Organics Composting Facility
Physical Address: 6550 Maude Savoy Brown Road. Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.
Mailing Address: 6601 SE Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday - 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In order to service the County’s residential collection routes - On MONDAYS, no cash and no credit card transactions/customers will be accepted. Cash and credit card paying customers may access the facility Tuesday through Friday.
Prince George's County Government contracts with Maryland Environmental Services (MES) to operate the Organics Composting Facility (OCF) in Upper Marlboro, MD. Yard trim (including grass clippings, leaves, brush, small branches, and Christmas trees), is collected from approximately 172,000 households in the County and delivered to the facility. Once the yard trim 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.
Over 50,000 tons of material is processed annually at the Prince George's County Organics Composting Facility. Yard trim and food scraps are ground up and moved into long narrow piles known as windrows. In the fall, windrows are comprised primarily of leaves. In the spring, grass is added. The active composting phase requires both leaves and grass. Windrow composting is most effective when the carbon to nitrogen ratio is 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, the temperature ranges between 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the moisture is between 45% and 55%, and the oxygen is less than 5%.
Windrows are turned using a Scarab windrow turner to accelerate the composting process. Frequency of turning depends on environmental conditions. In general, windrows are turned more frequently during the spring and summer (approximately 2 turns per week). Depending on the weather, the rows of yard trim may require manual watering. Normally, our area receives enough rainfall and temperatures are moderate enough to avoid manual watering. However, in drought conditions or extremely hot weather, watering becomes necessary. The windrow composting process takes approximately 9 months to complete.
The material is then moved to a curing pile where it will continue to decompose for approximately 3 months. Once this process is complete, the compost is spread in a thin layer on the pad to dry. Next, the material is screened to remove all particles larger than 3/8 inch.
The final product is a dark humus-like material, which is marketed as Leafgro® by MES. It is produced in accordance with the Maryland Department of Agriculture regulations and is a great soil amendment. A network of retailers sells the Leafgro®. Revenue from the sale of this material is returned to the county to offset the cost of the composting operation.
Food Scrap Composting
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 (VOCs). 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® Cover 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 Leafgro GOLD®, a nutrient rich dark humus-like material, marketed by the County’s contractor, 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 Leafgro GOLD®. 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® Cover 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.
Tours at the OCF have resumed and are available to the public, including schools, colleges, civic and church groups, scout troops, Federal Agencies and foreign delegations. For further information and to schedule a tour, please contact the OCF at 301-627-6388. Tours are conducted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m..
County citizens and residents are invited to tour the Visitor's Center located at the Prince George's County Organics Composting Facility. Through the informational displays, visitors will learn about the composting process at the facility, the many recycling programs offered by the County and backyard composting.
Special Events & Attractions
Mulch Madness Giveaway
The Resource Recovery Division (RRD) sponsors a Mulch Madness giveaway in the spring to provide an opportunity for County residents to receive free mulch. The mulch for this event is derived from the Christmas trees that are collected or dropped off for recycling.
The Mulch Madness source reduction event is held in conjunction with Earth Day and is just one of the many departmental programs celebrating Earth Month in April! Join us Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m or while supplies last.
Residents transporting mulch by car will need to bring their own containers and shovels or pitchforks. A skid loader will be available to load mulch directly into pickup trucks.
For more information and specific dates for the next Mulch Giveaway, check the local paper, our Mulch Madness page, local cable station, or contact PGC311.
Prince George's County is proud to announce the expansion of the Curbside Composting program, PGC Composts, to include residential curbside collections of food scraps to eligible residents. In addition to food scraps, pumpkins, dried corn, hay and straw will also be picked-up for composting along with yard trim during the month of November.
Items should be placed curbside by 6:00 a.m. on Mondays for pickup. Pumpkins, dried corn, hay and straw MUST be placed in a paper lawn/leaf bag OR the provided 32-gallon wheeled green cart. Pumpkins should be free of inorganic materials such as candles, wax, artificial lighting, loose decorations, etc.
Live Christmas/ Holiday Tree Recycling
The Department of Environment (DoE) makes it easy for residents to recycle cut, live holiday trees (no artificial trees). Prince George's County's residents with County-provided yard trim collection can place their undecorated, unbagged, live Christmas trees at the curb by 6 a.m. for collection on Mondays from January 2, to January 31, 2023.
Alternatively, residents can drop off cut, live Christmas trees to the Public Convenience Center located on Brown Station Road in Upper Marlboro.
Please be sure to remove all artificial items and decorations.