MDE’s Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure Workgroup (HB 171) met on December 3. Kristen Keene of the Maryland Port Administration shared progress to date on a multi-year research project exploring the innovative reuse of dredged material as soil amendment (see Innovative Reuse and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Guidance Document).

We then learned about a food waste recovery pilot program in the Elkridge/Jessup region from Peter Ettinger of BTS Bioenergy. This project is testing a distributed anaerobic digestate production model that hopes to minimize transport cost while generating soil amendments and energy feedstock. The meeting wrapped up with a review of the preliminary draft recommendations shared by MDE. A final set of recommendations is expected shortly.

The workgroup is part of Governor Hogan’s Executive Order HB 171 requiring the establishment of a work group to study the current Maryland Recycling Act requirements and make recommendations on how to produce a meaningful environmental impact at an economically feasible cost.