Ocean City is looking to join statewide efforts to reduce the rate of waste flowing into area landfills.

City hopes to piggyback on recent state plan aimed at decreasing flow to landfills

(Nov. 30, 2018) Looking to join state efforts to reduce waste flowing into disposal facilities, Ocean City government is organizing a planning workshop in January to examine how that can be accomplished.

In government speak, it’s called “source reduction,” which is another way to say preventing waste by eliminating or reducing whatever causes it.

Maryland’s Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Plan executive order was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in June 2017, and through that, the state Department of Environment seeks to work with government or private entities to pursue opportunities for waste diversion.

Councilman Tony DeLuca told the council last Monday the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee Green Team will hold a January strategy session to investigate potential solutions.

“We’re going to base it around source reduction with possible targets of straws, single-use plastics and composting,” he said. “We have a lot of different options to be considered to be a cleaner, greener community.”

The state’s plan seeks to establish revamped methods to quantify and track recycling and waste prevention rates. Further, the plan would institute voluntary statewide goals for sustainable materials management to lessen volumes of recycled materials.

Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer is working with Green Team member Tom Murray, who has a background with the Environmental Protection Agency, to establish the scope of work during the one-day strategic planning workshop.

“He suggested that we determine the biggest waste stream that has the biggest impact to the town,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca also said Murray is working with the state to develop a sustainable material management program.

“Tom is actually working with MDE to develop the dialogue and ideas,” he said. “Apparently, a waste market place is being developed and it is an eBay type of network that connects people who have waste to buy and sell.”

DeLuca said a representative of Maryland Environmental Services would attend the planning session to highlight past examples of how the agency has assisted communities.

Dovetailing with the planning session is the EPA’s Trash Free America program, which Green Team member and Coastal Bays program Executive Director Frank Piorko highlighted during the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee meeting on Nov. 14.

“They are focusing on resort areas and ways they can help support source reduction of trash,” he said. “This may be another opportunity for obtaining funds for our source reduction efforts.” 

DeLuca said working with the state’s Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Plan could help with grant applications.

“Tom recommends determining a specific waste stream that has the biggest impact to the town,” he said. “He’s suggesting composting.”

To that end, DeLuca said The Hobbit Restaurant on 81st Street completed a four-week long composting pilot program in mid-October. With assistance from Go Green OC, the effort removed approximately 1,700 pounds of food waste from the trash stream.

DeLuca add that restaurant owner Garvey Heiderman could update the Green Team on that process at its next meeting.

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