject:  Public Meeting

Date and Time:  Tuesday, April 23, 2019; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM  

Future meetings will be canceled and rescheduled if State offices are on liberal leave or are closed.  Details on State closings are available on the Department of Budgement and Management's Special Closings of State Buildings, Liberal Leave and Emergency Information​ web page.​

Parking:  Study Group attendees will park in the Blue Lot and enter the building through the tunnel (located at the back right corner as entering the blue lot).  The Blue Lot is on the left, prior to the railroad tracks if approaching​ from 95 or traveling north on Washington Blvd.  Or on the right, after the Red Lot and the railroad tracks if approaching from Baltimore City or Monroe St.

Call-In:  Study Group members ONLY have the ability to call into the meetings.  The multi-party conference line accomdates up to 14 people.  Study Group members should contact the Department for the call-in number.

Place:  Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230

Documents:  Documents for the meeting are available in the House Bill (HB) 171 Study Group section, below.

Add’l Info:  The Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”) has scheduled a meeting of the study group required by House Bill 171 – Department of the Environment – Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study.  The bill requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”), in consultation with certain persons, to study and make recommendations regarding specified matters that relate to the diversion of yard waste, food residuals, and other organic materials from refuse disposal facilities, including the status of infrastructure in the State.  The complete text of the bill is available at

Meetings are tentatively scheduled to occur every other month in 2018.  If necessary, more frequent meetings will be scheduled.  However, it is anticipated that, even if additional meetings are necessary, study group meetings will take place no more than once per month.  Future meeting notices will be posted here and on the Department’s Public Meeting Calendar web page.

Contact:  David Mrgich, 410-537-3314


House Bill (HB) 171 Study Group

HB 171 Interim Report

HB 171 text.
HB 171 Study Points.  This April 16, 2018, revised document lists the tentative order for study topics to be addressed by the Study Group.

April 23, 2019, Study Group Meeting

April 23, 2019, HB 171 Agenda 

December 3, 2018, Study Group Meeting  

December 3, 2018, HB 171 Agenda  

December 3, 2018, HB 171 Topic 10 - Food Waste Recovery Pilot Program in Elkridge/Jessup Region -Peter Ettinger, BTS Bioenergy 

December 3, 2018, HB 171 - Dredged Material Innovative Reuse - Maryland Port Authority 

December 3, 2018, HB 171 Topic 10 - Recommend a Pilot Program for the Region of Elkridge and Jessup (coming soon)

December 3, 2018, HB 171 Recommendations (coming soon)

December 3, 2018, HB 171 Meeting Minutes (Draft) 

September 20, 2018, Study Group Meeting

September 20, 2018, HB 171 Agenda
September 20, 2018, HB 171 Topic 7 - Sanitary and Public Health Concerns - MDE presentation​
September 20, 2018, HB 171 Meeting Minutes (Draft)  

July 16, 2018, Study Group Meeting

July 16, 2018, HB 171 Agenda
July 16, 2018, HB 171 Topic 2 - Other State Laws (con't) White Paper
July 16, 2018, HB 171 Topic 6 - Incentives Relevant to Organic Materials Diversion White Paper
July 16, 2018, HB 171 Meeting Minutes

May 17, 2018, Study Group Meeting

May 17, 2018, HB 171 Study Group Meeting Agenda​
May 17, 2018, HB 171 Topic 8 Anaerobic Digestion Permitting Presentations:

March 19, 2018, Study Group Meeting  
March 19, 2018, HB 171 Study Group Meeting Agenda
March 19, 2018, Topics 3 & 5 - Infrastructure; HB 171 White Paper.  Review the status of infrastructure for the diversion of organic materials. Figures​:

​1 - 2016 Permitted Yard Trimmings Composting Facilities,
2 - 2018 Permitted Yard Trimmings Composting Facilities by Region,
3 - Large Food Scraps Generators,
4 - FSCAP Horse Farms and Animal Feeding Operations Farms,
5 - Food Scraps/Manure Composting Facilities and Anaerobic Digestors,
6 - 2018 Food Scraps/Manure Composting Facilities and Anaerobic Digesters by Region,
7 - Food Pantry and Free Meal Sites associated with Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank,
8 - Permitted Natural Wood Waste Facilities by Region

​March 19, 2018, Topics 3 & 5 - Infrastructure; HB 171 Recommendations Discussion
March 19, 2018 HB 171 Meeting Minutes

January 24, 2018, Study Group Meeting
January 24, 2018 HB 171 Study Group Meeting Agenda​​
January 24, 2018, Topic 1 - MD State laws; HB 171 White Paper  Diversion of organic materials from refuse disposal facilities in the State, including State laws or regulations governing the diversion of organics.


HB 171 Subgroup Meetings

August 23, 2018, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM; Composting Subgroup
August 24, 2018, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM; Anaerobic Digestion Subgroup

August 28, 2018, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM​; Food Donation/Source Reduction Subgroup

Composting Facility Permits

 The Maryland Department of the Environment (the Department) has published a final General Composting Facility Permit (GCFP) as provided under Environment Article, §9-1725, Annotated Code of Maryland, and Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)

The Department's review of submitted comments and a response to these comments are available in the Response to Comments on Draft General Composting Facility Permit March 28, 2016 summary.

Certain water related permits may be applicable to a composting facility.  See the Contacts section below, for groundwater and stormwater discharge contact information.

Composting Facilities

As of 2019, the Department  has issued 23 composting permits.  As a result of the reviews, the Department has issued 18 certificates for coverage under the General Permit, modified 4 landfill refuse disposal permits to include composting, and issued 1 Individual Composting Facility Permit.

Currently, 18 facilities are operating.  Out of the 18 facilities, 13 
compost yard waste, 3 compost both food and yard waste, 1 composts food waste and manure, and 1 composts hay, straw, and manure.​


Composting Facility Regulations Adopted (COMAR 26.04.11)

On June 12, 2015, a Notice of Final Action was published adopting new composting facility regulations effective July 1, 2015.  The Final Action adopted the regulations as proposed in December 2014, with several minor nonsubstantive changes.  The changes are listed in the Notice of Final Action.

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