Solid Waste and Recycling Master Plan
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The City of Baltimore is facing many challenges, including high levels of poverty and income inequality coupled with low rates of recycling and composting, limited remaining landfill capacity, and reliance on an aging waste-to-energy facility for the majority of waste disposal.

The City needed a comprehensive solid waste and recycling master plan to effectively tackle their current and future demands.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec worked with the City on a master planning effort dubbed the "Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan – Rethinking our Waste Management Future" (LWBB Plan). Geosyntec provided wide ranging services, including conducting a two-season waste characterization study of different residential and commercial waste streams and curbside recycling; soliciting stakeholder input through a facilitated process of community meetings, an online survey, and feedback via various social media channels; completing a comprehensive evaluation of the existing system for solid waste management in the local region; and evaluating the city's current programs and aspirations against other jurisdictions with comparable demographics. Geosyntec analyzed these inputs and additional market and technology research data to develop a set of options for the City to consider for improving waste diversion and recycling, as well as disposing of what's left in a sustainable and cost-conscious manner.

Using the City's existing Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan as the foundation, the LWBB Plan provides a roadmap for making myriad improvements, including reducing food waste; increasing composting across the residential and commercial sectors; expanding access to recycling; maximizing reuse and diversion of construction and demolition waste; providing more options for recycling and reuse of bulky waste items; and upgrading the range of recycling services available at the City's residents' drop-off convenience centers. While operationally focused, the LWBB Plan recognizes the City's need for flexibility in responding to changes in the waste management and recycling market over the next two decades. During the final stages of plan development, we assisted the City's decision making in terms of enacting recommendations and building public, legislative, and administrative support for implementing changes to the existing system.

Notable Accomplishments

Geosyntec worked with the City to outline a clear and realistic future vision for improving solid waste recycling program and operations with the goal of maximizing waste reduction, reuse/repair (upcycling), recycling, and sustainable management of materials "through 2040 and beyond." The LWBB Plan provides actionable strategies to achieve this vision over the near- and long-term, maximizing waste reduction and diversion while meeting the needs for operational flexibility and financial sustainability.

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Project Summary

  • Location: City of Baltimore, Maryland
  • Client: City of Baltimore (under contract with Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority)
  • Project Practice Areas: Waste Management
  • Type of Facility: Recycling and solid waste
  • Services Provided: Comprehensive review of existing system, Stakeholder outreach and public participation, Multi-sector waste characterization study, Benchmarking, Market analysis of competing waste reduction, diversion, recycling, and disposal alternatives, Lifecycle cost/benefit analysis
  • Type of Work: Planning and assessment
  • Governing Regulation: State and local