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Press Releases - County Council

Councilmember Evan Glass to introduce legislation that increases composting in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 26, 2020

Rockville, Md., Oct. 26, 2020—Councilmember Evan Glass will introduce legislation on Tuesday to expand composting in Montgomery County. Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-04 will create a greener local economy by increasing the amount of materials farmers can use on their property to produce and manufacture compost and mulch. Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Nancy Navarro are co-leading this effort, and Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz and Will Jawando are co-sponsors.

“As our climate continues to change, we need to utilize every opportunity to protect our environment and create good green jobs,” said Councilmember Evan Glass. “Composting is a core farming activity and an effective way to reduce food waste, and by partnering with local environmental entrepreneurs, it will lead to a greener environment and economy. This is good for our farmers, our small businesses, our residents and the planet.”

Montgomery County currently produces 147,000 tons of food waste per year. This waste is generated across every building type and is the largest contributing factor to the county’s waste stream. While the county currently lacks the infrastructure to compost food waste at a commercial scale, partnering with our local farmers and local green entrepreneurs is a step toward fully harnessing the power of our land so that the county can reduce its waste and increase its climate goals. The ZTA would increase the amount of off-site material that farmers can use in the manufacturing of compost and mulch from 20 percent to 50 percent.

“This legislation will increase the amount of compostable materials that stay out of our waste stream while helping prized and family-owned agricultural operations financially,” Councilmember Andrew Friedson said. “It's a true win-win that proves how benefitting our environment can also benefit the local small business owners who are the foundation of our County's economy.”

“Montgomery County has made a commitment to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions by 2035; finding ways to reduce the amount of material in our waste stream is a crucial part of attaining this goal. This ZTA offers us a common sense strategy to achieve this goal, while at the same time, providing a direct benefit to residents and institutions seeking more opportunities for composting,” said Councilmember Nancy Navarro. “Thanks to this ZTA, our farmers on the Agricultural Reserve will have another resource to enrich their farms and refine their operations. I am proud to lend my support to this initiative.”

Ben Parry, CEO of Compost Crew, a Montgomery County-based compost company said, “Most people don't know enough about where their food comes from. Sadly, unsustainable agricultural practices are slowly killing the earth's topsoil while producing less nutritious food. We need to help our farmers implement regenerative farming practices to build local food security, produce more nutritious food, improve biodiversity, and sequester carbon. Composting helps with all of these things. The Agricultural Reserve is the backbone of Montgomery County. Removing restrictions to support sustainable farming is a no-brainer.”

This ZTA is supported by a coalition of farmers, small business entrepreneurs and environmental organizations, including the Montgomery County Farmers Bureau, Compost Crew, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Bethesda Green.

The staff report can be found here.

Release ID: 20-419
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-527-6198