According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste make up about 30 percent of what Americans dispose annually. Composting these materials keeps them out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Residents are encouraged to compost at home, and the Department of Solid Waste Management sells compost bins and offers free classes to help facilitate this activity. More information on composting at home is available here.

For those seeking to reduce waste but unable to compost at home, the County offers two alternative programs, one handling yard waste and one for food waste.

Yard Waste

Yard waste is prohibited from being disposed in the Frederick County Landfill. This pertains to both residential and commercial users and includes materials normally generated in the maintenance of gardens, yards, lawns, or landscaped areas, such as leaves, grass clippings, plants, shrubs, and prunings. Yard waste does not include: land clearing debris, waste pavement, soil, or any edible food products (fruits and vegetables).

To manage yard waste, The Department of Solid Waste Management encourages residents to:

We also provide a drop off location for the collection of yard waste. Yard waste processed by the county is converted into mulch or compost for sale at the 9031 Reichs Ford Road Yard Waste Recycling site.

Food Waste Pilot Program

Currently almost all food waste generated within Frederick County is treated as waste, which means it is hauled out of state for landfill disposal.  Landfilling organic waste does not put the material to its highest and best use, which is the creation of other products via composting.

For both environmental reasons and best management practices, Frederick County has established a pilot program to encourage the separation of food waste from landfill material so that it might be diverted into a large-scale composting program. The one year pilot proposed by Executive Order is intended to provide a fiscal incentive, creating a reduced tipping fee for source-separated food waste of $50 per ton for source-separated organic materials. (The standard municipal solid waste tipping fee is $69 - $76 per ton.)

Source separated food waste refers to materials that are segregated from other waste (trash or recycling) at the site where the waste is generated. Any Frederick County business or resident can now bring this isolated material to the Frederick County Waste Transfer Station located at 9031 Reichs Ford Road. The County will then assume responsibility for transporting acceptable materials to an approved composting facility.

Acceptable materials include: fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, dairy products, egg shells, fish, meat and bones (kitchen waste, not animal mortalities), as well as soiled cardboard (such as pizza boxes), paper towels/napkins and shredded paper.

Materials not accepted include: bioplastics, compostable cutlery and cups, compostable diapers and any bagged materials (all food waste must be dumped loose at our facility for processing).

The rules for participation may adjust during the term of the pilot (one year), including changes to the acceptable items. For more information on this program, please contact The Office of Recycling at 301-600-2960 or by sending email to