Food Scraps (Food Waste)

food scraps, more than leftovers


Food Scraps at Work  |  Food Scraps at Home  |  Food Scraps Collectors

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Recycling and Resource Management Division estimates that approximately 124,000 tons of food waste, or food scraps, were disposed in the waste in Montgomery County, MD in calendar year 2017. This makes food scraps the next frontier material, providing the greatest opportunity to recycle more, in the quest to achieve the County’s goal to reduce waste and recycle more, aiming for zero waste. Recycling facility processing capacity for food scraps is currently limited, but is developing within the region and beyond. Identifying and securing recycling capacity is a priority for the County.

In alignment with Montgomery County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System, DEP is also working to develop a strategy to:

  1. Reduce the amount of food waste generated at the source
  2. Channel excess food to those with unmet needs
  3. Recycle/compost food waste into useful and usable material, and encourage the use of the resulting recycled material to ensure that there is sufficient demand for recycling.

Food Scraps at Work

It is estimated that businesses and organizations dispose approximately 68,000 tons of food scraps in their waste annually.  Montgomery County provides technical assistance, education and training to businesses and organizations to assist them with implementing a commercial food scraps recycling program. Watch our Commercial Food Scraps Recycling video (also available in Spanish) to learn how to set-up a commercial food scraps recycling program at your business or organization.

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Commercial Foods Scraps Recycling Partnerships Expands - ABC7



Commercial Food Scraps Recycling - English


Commerical Food Scraps Recycling - Spanish


Commercial Food Scraps Partners

In May 2020, DEP kicked off its Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program, working with commercial generators to implement commercial food scraps recycling programs. Montgomery County is the first jurisdiction in the State of Maryland and in the metropolitan Washington region to provide this type of program, including food scraps recycling collection services to businesses and organizations to help them implement successful food scraps recycling programs. Since the start of this program, a total of 22 businesses and organizations have participated as partners in the program and as of November 12, 2021 recycled over 625,000 pounds of commercial food scraps. DEP continues to expand this program by identifying and working with additional commercial partners to recycle their food scraps. Thanks to the following partners for recycling over 625,000 pounds of food scraps!

Commercial Food Scraps Partners

Food Scraps at Home

Composting food scraps, such as vegetable peelings, requires more steps and monitoring, to reduce odors and the risk of pests.

food waste compost bin

Montgomery County, Maryland requires the use of a rodent-proof compost bin, with a tight-fitting lid, to compost food scraps. Adding food scraps in an open compost pile or in a compost bin with no lid, is problematic because this attracts rodents and other pests. The compost bins currently provided by the County are designed for composting yard trim, because they are completely open on the top and the bottom and have aerating holes all around the sides. Please keep food scraps out of these bins. During FY22, we are evaluating and testing a variety of compost bins that successfully deter rodents and demonstrate their effectiveness and use.  Download our educational materials about backyard composting of food scraps.

**Starting this summer, we will be testing an additional type of backyard food scraps compost bin. We’ve already reached capacity for participation in our next cohort. We will contact all residents who registered to participate regarding the next steps. Thank you for your interest in backyard food scraps composting.**


Food Scraps Collectors

Residents may also consider separating their food scraps for recycling and hiring a collector who will collect and deliver the food scraps to a composting facility in the region. Your food scraps will be used to create a great compost material.

If you’re interested, here is a list of food scraps recycling collectors providing services in Montgomery County. (Please note that Montgomery County has compiled this listing through various sources and does not present it as a complete directory of all vendors that provide service in Montgomery County, nor offer it as an endorsement of any of the companies listed.)

Dedicated Food Scraps Recycling Collectors:

Compost Cab

Compost Crew


Key Compost

Organic Agriculture Recycling, LLC

Organic Waste Haulers

Veteran Compost

Waste Management Companies (providing food scraps recycling collections):

Apple Valley Waste

Bates Trucking

Waste Management
301- 340-0774