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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Waste Reduction

Montgomery County reduces waste by delivering better services with fewer resources; reusing, donating, or selling excess office supplies, furniture, vehicles, and construction waste; and recycling at all County facilities.


Recycling and reusing materials is incredibly important because waste disposal pollutes our air and water and can be a human health risk. Recycling and reuse reduces the need for raw materials and the amount of energy needed for manufacturing new products. At Montgomery County government facilities, we are continually looking for new opportunities to reduce waste and reuse materials.

Reduce Use

Reduce Paper Use

The County continues to reduce paper waste from government operations, eliminating more than 7.4 million sheets of paper waste in FY2018. Our County-wide state of the art print management system defaults to double-sided, black and white printing and gives employees the opportunity to delete unwanted print jobs. The print management system along with the Department of Permitting Services conversion to an electronic permit application system called ePlans accounts for the majority of reported paper reductions. DPS processed 23% of permit applications electronically in FY2018. Since the conversion to ePlans, 17.7 million sheets of paper waste have been eliminated. Departments across the County continue to transition to and use digital processes for routine County business. Montgomery County Public Libraries has eliminated the use of printer mailers, replacing mailers with text notifications and eliminating approximately 1,000 postcards per week. The Department of Finance is also replacing paper forms with electronic forms submitted online further reducing waste.

Reduce Furniture Use

Montgomery County reuses office furniture through its furniture supply warehouse. Employees in need of furniture visit the warehouse and select items for pick-up or delivery, reducing the need for new furniture.

Divert Waste

Construction waste

Divert Construction Waste

When we build or renovate a library, recreation center, or other facility, we divert as much construction waste as possible from the waste stream. Metal, wood, tiles, and even dirt can find new life in another project. In the construction of Gaithersburg Library 745 tons of waste, 79% of all construction waste, was diverted from the landfill. During the demolition of the former Public Safety Training Academy, 26,901 tons of concrete, steel, and clean masonry material were reused on site or recycled, accounting for 96% of the material generated.

Compost food

Compost Food

The County is composting waste from food preparation at three cafeterias in County facilities. In addition, leftover food is packaged and brought to area homeless shelters for distribution. From November 2011 through October 2018, a total of 136 tons of food scraps have been diverted from the waste stream, enough to fill 10 garbage trucks.

Recycled paper

Purchase Smart

Montgomery County currently purchases 30% or higher post-consumer recycled content paper. The County has eliminated the use of Styrofoam from all County food service contracts. We also use recycled materials in construction and renovation projects. In FY2018, Montgomery County purchased over $6 million of products containing recycled materials.


We’re tracking recycling rates at each facility to better target education and outreach efforts. We use this information to congratulate facilities with great recycling rates. Montgomery County also recycles printer and copier toner cartridges, electronics, steel from our fleet and sign shops, and other specialized items. In FY2018, the County recycled 449 communication devices and 100% end of life computer equipment including 1,600 PCs, laptops and tablets.

The County’s Vehicle Recovery Station sells unclaimed vehicles at auction to scrap processors or for reuse. In FY2018, 2,018 vehicles were sold at auction to be reused or recycled, totaling approximately 3,500 tons of metal. Additionally, 850 items along with 80 bicycles were recycled or resold through auction.

Engage People

Employees playing recycling game

Educate Employees

Engaging employees is critical to improve recycling rates at our facilities. Hands-on games and informational booths at employee picnics and other events ensure our people know what does – and doesn’t – belong in the recycling bin.

Engage people

Engage Employees

Through the school system’s 2016 Drive for Supplies, employees donated more than 500 binders and other supplies to families in need.

Recycle bags

Take it Home

From bringing reusable bags to the grocery store to knowing what belongs in the recycling bin, you can reduce waste and pollution with your everyday choices. For more ideas, visit

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