In 2021, the state of Maryland passed a bill requiring schools, businesses and organizations that generate at least two tons of food residuals per week to separate the food waste from other solid waste. Maryland generates an average 900,000 tons of food waste per year. This law aims to divert a good portion of that food waste from final disposal in a refuse disposal system. This law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2023, applies to a variety of organizations, as long as there is a composting facility within 30 miles of their location.
The food residuals limit will decrease to one ton per week effective January 1, 2024. A few practices can reduce the amount of scraps that organizations generate. Advice from the United States Environmental Protection Agency guides us through different strategies to reduce food waste.
How much food is really being used?
In many situations, people purchase or grow more than necessary, but the projected demand for food isn’t always met. Keeping track of the amount of leftover food offers an opportunity to reflect on the data, then limit chances of surplus in the future. Though it’s difficult to plan for everything, there are multiple routes that can be taken to prevent and divert food waste.
Don’t throw it away, give it away!
USDA reports that more than 34 million people in the United States are food insecure. There are local food banks, soup kitchens and other organizations, like Manna Food Center, that collect and recover edible food through a network of volunteers to help feed the local community. This Food Rescue Locator is a resource that can direct its users to organizations that are accepting donations nearby.
Food scraps including peels, seeds, bread crusts may be the perfect snack for animals. Each state or farm has their own set of rules that may limit what can be given to animals as feedstock. Make sure to reach out to a local farm or waste management expert for advice on how you can donate.
Hire a hauler that specializes in composting!
Reducing food waste or recovering edible food may seem overwhelming for some organizations, especially when starting new programs. Compost Crew can make the process less daunting, affordable, and convenient. We have helped implement food waste recycling programs with hundreds of organizations while collecting tons of organic scraps from businesses and homes across the DMV. Not everything is compostable, but a majority of the scraps we collect is food waste from customers like MOM’s Organic Market, Asbury and Howard Community College. Complying with this new law is as easy as signing up with Compost Crew and tossing food scraps into a bin for weekly pick-up. Considering an organics waste recycler, whether you generate two tons or 35 gallons each week, can benefit your business and our planet, and help the U.S. reach its goal of reducing food waste by 50% by the year 2030.
Landfills and incinerators are the absolute last resort when it comes to dealing with food waste. Not only do landfills hurt taxpayer pockets, but they generate greenhouse gasses and pollution that contribute to climate change. Composting has rich rewards, including nutrient-rich soil, cleaner air, and keeping a significant amount of scraps out of landfills. The Maryland law helps ensure we are leading generations onward to a healthier planet. By implementing Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion, Maryland is taking another step towards being a more sustainable state.