If an Eastern Shore delegate’s bill passes the General Assembly this year, dumping yard waste outside of designated locations or curbside pickup would be outlawed in Maryland.
The goal of Del. Steven Arentz’s (R-Queen Anne’s, Kent, Cecil and Caroline) bill, which he pre-filed in the General Assembly, is to add yard waste to the definition of litter in the state’s Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law.
Yard waste is defined as plant waste from landscaping, gardening or tree trimming.
Under the current Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law, litter includes all “rubbish, waste matter, refuse, garbage, trash, debris, dead animals, or other discarded materials of every kind and description.”
According to the text of the bill, the General Assembly intends the bill to make rules about disposing of litter improperly the same across the state while helping maintain “the beauty of the State.”
The bill is also meant to limit any harm to the “health, welfare and safety” of Marylanders that may be caused by litter being disposed of incorrectly.
Illegally disposing of yard waste would be a misdemeanor. According to the bill, the first time someone gets rid of yard waste illegally they can be fined between $50 and $300. Every other time, the person can be fined between $50 and $1,000.
The bill states that a court can order the person to remove the yard waste or to reimburse the state, the county, the municipal corporation, the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission or the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
In Frederick County, curbside yard waste pickup is available in some municipalities.
Where it is not available, residents can use yard waste drop-off locations.
Dave Ennis, department head of highway and facility maintenance, said the county doesn’t have major issues with people dumping yard waste outside designated areas.
But that was before the Walkersville yard waste site closed in November. Now Frederick County has only one site, on Reichs Ford Road.
The county has yet to see an increase in yard waste being dumped in undesignated areas since the site closed, Ennis said.