Maryland's Special Events Recycling Law

Since October 1, 2015, Maryland law requires event organizers to provide recycling at any special event that:

    • Includes temporary or periodic use of a public street, publicly owned facility or public park; AND
    • serves food or drink; AND
    • is expected to have 200 or more persons in attendance. 

Further history can be found by online by searching for the MD Annotated Code, Environment Section 9-1712.  

Responsibilities of Event Organizers

In addition to other conditions required as part of a special events or other permit, organizers need to:

  • Provide for any labor or equipment necessary to carry out recycling at the event.
  • Provide a recycle bin adjacent to each trash can at the event.
  • Ensure that recycling and trash containers are easily distinguished by color and/or signage.
  • Ensure that the collected recyclable materials are processed for recycling.
  • Pay any costs associated with recycling at the event. 

Which Materials Must be Recycled?

You must provide for recycling of at least plastic, metal and glass containers, as well as paper. (Please note: paper plates and napkins are NOT recyclable.) If serving food at the event, you must assess the availability of recycling service (composting) for food waste and if available, provide it. Food waste must be sent to an acceptance facility that is permitted or approved by the appropriate regulatory agency. 

Steps to Follow

First, check out our "MD Law fact sheet and event recycling checklist". Then, follow these three steps:
 1. Set Up the Service

Special events organizers may fulfill the state requirement and ensure that materials are collected and delivered for recycling through one or more of the following methods:

  • Transport recyclable materials to the Frederick County transfer station and pay the prevailing tipping fee for commercial recycling.
  • Contract a recycling hauler to collect materials and deliver them for recycling.
  • Receive prior agreement from the site owner to use the site’s existing recycling system.

2. Implement and Monitor Recycling
Event organizers must determine what size and how many recycling containers are needed. Remember that you may be able to downsize your trash collection containers in response to the availability of recycling. Organizers should oversee placement and labeling of all recycling containers. During the event, organizers should monitor the performance of any recycling contractor involved to ensure compliance with the recycling plan.

3. Educate Participants
To ensure success, make sure event attendees know what is recyclable and what should be disposed as waste. Flyers, templates for adhesive labels and printable poster files are available for no charge on the County website:


Available Resources and Recommended Links


For additional information or assistance, please contact the Frederick County Division of Solid Waste Management by calling 301-600-2960 or by sending an email.