Leaf & Yard Waste Composting
Maryland Environmental Service operates composting facilities for Montgomery County and Prince George's County. Yard waste (including grass, leaves, brush and Christmas trees) is delivered to the facilities, composted and sold as the popular soil amendment Leafgro®.
The Montgomery County Yard Trim Composting Facility (MCYTCF), located near Dickerson, Maryland, has been in operation since 1983. Montgomery County operates the facility through a contract with Maryland Environmental Service (MES).
All loose and bagged leaves and grass received at the Transfer Station from single-family homes, multifamily dwellings and business establishments are run through grinders to improve transportation efficiency and aid in subsequent composting. About 60 percent of feedstock comes to the facility by rail and 40 percent by tractor trailers. Because of the County’s educational efforts about the restricted use of plastic bags, less than half of one percent of feedstock ends up as waste.
The facility produces and sells both bulk and bagged Leafgro® - a high quality compost used extensively by landscapers and homeowners for soil improvement. Leafgro® has been used to enhance notable Washington-Baltimore area places, such as: FedEx Field, Raven’s Stadium, Oriole Park, and the Vice President’s Residence. In recognition of outstanding marketing results, MES and Montgomery County were awarded the SWANA Gold Marketing Excellence Award for 2012 — the top marketing award available.
Of outgoing products, approximately 90 percent by volume is Leafgro® (38% bagged and 52% bulk); about 10 percent is screened overs. The facility processes about 69,000 tons of material a year and sells about 500,000 bags of Leafgro® and 42,518 yards of bulk Leafgro® per year.
On June 17, 2014, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) named Montgomery County, Maryland, as the winner of the SWANA Silver Excellence Award in the Composting category. SWANA recognized the County’s Yard Trim Composting Facility as state-of-the-art and cost effective.
In addition, the County demonstrated how to develop a formal Environmental Management System (EMS) meeting the rigorous international ISO 14001:2004 standard. The facility’s EMS is only the second such facility in the nation to be independently certified as in conformance with the ISO standard.
The certification of the EMS, confirms that the facility is operated in a manner that goes beyond merely ensuring compliance with environmental rules and regulations. It indicates that the facility operators and employees consistently consider the environmental aspects of their activities, identify and mitigate environmental impacts, and continuously strive to improve their environmental performance.
Read our article about the certification process in the January 2014 issue of Biocycle magazine.
The facility also received a 2014 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for the EMS and its development.