Prince George’s County Composting Program will include curbside collection to help address climate change and its disproportionate impact on communities of color.
Prince George’s County has the largest and most advanced composting facility on the East Coast and the largest by a black and brown community in the country.
“Prince Georgians, I want you to join us in composting, and hear me out about it: every meal, every scrap, every Monday,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said.
Residents will be provided with a rolling green cart and kitchen bucket to collect food scraps and yard waste for composting every Monday.
“Our composting program, because it’s a municipal composting program, can accept things that you wouldn’t normally compost in your yard,” said Andrea Crooms, director of the county’s environmental department. of Prince George. “That includes not only your leftover vegetables, but also your leftover meat, your leftover seafood, your pizza boxes, your paper products.”
It’s not the traditional twice-weekly garbage collection that many residents want, but that’s on purpose.
“To ensure that we are able to address this concern, but to do so in a way that preserves our environment,” Alsobrooks said.
Mamie Small is one of 20,000 residents who chose to try the pilot program and considers herself a composting queen.
“I have little containers all over my house that I put vegetables and all kinds of things in, and feed my plants,” she said. “You should see my plants in my garden.”
According to the county, more than 34% of its landfill waste is organic food that turns into methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The composting program also allows for an extra day of garbage collection without putting extra trucks on the road, helping to slow the impacts of climate change in a community that is more affected than most.
“This is a predominantly black and brown community where we see the impact in ways that people don’t typically calculate,” Alsobrooks said. “For example, asthma. The amount of asthma that is in our community. Allergies. All other health impacts. And so, it’s important to us from an environmental justice perspective.
The county regularly leads the state in recycling efforts and hopes to do the same in composting.
As of Monday, 65,000 composting carts will be delivered to residents. There will be a second distribution in the spring and fall of 2023.
The county said all residents who receive trash pickup should have the materials needed to participate by the end of next year.