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Earth Day Celebrated in Montgomery County with a Backyard Composting Demonstration in Bethesda

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 22, 2022

To commemorate the 52nd annual Earth Day today, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), County Master Gardeners and resident volunteers participated in an event to highlight the “Backyard Food Scraps Composting Project” and focus on the County’s backyard food scraps composting and yard trim composting programs.

At the event, Bethesda resident and program participant, Danling Guo, demonstrated how she composts food scraps as part of DEP’s backyard composting program.

“Composting is fundamental to diverting waste from disposal and we are so proud of the many residents like Danling, who are helping us reach Montgomery County’s goal of reducing waste and recycling more—and aiming for Zero Waste,” said County Executive Elrich.  “Community members who take a proactive approach are part of the County’s commitment to building a culture of sustainability. The Backyard Food Scraps Composting Project is keeping tons of food waste out of the County’s disposal facilities.”

It is estimated that 124,000 tons of food scraps are thrown away in Montgomery County every year and 40,000 of that is tossed out by residents.

Starting last fall, 475 resident volunteers began using and testing one of two backyard bins designed for composting food scraps. Between last November and the end of March, 70 volunteers in the program composted more than 1,700 pounds of food scraps in their backyards. That amounted to an average of six pounds of food scraps a month per volunteer.

Often there is concern about food scraps having a foul odor and being a magnet for rodents and bugs. However, an overwhelming majority of the County’s resident volunteers say they have not experienced those concerns with the compost bins they are testing.

Managing food scraps and yard trim at home gets the County closer to meeting its Climate Action Plan goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions created from collecting the yard trim, driving it to a County facility and having it processed.

Montgomery County provides residents with the tools and resources needed to compost at home, right in their backyards.

Compost, which is created from the breakdown and decay of organic materials like food scraps or yard trim, is beneficial to the environment. Adding finished compost to soil can improve the health of lawns, plants and gardens by adding nutrients to the soil.  Composting also saves money by reducing the need to buy fertilizers.

The Backyard Food Scraps Composting Project would not be possible without the combined efforts of the County Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Food Council, the County’s recycling volunteers, the County’s Master Gardeners, garden clubs and Go Green Earth.

To learn more about Montgomery County’s Backyard Food Scraps Compost Project, visit

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Release ID: 22-240
Media Contact: Veronica Robinson
Categories: Environment