January 7, 2020

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Gina Bonomo, Recycling Coordinator, Bureau of Environmental Services, 410-313-6444

Howard County is only jurisdiction in Maryland to receive this certification 
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced that the County’s Department of Public Works’ (DPW) Bureau of Environmental Services HoCoGro compost has been awarded the US Composting Council’s “Seal of Testing Assurance” (STA). This certification signifies that the HoCoGro compost produced at County’s Alpha Ridge Landfill meets all federal, state and local regulations and permitting to which the STA Certified Compost products are subject. The County’s HoCoGro compost is the only compost in Maryland produced by a local jurisdiction with this distinction. 
"This is an exciting distinction for Howard County as we continue to lead on green initiatives and serve as a model for other local communities," said Ball. "With more than 12,000 county households participating in food scrap collection, we're on our way to creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment for all residents."
A testing, labeling and information disclosure program, the STA is designed to improve customer confidence in compost selection and utilization by giving consumers the information they need to get the maximum benefit from the use of compost.

“While our HoCoGro Compost has historically met market expectations, the Seal of Testing Assurance from the US Composting Council further guarantees a high-quality product and demonstrates our drive to offer our residents the best goods and services,” said Mark DeLuca, Chief of DPW’s Bureau of Environmental Services. “By residents and landscapers taking advantage of HoCoGro Compost, they are helping reinforce our motto of ‘Made Locally, Spread Locally.’”  
STA Compost is strongly advocated by gardening experts and many State Highway Departments nationwide, require that all the compost used on their projects meet STA standards. 

Information about HoCoGro’s compost, mulch and topsoil blend can be found on the Bureau’s “WoodWaste Area” website at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Public-Works/Bureau-Of-Environmental-Services/Alpha-Ridge-Landfill/WoodWaste-Area
Howard County has been a leader in creating a clean and sustainable environment for all. In addition to an excellent curbside collection and compost program, in the past year the County has:

  • Announced major updates to the Howard County Forest Conservation Act, which had not been updated since the 1990s, to bring it into compliance with state law and strengthen environmental regulation
  • Joined the Bee City USA Coalition to protect pollinators and our food sources
  • Signed the “We Are Still In” declaration, a commitment  to the climate action of the Paris Agreement
  • Pursuing installation of at least 25 new electric vehicle charging stations at libraries, parks, community centers, senior centers and County offices over the next five years
  • Committed to making our communities more resilient to climate change through our land use planning and disaster risk management efforts

For further information about any of Howard County’s organic products, including wholesale pricing, contact Mr. Jeffrey Dannis with DPW’s Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6419.

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