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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Waste Diversion in Maryland

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) promotes and encourages waste diversion across the State of Maryland.  Waste diversion combines both recycling and source reduction activities.

The waste management pyramid

The Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) requires all Counties and Baltimore City to recycle 15% (populations under 150,000) or 20% (populations over 150,000) of the waste generated. State government is required to recycle 20% of their solid waste.  These rates increase to 20% or 35% for counties by December 31, 2015.  State government must implement a recycling plan to reach a 30% recycling rate by July 1, 2014.  In addition, Maryland established a voluntary waste diversion goal of 60%, and a voluntary recycling rate of 55% by 2020.  The waste diversion goal is comprised of the recycling rate plus source reduction credits (maximum 5%) that Maryland Counties and Baltimore City earn through activities designed to reduce the amount of waste going to the waste stream.

MDE works toward Maryland's waste diversion goals by partnering with Maryland's jurisdictions and the public and private sectors to develop markets for recyclable materials and by working with other State agencies to increase the volume of materials diverted from landfills.


"Got Drugs" Logo

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, September 26, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM


  • State, County and City Contact Information

    State/County/City recycling services, drop-off locations, and contact information.

  • State, County, and City Recycling Rates

    Recycling and waste diversion data for Maryland.

  • County Coordinator Resources

    Forms for use by County Recycling Coordinators.

  • State Agency Recycling

    Lists agency coordinators, agency recycling rates and newsletters.

  • Special Projects

    Electronics and mercury recycling (including drop-off information), household hazardous waste, composting, green building, construction and demolition, buy recycled, telephone directory and newsprint recycling.

  • Scrap Tire

    Information on licenses, proper disposal, projects, playgrounds, recycled rubber product directory and more.

  • Recycling Market Directory

    The Maryland Recycling Directory locates markets for batteries, motor oil, aluminum, wood, textiles, fluorescent lights, and much more.

  • Education and Outreach

    Classroom presentations, America Recycles Day, fact sheets, fun facts, activities and web sites for educators and kids.

  • Publications

    Links to Maryland's recent waste diversion activities reports, a commercial waste diversion implementation guide, and a permitting guide for recycling and composting businesses.

  • Source Reduction in Maryland

    Contains helpful tips for reducing the amount of solid waste generated at home, school, office, and at the store, plus detailed information about source reduction in Maryland's counties.

  • Recycling at Work and School

    How to start a recycling program, locate contractors and find markets for your recyclable materials.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Animal Feeding Operations (AFO)

chicken housesThe Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) Section regulates discharges from farms with animals that are stabled or confined for 45 days or more in any 12-month period.  AFOs will discharge nutrients and sediments to surface waters if designed, constructed, operated, and maintained such that a discharge will occur. Operations that are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained such that a discharge will not occur are Maryland Animal Feeding Operations (MAFO).  These facilities are subject to regulation through registration as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) or MAFO under a General Discharge Permit for Animal Feeding Operations. The classification as a CAFO or MAFO is determined by a combination of factors including the number and type of animals, and whether the operation will discharge to waters of the State. This discharge permit requires these entities to be designed, constructed, operated and maintained according to specific standards which control or eliminate discharges of pollutants to the waters of the State.

Sewage Sludge Utilization (SSU)

land application of sewage sludge from truckSewage sludge (also known as biosolids) is not sewage, but rather is one of the final products of treated sewage at a sewage (wastewater) treatment plant. Sewage sludge is the fine particulate matter remaining after treatment which breaks down organic matter and destroys disease organisms in sewage. The application of sewage sludge to land returns essential nutrients to the soil, adds organic matter, and can improve the tillability and moisture retention capability of the soil. A SSU Permit is required for any person who collects, incinerates, stores, treats, applies to land, transports or disposes of sewage sludge or septage in Maryland. (factsheet)

Contact Info

Waste Diversion

David Mrgich (410) 537-4142

Contact Animal Feeding Operations (AFO)

Gary Kelman (410) 537-3314

Contact Sewage Sludge Utilization (SSU)

Allison Marong (410) 537-3314

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