Leaf & Yard Waste Composting
Western Branch Composting Facility
Prince George's County manages the Western Branch Composting Facility and contracts with Maryland Environmental Services (MES) to operate the facility in Upper Marlboro, MD. Yard waste (including grass clippings, leaves, brush, small branches and Christmas trees), is collected from approximately 158,000 households in the County and delivered to the facility. Once the yard waste is delivered, it is ground, placed in windrows and processed into compost. The compost, known as Leafgro©, is sold to wholesalers in bulk. Residents may buy Leafgro© from retailers.
Prince George’s County piloted food scrap composting during 2013 utilizing the Gore Cover technology which is an in-vessel aerated pile system with oxygen and temperature monitoring devices. This technology is designed to create ideal composting conditions within the pile while efficiently trapping odors and other emissions such as dust, and volatile organic compounds, (VOC’s). This system allows for the processing of a greater volume of yard trim and the inclusion of food scraps on a smaller footprint of area with little energy consumption and creates finished compost within a 30 days. Utilizing the GORE covered system enables the County to divert food scraps from the landfill increasing the overall recycling rate within the County.
The final product from this process is known as LeafgroGold, a nutrient rich dark humus-like material, marketed by the County’s contractor, the Maryland Environmental Service (MES). The compost is produced in accordance with the Maryland Department of Agriculture regulations and is a top quality soil amendment. A network of retailers, found on MES’s website, sells the LeafgroGOLD. Revenue from the sale of this material is returned to the County to offset the cost of the composting operation.
During 2014, the County increased the Gore Cover system from a three heap pilot project, to a four heap continuous process. The composting of food scraps and yard trim mixed together in the Gore System has been so successful, another expansion, to an eight heap system is in process. Food scraps are accepted from pre and post-consumer entities, including residential, commercial and institutional sectors.
County citizens and residents are invited to tour the Visitor's Center located at the Western Branch Composting Facility. Through the informational displays, visitors will learn about the composting process at the facility, the various recycling programs offered by the County and backyard composting. To schedule a tour of the Western Branch Composting Facility and the Visitor's Center, please call 888-214-8687.