Food Scraps (Food Waste) Recycling

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Recycling and Resource Management Division estimates that approximately 89,000 tons of food waste, or food scraps, were disposed in the waste in Montgomery County, MD last year.

food scraps

In alignment with Montgomery County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System, DEP is also working to develop a strategy to:

  1. Reduce the amount of food waste generated at the source
  2. Channel excess food to those with unmet needs
  3. Recycle/compost food scraps into useful and usable material, and encourage the use of the resulting recycled material to ensure that there is sufficient demand for recycling.
 

Food Scraps at Work

It is estimated that businesses and organizations dispose approximately 25,000 tons of food scraps in their waste annually. Montgomery County provides technical assistance, education and training to businesses and organizations to assist them with implementing a commercial food scraps recycling program. Watch our Commercial Food Scraps Recycling video (also available in Spanish) to learn how to set-up a commercial food scraps recycling program at your business or organization.
Commercial Food Scraps Recycling video
Commercial Food Scraps Recycling video (In Spanish)

Commercial Food Scraps Partners

The Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program assists businesses that generate larger quantities of pre-consumer food scraps to recycle those food scraps. Through this program, the County provides technical assistance, training, education, and support to collect, transport and process food scraps into compost or energy. After a period of time, the County will assist partners to contract food scraps collection services with a private food scraps recycling collection service provider. Becoming a partner will allow you access to the following resources:

  • Food scraps recycling collection carts
  • Compostable liners
  • Limited duration of food scraps recycling collection service and transportation of food scraps to a processing facility
  • Staff training and educational materials

For more information about foods scraps recycling email: Katherine Vazquez at Katherine.Vazquez@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or call at 240-777-6484.

Maryland’s New Regulation on Food Scraps Diversion

Beginning January 1, 2023, Maryland law requires food scraps diversion for certain businesses or institutional cafeterias, convenience stores, mini-marts, supermarkets or schools (individual public and private). Visit the Maryland Department of the Environment food residuals website.

Food Scraps at Home

Composting food scraps, such as vegetable peelings, requires more steps and monitoring, to reduce odors and the risk of pests.

Montgomery County, Maryland requires the use of a rodent-proof compost bin, with a tight-fitting lid, to compost food scraps. Adding food scraps in an open compost pile or in a compost bin with no lid, is problematic because this attracts rodents and other pests. The compost bins currently provided by the County are designed for composting yard trim, because they are completely open on the top and the bottom and have aerating holes all around the sides. Please keep food scraps out of these bins. DEP continues to evaluate a variety of compost bins that successfully deter rodents and demonstrate their effectiveness and use. Download our educational materials about backyard composting of food scraps.

Food Scraps Collectors

Residents may also consider separating their food scraps for recycling and hiring a collector who will collect and deliver the food scraps to a composting facility in the region. Your food scraps will be used to create a great compost material. If you’re interested, here is a list of food scraps recycling collectors providing services in Montgomery County. (Please note that Montgomery County has compiled this listing through various sources and does not present it as a complete directory of all vendors that provide service in Montgomery County, nor offer it as an endorsement of any of the companies listed.)

Dedicated Food Scraps Recycling Collectors:

Waste Management Companies (providing food scraps recycling collections):

Reduce Wasted Food

Through better practices that result in not generating excess food scraps in the first place we reduce the amount of waste that needs to be managed, potentially resulting in reduced costs in terms of collecting food scraps for composting or disposal. Foods generated in excess of the generator’s needs that can be consumed, such as prepared foods, baked goods, fresh produce, canned or boxed foods, etc. can be diverted from disposal and donated to food rescue organizations. Channeling this food to others with unmet needs ensures the highest and best use of this food, while also helping to address food insecurity. Learn more about our "Food Is Too Good to Waste" education campaign.

Food Scraps Recycling Drop-Off Locations

Montgomery County has compiled this listing through various sources and does not present it as a complete directory of all vendors that provide service in Montgomery County, nor offer it as an endorsement of any of the companies or organizations listed.

Bethesda

Bethesda Central Farm Market
7600 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

Compost Crew ( Subscription Drop-off Service)
Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market
7155 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Derwood

Compost Crew ( Subscription Drop-off Service)
True Respite
7301 Calhoun Place #600
Derwood, MD 20855

Gaithersburg

City of Gaithersburg Public Works
800 Rabbitt Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
( food scraps drop-off site for City of Gaithersburg residents only)

Casey Community Center
810 South Frederick Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
( food scraps drop-off site for City of Gaithersburg residents only)

Germantown

Red Wiggler Farm
23400 Ridge Road
Germantown, MD 20876
( food scraps accepted from members of their CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Program only)

Rockville

Maintenance Facility
14625 Rothgeb Drive
Rockville, MD 20850
( food scraps drop-off site for City of Rockville residents only)

Rockville Senior Center
1150 Carnation Drive
Rockville, MD 20850
( food scraps drop-off site for City of Rockville residents only)

Food Scraps Resources