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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Waste Reduction & Recycling

Montgomery Parks cares about reducing waste and ensuring we divert materials from the landfill through recycling and reuse. Since 2016, we have maintained a diversion rate of over 60% with an annual diversion rate of 70%. The success of our waste management has not come without its challenges, and there are still many ways we can improve. A successful sustainable waste management strategy cannot solely rely on recycling but must focus on actions that reduce items entering the recycling and waste streams.

Recycling in Our Operations:

All Montgomery Parks buildings have dual stream recycling system to collect paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, steel/tin, and plastic. Additionally, we recycle scrap metal, motor fuel, tires, electronic waste, light bulbs, batteries, construction debris, concrete, and asphalt from our operations. In 2022, we diverted 81% of our waste.

Parks Green Waste Recycling Program:

Montgomery Parks manages a comprehensive tree care program that includes tree inspection, tree maintenance and hazardous tree removal on parkland. This program and the maintenance division’s turf care operations produce a significant amount of organic waste, also known as green waste. Almost all the green waste removed from the parks is processed at Pope Farm Nursery, where it is composted or salvaged and reused within the parks. This is a circular model of resource management.

The Parks’ green waste recycling program:

  • Diverts an average of 2,100 tons of organic waste annually from the incinerator.
  • Converts organic waste into wood chips, mulch, firewood for Parks programs, compost, and milled wood
  • Produces wood products using a portable sawmill
  • Utilizes processed timber from tree removals, to build furniture for parks and buildings
  • Holds periodic public urban wood sales

Volunteer to Help Care for Our Parks!

Illegal dumping of large household trash and litter within the parks continues to be a challenge. Montgomery Parks maintenance staff work diligently to pick up trash, but we still need the help of our community to clean up our parks. We have a comprehensive Volunteer Watershed Clean-Up Program. Volunteers help keep trash out of our parks and from entering the local watershed.

Annually the clean-up volunteers:

  • Donate nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer labor
  • Collect 30,000 lbs of waste from parks and watersheds
  • Remove and recycle approximately 100 tires illegally dumped on parkland