Maryland Executive Order Calls For 65 Percent Recycling Rate

Maryland Gov. Mark O'Malley has issued an executive order that includes a mandate to recycle 65 percent of the state's waste by 2020 and to divert at least 60 percent of organics. It also calls for an 80 percent recycling rate by 2040.

Gov. O'Malley framed the move in environmental and economic terms.

"Today’s action is the right thing to do for our environment – and it creates opportunities for the jobs and business activity that we need to ensure the environmental and financial health of our communities," O'Malley said in the Jan. 13 press release. "By limiting sources of waste, and by recycling, reusing, and composting the remaining waste, we are creating a more sustainable world for our children and their children."

In addition to installing a mandated 65 percent recycling rate and a 60 percent organics diversion rate for 2020, the order includes an aspirational 80 percent recycling rate goal for 2040 and an 85 percent diversion rate goal.

Under the Maryland Recycling Act, communities and counties throughout the state were required to recycle at least 15 percent of their waste by 2015. The state's 2012 recycling rate came in at 45.4 percent.

To help promote the initiative, Maryland Department of the Environment will provide a "source reduction checklist to track and encourage waste reduction" while no longer permitting any new solid waste landfills in the state.

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