Composting Initiatives Put Forward By County Executive

One would lower landfill tipping fees for compostable food waste.


Frederick, Md (KM). Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner on Thursday announced some new initiatives to encourage composting. During her public information briefing, Gardner said she issued an executive order lowering the tipping fee at the landfill for compostable food waste starting on September 9th. “Now, regular municipal waste, which is what we throw into our garbage cans, costs $69 a ton to dispose of at our Reichs Ford Road transfer station,” she says. “Compostable food waste that has been separated from other trash before coming to the landfill–what we call source separated–will be charged $50 a ton instead of the $69 a ton tipping fee.”

Gardner says the purpose is to encourage more people and businesses to get involved in composting their food wastes. “This is set up as a one-year pilot. It’s intended to provide a fiscal incentive to increase diversion of food waste and related organics; to encourage new, privatize hauling opportunities for these materials; and to support agriculture in the county by generating new, localized sources of compostable feed stock for the private sector to utilize for the creation of compost,” she says.

The county will be taking its compostable food waste to facilities in West Virginia and Prince George’s County. Gardner says the county is not planning to building a local composting center. “And it leaves open the possibility that we have a private business that could build a local composting facility in the future, knowing that there could be a market. Ultimately, the compost could be taken there, or the multiple places as the private sector picks this up.”

Another initiative announced by County Executive Gardner is the expansion of composting in the public school system. She says that could be done by hiring composting coaches to teach the students how to properly compost. “The county is providing the school system with a grant of $65,000. They can use that grant as they see most fit. But the intent to fund part time composting coaches to help guide students learn the proper way to separate their food so the compostable waste will ultimately be free of contaminants,” she says.

A third initiative is to encourage more citizens to compost on their own. “It’s actually most efficient if people compost at their home because there’s no transportation; there’s no handling involved. Some people have more space than others to do that,” she said. “So in the spring of next year, we will hold an event to provide lost cost composting bins to households on a first come, first serve basis.”

Composting involves taking food waste and turning it into compost which can be uses as a fertilizer. The items which are accepted by the landfill for composting are fruit and vegetable scraps; meat; dairy products; fish, egg shells; coffee grinds and filters; tea bags; shredded paper and paper products such as paper towels, napkins, tissues; and pizza boxes.

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By Kevin McManus