by Gina Cook

LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Prince George’s and Montgomery counties rank highest in Maryland for keeping trash out of landfills and recycling, new data shows.

The Maryland Department of the Environment released a chart based on waste and recycling numbers in 2013 for all of the state’s counties and Baltimore City.

Prince George’s County had the highest “Waste Diversion Rate” at nearly 65 percent, surpassing its 2012 rate of 54 percent. This percentage is how much trash was kept out of landfills. Washington County came in second with a 62 percent waste diversion rate and Montgomery County was not far behind at 60 percent.

The majority of Prince George’s recyclables are paper materials, while Montgomery County residents are largely recycling compostable materials.

Prince George’s is only slightly behind Washington County most recycling in the state. But they lead the way in keeping trash out of the landfill — due in large part in turning food scraps into compost and turning a profit.

WNEW reporter Chuck Carroll reports that Prince George’s County Department of the Environment sells compost to landscapers, including the landscaper at the White House.

Montgomery County took the lead for the most recyclables with a total of more than 600,000, while Prince George’s had the second highest at more than 440,000.

The Prince George’s Department of the Environment says several recycling initiatives helped the county reduce its carbon footprint including allowing residents and businesses to recycle more items; a food scrap composting pilot program and the county’s inaugural ban on disposable plastic bags in yard waste collection.

Other new initiatives that Prince George’s officials expect will increase future recycling include a new law requiring businesses to incorporate waste reduction and recycling programs, a recycling program geared toward apartments and condominiums and a new recycling partnership with Prince George’s County Public Schools and Joint Base Andrews.

The lowest ranking county for waste diversion and recycling in 2013 was Somerset County. Baltimore City also ranked low.

Overall, there were nearly three million recyclables in Maryland and a total waste diversion rate of 48.

Follow WNEW on Twitter