Howard County, April 22, 2013
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman opened a state-of-the art composting operation today that will allow the County to double its curbside food scrap collection to 10,000 households, the largest in Maryland.
The facility will operate at the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville, diverting up to 400 tons of material a year from landfills and producing mulch, topsoil and other byproducts that will be sold to the public and used at county facilities.
Food scraps and yard waste from Howard County homes will be brought to the facility daily, where the material will be ground, placed in piles and connected to an odor-control system. After about 10 weeks, the end products will be available to be sold to landscaping companies and residents. The facility is designed to control odors and run-off, and can be expanded in the future.
“It’s exciting to open this operation on Earth Day,” Executive Ulman said. “Our goal is to truly reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible in Howard County. Food scraps make up a quarter of our waste stream. When we can keep them local, turn them into a valuable product and then use that product to protect the environment, it’s the very definition of a sustainable win-win-win.”
Brenda Platt, the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Montgomery County, said “this is the first program in Maryland composting food scraps collected from households within the same community. Now that’s self-reliance. Every day will be Earth Day in Howard County.”
The Alpha Ridge facilty cost $800,000 to construct. While it cost Howard County $41.50 per ton to remove regular household waste to a landfill in Virginia, it will cost $38.50 to process food scraps and yard trim at Alpha Ridge, selling the end-product.
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