May 26, 2021

County Announces Recipients of 2021 Recycling Achievement Recognition


Montgomery County's celebration of its 22nd Annual Recycling Awareness Week from May 24-28 will include the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recognizing outstanding achievements in waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

The awardees are being honored for their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle right. Each recipient is a model for all residents, multi-family properties and businesses to follow and replicate

“These leaders demonstrate, that even in difficult times, they are committed to reducing waste and recycling everything that can be recycled in the County,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “These efforts benefit our entire County and our environment.”

DEP Director Adam Ortiz said the recipients recognized demonstrate how all members of the community can contribute to helping the County reach its waste reduction and recycling goals.

“The past year has been a challenge for everyone. Yet, many businesses, multi-family properties and individuals continued to focus on efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle right,” said DEP Director Ortiz. “This week, we are highlighting some of these outstanding efforts. DEP congratulates each of our recognition recipients and thanks all of them for dedicating time and efforts to Montgomery County’s recycling program. They are helping us reach our ambitious goal to reduce waste and recycle more as we aim for zero waste.”

Recycling Volunteers—Recycling Champion

Awarded to County Recycling Volunteers who support the efforts of DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division—Waste Reduction and Recycling Section and who make a positive difference in their community. These individuals work diligently to engage others to actively participate in waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. Recognition is based upon the number of hours of volunteer service is provided and/or the number of events and/or activities in which the recycling volunteers participated.
  • Sanjukta Sil Upadhyay, Germantown. Since joining the Montgomery County Recycling Volunteer Program in 2015, Sanjukta has volunteered more than 100 hours and has participated in numerous events and activities. In the past seven years, Sanjukta helped increase resident awareness of recycling by participating in several parades, the County Fair and many special projects. During the COVID-19 health crisis, Sanjukta provided more than 30 hours of making phone calls to more than 600 residents as part of a phone survey for the County’s backyard food scraps recycling program.

Multi-Family—Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling

Awarded to multi-family properties that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance waste reduction and recycling programs. Information is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
  • Blair House, Silver Spring. Blair House has worked on its green initiatives to reduce waste, recycle right and increase residential participation. The goal of its program is to focus on waste reduction efforts for residents as well as to continue opportunities for recycling many different types of more difficult to manage materials, such as fluorescent lights, carpeting and food scraps. The property’s newsletter and welcome packet are methods used to provide information about these opportunities. One initiative is that some of the apartments have recycling centers built directly into the kitchen cabinetry to increase residential participation. Blair House continues to recycle food scraps, a program it started in 2015. In 2020, its waste diversion and recycling rate was 80 percent.
  • Falkland Chase, Silver Spring. The multi-family community is committed to reducing the amount of waste generated and increase recycling. Property management, staff and residents have embraced Montgomery County’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Right efforts.” Residential educational events help residents learn how to recycle right and reduce contamination of recyclable materials. These efforts include interactive activities aimed at reducing waste and recycling right.
  • Galvan, Rockville. With a focus on waste reduction as well as improving recycling, the property management team created a holistic approach for residents to reduce waste, while ensuring that materials are diverted into recycling and reuse streams. The Galvan provides quarterly diversion reports and education for residents. Janitorial services staff uses presentations, walk-through assessments and scorecards to encourage recycling. Recycling information is posted in common areas on-site, as well as through an app used by about 90 percent of residents. As part of Earth Day and America Recycles Day events, residents are provided with recycling tips, statistics and games focused on reducing, reusing and recycling. Prizes such as reusable water bottles or tote bags are given out to encourage sustainable practices.
  • Garland Towers, Takoma Park. Community members at Garland Towers hold each other accountable regarding recycling through awareness and education. Educational and informational notices about recycling are posted throughout the buildings. Residents hold on-site yard sales instead of disposing of lightly used items. There also is a designated “freecycle” area located in the laundry room where residents can place items that are no longer needed, allowing other residents to give items a second chance to be put to good use. Items not taken by residents are delivered to a reuse thrift store for donation.
  • Lionsgate at Woodmont Corner, Bethesda. The property management team at Lionsgate does a great job to improve the quality of materials collected for recycling. The property manager sends out weekly tips in the resident newsletter that keep recycling awareness at the forefront. To reduce the amount of waste generated, the property installed a water bottle filler for residents and employees to encourage the use of reusable water bottles to reduce plastic waste.
  • Maplewood Park Apartments, Bethesda. The property management team provides information about recycling at move-in time for new residents with educational materials. It also provides a tour of the property’s recycling collection area where residents take their materials and hosts a resident meeting to discuss on-site recycling. The property newsletter is used to educate residents how to recycle right. These efforts result in the recycling of many types of materials diverted from the waste stream such as batteries, carpeting, food scraps, building materials, fluorescent lights, cooking oil, paint and plastic hangers. Maplewood Park Apartments’ efforts to reduce waste and recycle can be seen in its waste diversion and recycling rate, which reached 74 percent in 2020.
  • The Elizabeth Condominium, Chevy Chase. When it comes to the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle) of managing solid waste, reuse is emphasized at The Elizabeth Condominium through donations of old computers and printers to schools in need. The preference of using electronic notifications and double-sided printing exhibits a commitment to waste reduction. In addition, there is a container on-site for residents to place items that are in good working condition for reuse, such as small appliances, books and furniture. The property partners with A Wider Circle to ensure these items are reused to help residents in need.
  • The Waterford Condominium, Kensington. As residents remained at home due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the amount of waste generated in 2020 increased. As a result, the Waterford Condominium stepped up its recycling efforts by developing a Green Team and created new, updated recycling signage. Using outreach and education, along with emphasizing the importance of reducing recycling contamination, the Waterford Condominium recycled more materials in 2020 and achieved a waste reduction and recycling rate of 62 percent.

Multi-Family Property—Green Team Leader of the Year

Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their multi-family communities to keep Montgomery County clean, green and beautiful. They help maintain the quality of life in their multi-family communities, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. Information obtained is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
  • Veronica Magan – MICA Condominium, Silver Spring. The co-chair of MICA Condominium’s Green Team, Ms. Magan, along with co-chair Manal Ahmad, has led the team in establishing a food scraps recycling program that is available to residents. The community quickly outgrew its 35-gallon food scraps recycling container and now fills a 65-gallon container that is collected weekly. Ms. Magan also coordinated a virtual education event during the COVID-19 health crisis to ensure residents were provided with information to recycle right, including information about recycling food scraps.

Business—Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling

Awarded to businesses that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance their waste reduction and recycling programs. Information obtained is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
  • Bikes for the World, Rockville. A leader in reducing waste, reusing materials and recycling, the organization demonstrates waste reduction and reuse by sending donated bikes in good working condition to people around the world to use for transportation and recreation. For bicycles not in good condition, Bikes for the World removes and reuses components for spare parts. Anything left that cannot be salvaged is recycled as scrap metal. Employees also are committed to reducing the amount of waste by bringing their lunches in reusable containers. In 2020, Bikes for the World had a waste diversion and recycling rate of 95 percent.
  • CSAAC, Montgomery Village. In 2020, CSAAC expanded its recycling program by recycling cell phones and unwanted and outdated computers. Staff placed mixed paper recycling containers in each training room and classroom to make it easier for students and adults with autism to recycle. CSAAC also strives to educate staff and program participants on the importance of recycling right.
  • Colesville United Methodist Church/Jamon Montessori School, Silver Spring. The staff and parishioners have never wavered in the recycling and sustainability goals for their shared property. Even as students were sent home and congregations ceased gathering due to the COVID-19 health crisis, office staff continued to recycle. Students and parishioners are kept informed on sustainability and recycling efforts and are active participants in the programs. In addition to the required recyclable materials, they have a textile recycling program that is accessible to students, parishioners and their community.
  • Kenwood Golf & Country Club, Bethesda. Working over the past few years to increase waste diversion and recycling efforts, the club in 2019 increased recycling efforts by adding containers for easier access by members and guests throughout the pool area, tennis courts and golf course. In 2020, Kenwood Golf & Country Club took an additional step by recycling food scraps as part of the Montgomery County Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Program. The club also switched to fully compostable straws and beverage cups, furthering its commitment to waste reduction and to keep single-use plastics out of the waste stream.
  • Montgomery County Public Libraries, Rockville. In 2020, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) worked to make recycling education more accessible to residents who, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, found themselves producing a greater amount of waste and recyclable materials as they worked and attended school virtually from home. MCPL hosted multiple virtual presentations and webinars on waste reduction, reuse, recycling right and backyard composting. These efforts provided residents with actions that they can take home to reduce waste, reuse materials, reduce contamination of recyclable materials and divert more items from the waste stream. MCPL staff enhanced recycling stations at more than 10 libraries and coordinated virtual recycling trainings for staff on what can and cannot be recycled. To minimize waste generation during the health crisis, staff used reusable bags that residents picked up as part of the book hold program.
  • Suburban Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine, Bethesda. The hospital has made great strides to sustainability and waste reduction over the past several years. It partnered with a waste reduction consulting group to find additional ways to reduce their waste and increase recycling. During 2020, the hospital completely revamped its recycling program with placement of color-coded, dual stream recycling containers and educational materials placed throughout the campus. The commitment to recycling did not waiver despite the increased demands on hospital staff during the health emergency. In 2020, recycling food scraps and batteries enabled Suburban Hospital to increase its waste diversion and recycling rate to 72 percent.
  • Target Stores in Montgomery County: Gaithersburg, Rockville and Silver Spring. The Target Corporation has made a strong commitment to sustainability in many of its store operations from auditing logistics in its supply chain, purchasing products from green businesses and closely monitoring recycling practices in each store. Target offers customers the opportunity to recycle additional materials that they can bring from home, including ink toner cartridges, MP3 players, plastic hangers, plastic bags and film. By providing these recycling services, Target is a partner in increasing recycling achievement and working toward zero waste.
  • United Therapeutics Corporation, Silver Spring. The company is dedicated to improving the environment, pursuing all possible waste streams and reducing its overall environmental impact. During the COVID-19 health crisis, its production never stopped, and neither did its recycling efforts. The staff started a pre- and post-consumer food scraps recycling program and an innovative K-cup beverage pod recycling program. Employees are constantly learning ways to reduce, reuse or recycle through comprehensive programs and trainings.
  • The Universities at Shady Grove (USG), Rockville. Through an efficient and well-maintained recycling program, USG has consistently had a waste diversion and recycling rate c above 70 percent. The campus works hard to promote sustainability to students, staff, teachers, campus contractors and visitors by continuously updating its website and posting signage and displays to promote greater recycling awareness, education and participation. The campus has been composting food scraps for more than five years in its cafeteria and cafĂ©. USG recycles empty printer and toner cartridges, batteries, cell phones and cell phone chargers. Student clubs host seasonal clothing and food donation drives to benefit local charitable organizations. To reduce single-use plastic waste, filtered water fountains are provided throughout the campus. USG also works closely with the University of Maryland’s "TerpTrader" program to reuse and recycle electronics and furniture. During the COVID-19 health crisis, the University’s Green Team continued sustainability initiatives by reducing the amount of plastic waste produced in its labs and working to retrofit recycling stations in its parking garages.

Business—Waste Reduction and Recycling Champion Awards

Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their workplace to keep land, air and water clean. These individuals maintain a healthy environment in their workplaces by engaging others to actively participate in waste reduction and recycling efforts. Recognition is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
  • Austin Aubinoe – Aubinoe Property Management, Rockville. The vice president at Aubinoe, he has demonstrated a commitment to improve the recycling program at Middlebrook Square Shopping Center in Germantown. The results can be seen through the regular updates provided to tenants to make sure they know how to recycle right.
  • Denise Wade – Montgomery County Department of General Services, Potomac. As a property manager of the Facilities Management Division, Ms. Wade helped increase recycling participation at more than 40 County-owned properties and facilities. The efforts include enhanced electronic recycling and scrap metal recycling efforts despite changes in facility operations due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Ms. Wade worked to transition waste and recycling programs at more than 170 County locations to a new refuse and recycling collection service provider. She renegotiated trash and recycling contracts, oversaw delivery and placement of appropriate refuse and recycling containers, enhanced recycling signage, provided bi-lingual education and training to staff and quickly resolved issues of recycling contamination.

Commercial Recycling Partnerships

DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division—Waste Reduction and Recycling Section recognizes the contributions of its commercial food scraps recycling partners to increase recycling achievement by separating pre-consumer food scraps from the waste stream and recycling them through the commercial food scraps recycling program. Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis, the partners, each of which began its participation at various times during this inaugural year of the program, separated and recycled more than 316,000 pounds of food scraps in less time than the program’s initial year:
  • Chevy Chase Club, Chevy Chase
  • GlaxoSmithKline, Rockville
  • John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children & Adolescents, Rockville
  • Kenwood Country Club, Bethesda
  • Manna Food Center, Gaithersburg
  • Puree Artisan Juice Bar, Rockville
  • Qiagen, Germantown
  • Quartermaine Coffee Roasters, Bethesda
  • Relish Catering, Rockville
  • Shepherd’s Table, Silver Spring
  • Simply Fresh Events Catering, Gaithersburg
  • So What Else, Inc., Rockville
For more information on the 2021 Recycling Achievement awardees, visit for a detailed listing of their efforts.