Montgomery County businesses to recycle thousands of tons of food scraps

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the timely announcement of a new food scrap recycling program in Montgomery County.

County officials say more food waste than you may think can be recycled into something useful.

A new truck will collect undesired produce, dairy, bread, meat and even paper scraps from local businesses like restaurants and grocery stores as part of the county’s new recycling program.

“We are going to be collecting and delivering those materials to the Prince George’s County Compost Facility where it’s going to be processed and it’s going to be turned into a great soil amendment, called Leafgro,” said Eileen Kao, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s chief of the waste reduction and recycling division.

Removing recyclable food scraps from the waste stream and turning them into a soil additive keeps those scraps out of the waste stream, and ultimately, landfills.

The director of Montgomery County’s DEP, Adam Ortiz, said on Wednesday, “there’s a lot we can do to start making progress, we’re trying to reduce the bad stuff that comes into the waste stream. Several years ago, we banned Styrofoam in the county, along with Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C. That’s something that’s not recyclable, though some people think it is.”

The most recent data from the county says the local commercial sector creates about 68,000 tons of food scraps every year.

The program’s start has been halted by COVID-19. The truck will begin making pickups around the county after the stay-at-home order is lifted.

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