Press Release: Maryland Improves Access to Public Space Recycling

Supporters of SB781 at the bill signing, including Senator Karen Montgomery, second from left, and Elvia Thompson of Annapolis Green, second from right, back row. Photo via Creative Commons license, courtesy of Executive Office of the Governor.

ANNAPOLIS (May 5, 2014) — Today Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation requiring public events in Maryland to provide recycling.

SB781, drafted by Senator Karen Montgomery (D-Montgomery County), requires organizers of all special events on public property, attended by 200 or more people and providing food or drink, to have recycling containers located next to each provided trash can. Event organizers also must demonstrate a plan for collecting and recycling the material. The law takes effect October 1, 2014.

“By making recycling at events more convenient, people will more likely choose to recycle,” said Senator Montgomery. “They may start expecting and demanding recycling to be made more available in other areas as well. I hope this bill will stimulate future plans for recycling receptacles in public and commercial buildings in Maryland.”

“This new law will make it easier for event participants to dispose of their trash properly,” said Julie Lawson, director of the Trash Free Maryland Alliance. “Marylanders are already leaders in recycling at home. Now they’ll have better access to recycling when out and about. The more aware we are of how our trash is handled, the less litter we’ll have in our communities.”

The Trash Free Maryland Alliance provided testimony on the bill in committee hearings, supported by members with experience providing recycling to events in their communities. The Alliance’s testimony highlighted efforts by the Catoctin Group of the Sierra Club in Washington County, and by Annapolis Green in Anne Arundel County.

“Annapolis Green is delighted that Governor O’Malley signed SB781 into law today,” said Elvia Thompson, Co-Founder of Annapolis Green. “The requirement for recycling at large public events sends a clear message throughout the state that this is an important part of the Maryland’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gases by 25%, based on 2006 levels, by 2020.”

“We commend the foresight of Senator Karen Montgomery in sponsoring the bill and the hard work of Trash Free Maryland to see it signed into law,” she added.

Annapolis Green has, for the past two years, helped planners of special events—from boat shows to regattas to garden parties and crab feasts—reduce their waste by recycling and composting through its Responsible Events and Festivals (REF) program. REF includes not only providing the use of Annapolis Green’s distinctive “eco-stations” for special event use, but also providing tools for planners to use to educate eventgoers, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff about the effort and its importance.

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