Food Scraps (Food Waste)

Images of food scraps

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Recycling and Resource Management Division estimates that approximately 124,000 tons of food waste, or food scraps, were disposed in the waste in Montgomery County, MD in calendar year 2017. This makes food waste the next frontier material, providing the greatest opportunity to recycle more, in the quest to achieve the County’s goal to reduce waste and recycle 70 percent, aiming for zero waste. Recycling facility processing capacity for food waste is currently limited, but is developing within the region and beyond. Identifying and securing recycling capacity is a priority for the County.

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 waste 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 68,000 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 new Commercial Food Scraps Recycling video to learn how to set-up a commercial food scraps recycling program at your business or organization.

Last year, DEP kicked off its Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program, working with commercial generators to implement commercial food scraps recycling programs.  As of the end of January 2021, the first 11 commercial partners recycled a combined 200,000 pounds of food scraps.  DEP continues to expand this program by identifying and working with additional commercial partners to recycle their food scraps.  Thanks to the following partners for recycling 200,000 pounds of food scraps!

Commercial Food Scraps Partners

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. During FY21, we will evaluate and test a variety of compost bins that successfully deter rodents and demonstrate their effectiveness and use.

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:

Compost Cab

Compost Crew


Key Compost

Organic Agriculture Recycling, LLC

Organic Waste Haulers

Veteran Compost

Waste Management Companies (providing food scraps recycling collections):

Apple Valley Waste

Bates Trucking

Waste Management
301- 340-0774