Montgomery County’s recycling rate of 58.94 percent of solid waste created tops all other counties in Maryland, according to statistics released by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The report was for 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
The MDE report also shows that the County is leading the State in waste diversion, which includes preventing waste before it occurs. The County’s waste diversion rate is 63.94 percent.
In 2020, Montgomery County recycled 764,375 tons of materials, including glass, metals, paper, plastic and compostable items. The County is constantly increasing its recycling rate. In 2019, the rate for recycling in Montgomery County was 58.17 percent and in 2018 the recycling rate was 56.91 percent.
Cecil County was second to Montgomery County with a recycling rate of 58.69 percent and Mid-Shore Counties—which include Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot—came in third with a rate of 49.37 percent.
The County remains focused on meeting its existing goals to reduce waste and recycle more, aiming toward zero waste.
Waste diversion encompasses recycling and reducing trash. It also includes credits given for programs that encourage residents and businesses to prevent waste, such as the County Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) backyard food scraps composting project and the commercial food scraps recycling partnership program.
“I am proud of what Montgomery County has achieved by recycling, reducing and preventing waste,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The goal of the County’s Climate Action Plan is reducing communitywide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over the next five years and 100 percent by 2035. All of us—residents, businesses and our County government—are working together toward achieving zero waste over the next 13 years. Fighting climate change takes a village and this news is a testament that we are moving in the right direction.”
Under the Maryland Recycling Act, Montgomery County is required to recycle 35 percent of its waste. The County is surpassing that by nearly 25 percent.
“I am so proud of Montgomery County residents and businesses for attaining the highest recycling rate in the State of Maryland,” said County DEP Acting Director and Climate Change Officer Adriana Hochberg. “When we all pitch in and do our part in consuming less and recycling and composting more, it adds up to big results for our environment and for our collective well-being.”
Recycling and waste prevention programs are key to reaching zero waste in Montgomery County. To learn more about the county’s recycling programs, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/recycle-right/.