On Wednesday, October 23, at the Western Branch Yard Waste Composting facility in Upper Marlboro, MD, the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources (DER) Waste Management Division (WMD) cut the ribbon on a food scrap pilot project that will compost yard waste and food scraps bulked together.
The pilot will provide baseline testing for producing a nutrient-rich compost product using the industry leading GORE® Cover technology, a technology similar to Gore-Tex, while diverting 4,500 tons of leftovers headed to the County’s landfill. Prince George’s County is the first County to pilot a food scrap composting program using this technology.
“I am very proud of this new, innovative and sustainable pilot program from the Department of Environmental Resources,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “When we launched the Department of Permits, Inspections and Enforcement several months ago, we knew it would allow the Department of Environmental Resources to focus and expand their responsibility over environmental stewardship of Prince George’s County. Today’s ribbon cutting of this exciting composting program is evidence that Prince George’s County isn’t just following best environmental practices, we are creating them.”
“The State of Maryland has seen great success in recycling and Prince George’s County is a leader,”
The County has partnered with the Town of University Park, University of Maryland College Park, Whole Foods and local waste management service companies Apple Valley and Progressive Waste Solutions to collect their food scraps for testing in the one-year pilot.said Horacio Tablada, Director, Land Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment. “Food waste is the last frontier in recycling and food organic composting is a major block in reaching zero waste.”
Maryland Environmental Services (MES) will facilitate the pilot using the GORE® system, which specializes in reducing odors, dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) while creating a high-value compost product used for gardening and farming.
The food scraps and yard waste are ground together onsite at the facility and placed under cover in three heaps that are monitored daily using a computerized system. The curing process takes approximately eight weeks from start to finish instead of the current eight month cycle time for the open windrow composting process used for yard waste.
“By generating food scraps into a valuable compost material, we are reducing waste, saving money and providing a valuable benefit to our environment,” says DER Director Adam Ortiz. “This program will propel us toward our goal of zero waste in Prince George’s County.”
Another key County partner is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DER was recently awarded a $12,000 solid waste grant from the EPA to provide additional funding for the program.
“The EPA, through our Food Recovery Challenge and other efforts, is trying to divert food waste from landfilling into composting and is looking forward to working with Prince George’s County on this innovative project,” says Mike Giuranna, Solid Waste Specialist with the EPA Region III.
Scott Woods, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Generation, LLC, the authorized sales and service provider of the GORE® Cover technology in North America, is working with the County and MES to provide training on the technology.
Click here to view photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony.
For more information on the Food Scrap Composting Pilot Program, click here.
For more information on the GORE® Cover Organic Waste Treatment system, click here.
For more information about DER and its programs and services, contact CountyClick 311 or click here.