Recycling Collection Details
Recyclables can be placed "ALL TOGETHER" in the same container. A blue cart, bin or see-through bag is all you need (do not use black bags for recyclables). You don't need to remove lids, caps, labels or rings, but please empty containers and rinse lightly, if needed. Call 410-313-6444or click here to find out your collection day.
Note: Please NO yard trim or trash in County-issued recycling carts and bins.
Sign up to receive a monthly email of updates, holiday schedules and shredding events.
There are three sizes of recycling containers available.
Want to purchase an additional recycling container?
Did You Know? ALL Howard County residents can bring household recyclables to the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Area
Wondering which numbers to recycle? Howard County doesn't use the numbers for recycling because they can be confusing. See below for a list of the items that we accept.
Delivered recycling containers are County property and MUST STAY AT THE ASSIGNED ADDRESS. Even if you're moving within Howard County, the blue container should be left behind.
PLEASE remember your 4's when placing trash and recyclables out for collection...
- 4 item per week limit for TRASH. (Unlimited Recyclables)
- Each item under 40 pounds. (No Weight Limit For Recycling Carts)
- Each item less than 4 feet long.
- Put out beFORE 6 am.
- Use a blue cart, bin or see-through bag (do not use black bags for recyclables, they won't be picked up).
- It's best if recyclables are loose in your recycling container. Why? Bags create an extra step at the processor and can jam the equipment if not removed from the line. Watch a video of the processor for more details.
- Please remove empty carts from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day due to safety and aesthetic concerns.
Want to donate items? Check out our handy donation directory for pick-up and drop-off options.
- corrugated cardboard (used to hold paper, small appliances, or boxes from warehouse stores, etc).
- styrofoamTM pieces - please recycle at Alpha Ridge Landfill
- waxed cardboard (bulk/supplier produce boxes)
- tied bundles higher than 6"
HOW TO prepare for collection . . .
- cardboard recyclables must be clean
- remove plastic liners, waxed paper and styrofoamTM packaging material
- flatten all boxes to conserve space
- cut boxes to fit into the 2' x 4' x 6" opening in the recycling truck (i.e., the size of a large bath towel and thickness of a pillow)
- If preferred, tie or bundle with string (stacked no higher than 6")
Glass Bottles & Jars
- any color glass food or beverage containers
- window glass
- drinking glasses
- fluorescent light bulbs or incandescent light bulbs
- CorningWare or Pyrex
- aluminum, steel & tin cans (this includes drink and food, even pet food!)
- aluminum foil/bakeware
- EMPTY aerosol cans
- metal hangers (please tape together in a bundle)
- propane cylinders
- beach or lawn chairs
- pots, pans or other scrap metal
- motor oil or other automotive fluid cans
Note: Paper recyclables must be clean. Please remove food, plastic liners, waxed paper and styrofoamTM packaging material.
- milk cartons
- juice boxes
- newspapers & inserts
- phone books
- junk mail (even window envelopes)
- food & snack boxes
- paperback/hardback books
- greeting cards
- gift wrap
- tubes for paper towels & toilet paper
- shoe boxes
- paper egg cartons
- shredded paper (secure in a paper bag or white/clear plastic bag. Check out our Paper Shredding website)
- food contaminated boxes such as very greasy pizza boxes (if the box has little to no grease it may be recycled)
- ice cream containers
- wax paper or waxed liners from cereal/cracker boxes
- paper towels
- paper plates or cups (such as Starbucks)
- foil-type gift wrap
- laminated paper
- paper that can't be torn easily (typically means there are plastic layers added)
Remember - You don't have to remove the lids or caps, just empty the container and screw the lid back on for recycling. Please make sure plastic items are no longer than 4 feet in length, 18 inches in diameter and less than 40 pounds.
- plastic bottles (shampoo, salad dressing, laundry detergent, etc.)
- milk jugs
- spray bottles (hair spray and cleaning products)
- pump bottles (lotions and soaps)
- butter and cheese tubs
- yogurt containers
- peanut butter jars (scrape out as much pb as you can, no need to wash)
- frozen food trays
- disposable plastic cups and plates
- milk/soda crates
- flower pots (clean, no soil or plant material)
- buckets (including buckets with metal handles)
- lawn furniture
- drinking cups
- hangers (please tape together in a bundle. Colored plastic type only, no clear acrylic)
- water bottles (even the five gallon or larger)
- totes and sweater boxes (best to donate)
- pet carriers (best to donate to animal shelters)
What should I do with plastic bags?
The best way to recycle your bags/film is to take them to a grocery or retail store. Most local grocery stores, and retail stores, such as IKEA, Wal-Mart and Target, have collection containers for plastic bags and film. This option ensures that the items stay clean and dry and can be recycled. Why shouldn't you put bags in your curbside bin? Loose bags, and even bundled bags, can get wrapped around recycling equipment and jam the screens at the processor. Plastic bags do A LOT of damage to the curbside recycling processor equipment. Here's more details about recycling bags and check out this neat poster.
- plastic clamshell packaging for food, toys, electronics, batteries, etc (examples and why they aren't recyclable)
- wax paper or liners from cereal/cracker boxes
- crinkly wrappers for chips and snacks (granola bars, candy bars, pretzels, etc)
- toothpaste tubes WHY? They are a mix of many different components
- acrylic plastic
- CDs/DVDs and jewel cases (please recycle jewel cases and CDs/DVDs at Best Buy)
- juice pouches (capri sun or other types)
- styrofoamTM - please recycle at Alpha Ridge Landfill
- K-Cups for Keurig machines - Why? See a video on their website and check out a mail-in recycling program
- motor oil or pesticide bottles
For collection information during inclement weather, click here. Sign up for NotifyMeHoward updates for recycling & trash and be the first to know about changes!
Apartment and Condo Recycling
Most apartments and condos in Howard County contract with private haulers for trash and recycling collection. If you live in an apartment or condo that does not have recycling, here are a few options:
- Take your recyclables to the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Area (2350 Marriottsville Road). This is free drop-off to all Howard County residents (Driver's license must be shown).
- Encourage your property management association to recycle. Many times, the hauler that provides trash collection will also provide recycling collection. Or, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce formed a Recycling Co-op (410-730-4111). Check out these options or for more information, contact us. We'd be happy to meet with your property management group to discuss options.
Click here for an article about sustainable multifamily buildings - Grow a Green Multifamily Development