In May 2023, the City of Laurel passed a new law requiring mandatory composting for all residents beginning July 1, 2025. As part of a larger green initiative, Ordinance No. 2010 follows a successful four-year composting pilot program aimed at reducing landfill waste through organic recycling and makes Laurel the first municipality in Maryland to initiate such a requirement.
The new law also caught the attention of Maryland Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, a long-time advocate of composting.
On September 5, City Environmental Programs Manager Michele Blair, along with City leadership and DPW staff, met with Lt. Governor Miller to discuss the program, its environmental and financial benefits, and how it will be implemented over the coming years. During the meeting, the team presented a video highlighting the program along with other green initiatives and talked about how the State can support local sustainability programs throughout Maryland.
"I am honored to visit the City of Laurel to see their environmental programs," said Lt. Governor Miller. "Laurel's approach to sustainability, such as their groundbreaking composting legislation, is setting the curve for the entire state to follow. On behalf of the Moore-Miller administration, I commend the city of Laurel's steadfast commitment to preserving the environment for generations to come."
This discussion also led to a subsequent meeting with Maryland Secretary of the Environment Serena McIlwain on October 2.
“Having captured the attention of Lt. Governor Miller and Secretary McIlwain really means a lot to us,” says Blair. “It also helps other municipalities, jurisdictions, and associations such as Maryland Recycling Network that are basically ‘boots on the ground’ advocates for these initiatives. It’s hard to change people’s behavior so having their ear energizes us and makes us still willing to fight the battle.”
When asked by Secretary McIlwain how she could help, Blair responded that highlighting what municipalities like Laurel and other jurisdictions are doing in the area of recycling and waste diversion can make a huge difference. And perhaps, it could set up a scenario where state-wide mandatory composting could become a reality.
Learn more about the City of Laurel Recycling Programs.
*Michele Blair is Vice President of Maryland Recycling Network
Photos courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor and Photographer Patrick Siebert. View more photos at the Governor’s Photo Gallery.