ILSR’s Composting for Community team has once again worked with Delegate Regina T. Boyce (District 43, Baltimore City) to re-introduce the Solid Waste Disposal and Diversion and On-Farm Composting and Compost Use bill (HB 1139) for Maryland’s 2023 legislative session. This bill was first introduced in 2022 as HB1070.
The bill addresses the critical need for investment into waste reduction programs and infrastructure in Maryland by establishing a major grant funding program based on a nominal surcharge on waste disposal. Numerous other states, such as those featured in our 2022 webinar, have similar successful grant programs in place with positive impacts on their local communities, economies, and the environment.
In Maryland, the grants could total more than $12.5 million per year to support local governments, small businesses, non-profits, schools, farmers, and more in their efforts to advance waste prevention, reuse, repair, recycling, composting, and anti-dumping projects and infrastructure.
Click here for a one-page summary of the bill’s proposed grant programs and FAQs
Use our model legislation template to draft a policy like this for your own state or locality
Since the bill’s first introduction in the 2022 session, we made a few changes based on conversations with numerous stakeholders to address their concerns and/or suggestions to improve this bill, including the MD Farm Bureau, Maryland Association of Counties (MACO), and Prince George’s County Dept. of Environment. As a result of this feedback, the major changes include:
- Dropping the per-ton surcharge from $5/ton to $2/ton
- Adjusting the percentage distribution of revenue via grants so that Counties receive 50%, on-farm compost and compost use gets 25% and the final 25% is allotted to competitive waste reduction grants throughout the state (see the pie chart in the attached factsheet),
- A new opt-out option for Counties, which would like to instead set up their own surcharge-to-grants program. This gives Counties more flexibility and control over the program should they choose to invest the resources into running it themselves instead of participating in the statewide program. Opted-out Counties would not be eligible for Waste Reduction or On-Farm Composting grants from the statewide fund.
Why is this bill important NOW?
- Maryland’s new law (2021 HB 264) mandates that Large Food Waste Generators divert wasted food from disposal. The influx of diverted food waste will require expanded processing capacity. Without support for community-oriented and farm projects, Maryland may end up privileging industrial, large-sized facilities.
- A 2021 report revealed that Maryland landfills are emitting four times more methane than previously estimated, underscoring the need to divert wasted food from landfills.
- Enormous amounts of U.S. resources are wasted due to food waste, with critical environmental implications.
- A 2019 MDE study group report recommends the provision of statewide education and support for on-farm composting, to increase manure management efficiency and build agricultural soil health.
Click here for more answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Watch the HB1139 hearing in the House Environment and Transportation Committee
Read written testimony from our initiative director, Brenda Platt here
Organizations that supported ILSR’s sign-on testimony or testified in support of this bill in 2023 include:
- Maryland Sierra Club
- Compost Crew
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Maryland Clean Water Action
- Blue Water Baltimore
- Go Green OC / The Hobbit Restaurant
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Cedar Lane Environmental Justice Ministry
- MOM’s Organic Market
- Echotopia LLC
- Maryland Legislative Coalition – Climate Justice Wing
- Maryland Campaign for Human Rights
- Sustainable Hyattsville
- National Aquarium
- Little Falls Watershed Alliance
- Zero Waste Montgomery County