The Montgomery County Yard Trim Composting Facility, located near Dickerson, Maryland, has been in operation since 1983. The facility processes leaves and grass generated by the County population of about one million residents.
The Facility produces and sells both bulk and bagged Leafgro®—a superior quality compost used extensively by landscapers and homeowners as a source of humus for soil improvement. Products are marketed to distributors, garden centers, and other wholesale purchasers through the Mid-Atlantic Region.
In 2011, County management decided to pursue development of a formal Environmental Management System (EMS) to manage its environmental aspects and impacts of its composting facility. In 2013, the Facility’s EMS was independently certified to be in conformity with ISO 14001: 2004. The certification was valid for three years. In June 2016, independent certification of the facility was upgraded to the new ISO 14001:2015 Standard.
Under the EMS formal policy, the Department of Environmental Protection pursues opportunities beyond regulatory compliance requirements for reducing risk to human health and the environment; formally establishes objectives to continually improve; reviews progress in meeting those objectives; and communicates information to, and solicits input from, the surrounding community and other stakeholders.
Environmental improvements realized, as a result of the EMS implementation, include:
• Fire hazard reduction through the elimination of a grinding operation
• Reduction in resource consumption by inbound and outbound traffic normalized to production
• Reduction in energy use through fuel efficiency equipment improvements
• Dust reduction through use of control blankets
• Zero site litter complaints, odor complaints, emergency situations and environmental compliance violations as a result of instituting and adhering to enhanced standard operating procedures