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For Immediate Release: 5/23/2012
Leggett Announces New Recycling Goal for County; 70% by 2020 is Among Highest in Region

Upholding its reputation as a local leader in recycling efforts, Montgomery County stepped up again today when County Executive Ike Leggett announced establishment of a new, higher recycling goal -- 70 percent of the waste stream being recycled by the end of 2020. The new goal would be one of the highest among jurisdictions in the metropolitan region, as well as other counties across the United States.

Leggett made the announcement at the Division of Solid Waste Services' (DSWS/Dept. of Environmental Protection) annual Recycling Achievement Recognition Ceremony in Silver Spring.

"Since Montgomery County began its innovative and progressive recycling programs almost four decades ago, the County has worked continuously to expand recycling opportunities and make it easier and more convenient for everyone in the County to recycle more items in larger quantities," he said.

"However, we cannot simply rest on past successes. We must continue to build on our history of progressively forging ahead to accomplish even more in the area of recycling."

DSWS Chief Dan Locke added, "Montgomery County has a proven track record of simultaneously being forward-thinking and creative, as well as resourceful and prudent in our recycling decisions. Consequently, our recycling initiatives have been so successful that recycling markets are extremely receptive to working with us. They know that Montgomery County consistently provides a high quality, clean recyclable product to end users in significant quantities.

"As a result," Locke explained, “many other players in the recycling arena watch what we do. Our efforts benefit others in the region, because the County influences broader market development and brings about many additional recycling opportunities for others to follow and tap into."

In addition to the new recycling rate, Leggett also announced a proposal that Montgomery County adopt the Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) methodology for calculating recycling rates. This means that the Division of Solid Waste Services staff will use the MRA Diversion rate as the official County recycling rate, instead of calculating two separate and different rates each year, as in the past.

The new goal is the first to be established since the original goal of recycling 50 percent of the waste stream was established nearly 20 years ago. It puts Montgomery County in an elite group of major jurisdictions which have the highest recycling goals in the United States. Both Florida and California have recycling rate goals of 75%, while the City of Seattle's recycling rate goal is 70%. Maryland's recycling rate goal is 35% with an additional waste reduction goal of 5%.

For more information about recycling in Montgomery County, visit

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Media contact: Bonnie Ayers, 240-777-6507
Recycling Program contact: Eileen Kao, 240-777-6406

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Release ID: 12-137

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