Montgomery County Recognizes Best Recyclers, Waste Reducers

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection honored 22 individuals, businesses and organizations for outstanding achievement in recycling, waste reduction and reuse.

“Montgomery County recycles 58.94 percent of its solid waste—the highest recycling rate in Maryland.  It could not be done without the efforts of these awardees,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “In spite of the continuing pandemic, these recycling achievement award recipients continue to do the difficult, but necessary work. We hope that other members of the community will follow their lead.”

Added County DEP Acting Director Adriana Hochberg, “We greatly appreciate the robust and innovative recycling efforts of our residents, multi-family properties and businesses, as well as the service that our recycling volunteers provide to the community— helping their neighbors navigate the County’s recycling system. These awardees are helping Montgomery County move the needle forward in a major way.”

GO Green Earth, a newly-formed community group that connects Chinese American residents to recycling, received the 2022 Recycling Group of the Year award. During the past year, GO Green Earth enrolled more than 100 county residents in DEP’s backyard food scraps composting project. It also translated educational materials into Mandarin and hosted backyard composting training workshops.

  • Three locations won the Multifamily Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling Award.
    • Fairmont Plaza Condominium, Bethesda. Fairmont Plaza Condominium exceeded the County’s recycling requirements and provided opportunities for its residents to recycle additional materials including batteries, cellphones and light bulbs/tubes. Last year, Fairmont Plaza Condominium residents recycled more than 150 batteries and 30 cellphones. The staff circulated flyers throughout the community about its trash and recycling program.
    • Grosvenor Park I Condominium, North Bethesda. The community used an electronic listserv to minimize the use of paper and enabled residents to post electronically t0 exchange, resell or donate furniture. It also has an on-site library where residents can donate books and an on-site clothing and a shoe donation box. Last year, the community started a food scraps recycling program.
    • Kenwood House Cooperative, Chevy Chase. The Green Committee and management staff at Kenwood House have worked to create a convenient recycling program for residents that includes recycling food scraps. Working appliances are donated to various charitable organizations. Kenwood House recycled 81.2 percent of its solid waste in 2021.Two people were awarded the Multifamily Property Green Team Leader of the Year Award.
  • Two people won the Multifamily Property Green Team Leader of the Year Awards.
    • Joyce Siegel – The Forum Condominium, North Bethesda. Siegel was instrumental in putting several green initiatives into effect. She worked with DEP and the management staff and board members at The Forum to create a food scraps recycling program there.
    • Sandra Sugar – The Promenade, Bethesda. The chair of the Eco-Action club at The Promenade, Sugar was key in making sure all 36 floors of this high-rise community had updated signage on recycling and environmental issues. Sugar organizes events to increase awareness and participation in the recycling program and coordinates Earth Day events for residents of The Promenade and trips to the Montgomery County Recycling Center.
  • The Multi-family Property Manager of the Year award went to Tammie MacLaren, property manager at Normandie on the Lake I in Montgomery Village. MacLaren ensures that items are diverted from the waste stream, repurposed and used again. She gives residents a listing of local organizations where they can donate no longer needed items. Extra paint is donated to local high school theater clubs. Books and clothing are donated to reuse groups. She created a color-coded system for recycling and trash containers to help residents use the right one.
  • Six were honored with the Business Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling Award for developing, expanding or enhancing their waste reduction and recycling programs.
    • Leidos, Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Germantown. Leidos has numerous environmental initiatives, including setting up a food scraps recycling program for employees. Their waste reduction program encourages employees to use reusable utensils, coffee mugs and other cups. Due to COVID-19, Leidos had to switch to individually packaged utensils and cups, but it can all be composted in the company’s food scraps recycling program. Leidos centralizes management of printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines with one vendor that specializes in document management.  The company has a commitment to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030.
    • Leveling the Playing Field, Silver Spring. The nonprofit organization collects new and gently used sports and playground equipment and redistributes it to schools and community programs. During the COVID-19 health crisis, Leveling the Playing Field prevented a lot of used sports equipment from entering the waste stream by distributing it as “sports kits” to low- and medium-income students and families.
    • Phoenix Computers, Rockville. The volunteer nonprofit organization accepts donations of new and used computers, equipment and software for repair, refurbishing and upgrade. It is then sold at a low cost to low-income individuals and families and individuals with disabilities. This keeps old electronics out of the waste stream and on-site volunteers make sure that anything that cannot be repaired, refurbished or resold is properly recycled.
    • Radio Communications Services Division of Montgomery County’s Technology and Business Solutions (TEBS) Department. In 2021, the division handled a major upgrade of its 20-year-old communications infrastructure to enhance efficiency during the COVID-19 health crisis.  The team donated reusable communications equipment to various local County governments and transit authorities in need. It also recycled more than two tons of scrap metal and electronic equipment and 3,400 pounds of battery equipment.
    • sweetgreen. sweetgreen has been a leader in sustainability in the food service industry since the company started in 2007. It has a recycling program for food scraps and compostable food service ware. Customers have easy access to compost any remaining food items, along with food service packaging and straws.
    • Takoma Park Child Development Center, Takoma Park. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the students and teachers at the center continued to recycle as many materials as possible, including bulky, rigid plastic toys and equipment.
  • The two winners of the Business Waste Reduction and Recycling Champion Awards are:

Amanda Dwyer, who works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Silver Spring as a grants management specialist in the Marine Debris Department. Last year, Amanda took on the responsibility of overseeing NOAA’s building renovation disposal, donation and recycling efforts. She coordinated efforts to ensure that office supplies were properly recycled and made sure several NOAA departments had information about recycling.

  • Aretha Orton, property manager for Washington Property Company, LLC. Orton works to improve recycling programs for several office buildings in Montgomery County.She provides tenants with new recycling updates, making sure they know how to recycle and recycle right. While constantly monitoring on-site recycling programs at these properties, she provides site-specific suggestions that include posting updated information and signage to make employees aware of recycling and waste reduction programs.

 

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