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Invasive Plants, Medical Marijuana, Waste Sorts and Executive Orders

January 31 Solid Waste & Recycling Managers Meeting Update

MRN representatives participate in a wide variety of discussions affecting our industry including MDE’s quarterly Solid Waste & Recycling Managers meetings. The January 31 meeting covered a number of topics of interest.

Invasive Plants - Kevin Wilsey, Deputy Director, Office of Environmental Design, SHA and Ed Dexter, Administrator. Solid Waste Program, MDE outlined the recently published Maryland Invasive Plant Regulations and discussed issues regarding risks inherent with the inadvertent inclusion of invasive plants in yard waste disposal. See Maryland Invasive Plants Prevention and Control for more details.

Medical Marijuana Disposal – Lori Dodson from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission described current protocols for the disposal of medical marijuana. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the  pros and cons of disposal as yard waste rather than medical waste. See Compilation of Medical Cannabis Laws for more details.

Waste Characterization Study - Kitty McIlroy shared key findings from the most recent Maryland Statewide Waste Characterization Study conducted by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority on behalf MDE. Notably, food Waste was found to be the most prevalent material at almost 18 percent of the stream and several grades of recyclable fiber also made the top 10 list. Overall, 68.7 percent of the waste stream is able to be diverted under curbside, other non-curbside and organics (compostables/mulchables) recycling programs. See 2016 Waste Characterization Study for the full report.

Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Plan for Maryland – MDE staffers, Julia Mooney & Kayley Laleker walked us through the details of Gov. Hogan’s Executive Order EO 01.01.2017.13 which rescinded Gov. O’Malley’s Executive order EO 01.01.2015.01. The new order eliminated many of the specific targets specified in the 2015 order and called for a broad re-assessment of the overall goals, metrics and actions required to minimize waste and maximize resource recovery in the state along with a greater emphasis on partnerships and voluntary standards. Dave Mrgich led a conversation around the current MRA requirements and the extent to which those requirements produce a meaningful environmental impact at an economically feasible cost. Issues discussed included the difficulty tracking materials through the waste stream, the relative value of recycled materials, the complexity and cost of measurement (both in dollars and efficiency) and the impact of measurement on behavior. A follow-up meeting will be held to continue the evaluation later this year.