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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Waste Reduction

Montgomery County reduces waste by delivering better services with fewer resources; reusing, donating, or selling excess office supplies, furniture, vehicles, and construction waste; and recycling at all County facilities.


Recycling and reusing materials is incredibly important because waste disposal pollutes our air and water and can be a human health risk. Recycling and reuse reduces the need for raw materials and the amount of energy needed for manufacturing new products. At Montgomery County government facilities, we are continually looking for new opportunities to reduce waste and reuse materials.

Reduce Use

Copier use

Reduce Paper Use

The County is implementing innovations to reduce paper waste from government operations. Our County-wide state of the art print management system defaults to double-sided, black and white printing and gives employees the opportunity to delete unwanted print jobs. In addition, departments across the County are transitioning to paperless processing. In FY2016, these changes saved 5.6 million sheets of paper.

Green roof

Reduce Furniture Use

Montgomery County reuses office furniture through its furniture supply warehouse. Employees in need of furniture visit the warehouse and select items for pick-up or delivery, reducing the need for new furniture.

Divert Waste

Construction waste

Divert Construction Waste

When we build or renovate a library, recreation center, or other facility, we divert as much construction waste as possible from the waste stream. Metal, wood, tiles, and even dirt can find new life in another project. 745 tons of construction waste from the construction of Gaithersburg Library was diverted from the landfill, representing 79% of the total construction waste.

Compost food

Compost Food

The County is composting waste from food preparation at three cafeterias in County facilities. In addition, leftover food is packaged and brought to area homeless shelters for distribution. From November 2011 through June 2016, the County composted 87 tons of food scraps.

Recycled paper

Purchase Smart

Montgomery County currently purchases 30% or higher post-consumer recycled content paper. The County has eliminated the use of Styrofoam from all County food service contracts. We also use recycled materials in construction and renovation projects. In FY2016, Montgomery County purchased $4.3 million of products containing recycled materials.


We’re tracking recycling rates at each facility to better target education and outreach efforts. We’re also using this information to congratulate facilities with great recycling rates, like the Silver Spring Police Station in 2015. Montgomery County also recycles printer and copier toner cartridges, steel from our fleet and sign shops, and other specialized items.

Engage People

Employees playing recycling game

Educate Employees

Engaging employees is critical to improve recycling rates at our facilities. Hands-on games and informational booths at employee picnics and other events ensure our people know what does – and doesn’t – belong in the recycling bin.

Engage people

Engage Employees

Through the school system’s 2016 Drive for Supplies, employees donated more than 500 binders and other supplies to families in need.

Recycle bags

Take it Home

From bringing reusable bags to the grocery store to knowing what belongs in the recycling bin, you can reduce waste and pollution with your everyday choices. For more ideas, visit

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