The Montgomery County Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently reached a major milestone as it surpassed 200,000 pounds of food scraps collected and recycled into a beneficial soil amendment. The program’s success is due largely to the participation of commercial partners who, despite the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, started the program in 2020.
Eleven initial partners joined the program, with each responsible for separating pre-consumer food scraps for recycling collection. DEP’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Section provides training and education, educational materials, 35-gallon food scraps recycling collection containers, compostable bags and food scraps recycling collection service three times per week.
“Think about it—200,000 pounds of food scraps that would have gone in the trash was instead converted to compost and is serving a new purpose,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “All of this is due to the commitment from our commercial partners. We know 2020 was a very difficult year for these businesses, and yet, they understand the importance of protecting our environment and the steps they can take to reduce waste.”
The collected food scraps are transported to the Prince George’s County Western Branch Organics Composting Facility. At that facility, the food scraps are mixed with yard trim materials and processed and marketed as a commercial product called “Leafgro Gold.”
“Increasing recycling of food scraps from the commercial sector is an important part of our Zero Waste goals,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our partners have shown that recycling food scraps benefits both their business and the environment at the same time. I look forward to seeing this program grow.”
The commercial partners in the first phase of DEP’s Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program included:
- Chevy Chase Country Club, Chevy Chase
- GSK, Rockville
- John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children & Adolescents, Rockville
- Kenwood Country Club, Bethesda
- Purée Artisan Juice Bar, Rockville
- Qiagen, Germantown
- Quartermaine Coffee Roasters (Bethesda location), Bethesda
- Relish Catering LLC, Rockville
- Shepherd’s Table, Silver Spring
- Simply Fresh Events Catering, Gaithersburg
- So What Else, Inc., Rockville
The Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Program will continue to add partners in 2021. More information on the program can be found at MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/FoodScraps or by contacting Eileen Kao at: Eileen.Kao@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.