Maryland releases Zero Waste Plan, discussion forum scheduled for tomorrow


Jay Apperson

(410) 537-3003

Maryland releases Zero Waste Plan, discussion forum scheduled for tomorrow

Policy framework would nearly eliminate disposal of waste in Maryland; Maryland Department of the Environment to hold Zero Waste Forum

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 15, 2014) – Advancing the goal of creating a sustainable future for Maryland families, the O’Malley-Brown Administration today released a Zero Waste Plan to encourage greater recycling and other steps to nearly eliminate the disposal of waste over the next 25 years.

The plan, developed with input from a broad range of stakeholders, also calls for the beneficial reuse of wastewater and a reduction in potential waste generation through steps such as product redesign, and it includes incentives for energy recovery and job creation. The plan sets a goal of diverting 85 percent of waste from disposal by 2040. Benefits of Zero Waste actions include a reduction of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, conservation of energy and natural resources, creation of green jobs and protection of public health and the environment.

A Zero Waste Forum featuring discussions of the plan’s elements is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow, December 16, at the Baltimore headquarters of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

“We owe it to our children and future generations of Marylanders to take steps now to ensure that our communities are environmentally sustainable, prosperous and healthy,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This Zero Waste Plan is an ambitious policy framework to create green jobs and business opportunities while virtually doing away with the inefficient waste disposal practices that threaten our future.”

Maryland has made significant progress in recycling during the past two decades. However, Marylanders generate significantly more solid waste per person than the United States as a whole and continue to dispose of more than half of this waste. The majority of this waste is disposed in landfills.

“Zero Waste Maryland: Maryland’s Plan to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Nearly All Waste Generated in Maryland by 2040,” includes nearly 60 policy options to reach waste reduction goals, and it sets priorities. It establishes source reduction – changing the way products are designed and consumed to prevent waste before it occurs – as the top priority. That is followed by reuse of materials– recycling and composting what must be discarded into useful products – and then by energy recovery from wastes that cannot be prevented or recycled.

The plan also includes initiatives that support recycling and reuse technology and business growth and a call for State government to lead by example, and encouraging more education and outreach.

A draft plan, published in April 2014, received more than 115 written comments and was the subject of three stakeholder meetings over the summer to gather additional input. The plan being released today adds or strengthens key initiatives, such as expanding recycling of construction and demolition debris, promoting composting in a variety of applications and reducing residential disposal through “pay-as-you-throw” programs.

The Zero Waste Plan is available on MDE’s website at



WHAT: More than 150 stakeholders – including representatives from local and federal government, industry and environmental groups – have registered to attend the Zero Waste Forum.  The program begins with a plenary session followed by breakout sessions on: composting and source reduction; recycling and energy recovery; and outreach and sustainable funding. The program concludes with luncheon remarks.


Welcoming remarks by MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers

Recycling and Energy Recovery discussion with MDE Deputy Secretary, David Costello

Outreach and Sustainable Funding discussion with MDE Land Management Deputy Director, Hilary Miller

Composting and Source Reduction discussion with MDE Land Management Administration Administrator, Kaley Laleker

Luncheon remarks by Chaz Miller, Director, Policy and Advocacy, National Waste & Recycling Association

WHERE: The Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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