Good Friday Collections

    There will be REGULAR curbside collections of recycling, yard trim and trash this Friday, April 19th, 2019. The Alpha Ridge Landfill will be OPEN from 8am to 4pm. County offices will be CLOSED.

Curbside Collections

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Mark Kreis
Collections Division Chief
410-313-6444


Did you know? 

  • There are several private companies under contract with Howard County that pick up trash and recyclables from County homes.
  • County inspectors monitor over 78,000 homes for curbside and dumpster service, 5 days a week.
  • Collections may occur between 6am and 7pm. Please be sure to have your material out by 6am to ensure collection.
  • Trash collected from Howard County homes is transported to a landfill in Virginia.

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Hot off the Presses: Recycling Changes You Need to Know

Many of you have seen news stories and articles about the current challenges we are facing due to changes within the recyclables market. A recent CBS news story featured recycling sorting operators throwing out plastic-bagged material along with other non-recyclable items. As the recycling markets continue to tighten, recycling processors like Waste Management in Elkridge are under pressure to produce a cleaner contamination-free product for the marketplace.

Moving forward, we ask you to take a minute to evaluate which items you put in your recycling cart or bin and how you prepare them for collection. The desire to recycle as much as possible is strong in Howard County and unfortunately, it leads to “wishcycling.” Please keep in mind that items like straws, food contaminated paper and cardboard, candy wrappers and plastic bags, to name a few, may be recyclable elsewhere but are not acceptable in our curbside collection. Contaminated or improper materials cause problems at recycling processors and downgrades the end product.

We ask for your support to keep Howard County’s recycling clean and marketable. Please don't use plastic bags, but instead, keep those cans, bottles, paper and cardboard loose in your cart or bin.

Keep it loose, lose the bag! Learn more at KnowBeforeYouThrow.org

General Information

  • Recycling, yard trim and trash is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary  
  • Items must be placed out after 6 p.m. the day before collection or before 6 a.m. the day of collection.
  • Contractors will not return to collect material set out after the truck has serviced the area.
  • Collections missed due to road closings will be made the next day if possible.
  • The clean up of trash or recycling, especially in grouping locations, that is spilled and/or spread by animals or wind is the responsibility of the residents.
  • Property owners are charged a yearly REFUSE COLLECTION CHARGE of $225 per house (with yard trim collection) and $210 (without yard trim collection) on your tax bill for this service. 
  • The historic Ellicott City business district located on Main Street is also provided trash and recycling collection - please call 410-313-6444 for details on this specialized service.

What Will Be Collected

Please remember your 4's when placing items 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 a.m. (Pickup is between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

An item is a single bag, can or bundle. Put several small bags in one 30-gallon trash can (or a large trash bag) and it's only considered 1 item. Just remember the weight limit!


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What Containers to Use

Recycling - Residents receive 1 blue recycling cart or bin (we have 3 sizes!) free of charge. 

Yard Trim - Visit our yard trim webpage for collection details

Trash - Residents provide their own reusable containers or disposable bags for trash. 

Reusable containers must be...

  • Made of metal or tough plastic and equipped with handles and watertight, well-fitting lids.
  • Maximum 40-gallon capacity. If containers are larger than 40 gallons, each bag inside is counted as one item and loose trash will not be collected.
  • Cart-type containers larger than 40 gallons should not be used for trash. Recycling carts and bins are issued by the County for recycling only – trash or yard trim will not be collected from them.
  • Kept clean and sanitary.

Note: Reusable containers may be required in townhome communities or in areas where previous sanitation problems or rodent infestations have been identified.

Disposable bags must be...

  • Heavy gauge plastic which can be picked up and carried without tearing.
  • Securely tied at the top to prevent spillage.

Where to Place Items for Collection

  • Single-family homeowners must set items to be collected within five (5) feet of the nearest public road fronting their home.
  • Place cans, bags, carts, etc. away from mailboxes on the opposite side of the driveway, if possible.
  • Residents of townhome communities without garages are required to "group" items in designated areas accessible to the collectors such as the curb end of grass islands or at the end of parking areas. Do not block mailboxes or fire hydrants.
  • After your items are collected, we recommend removing empty trash cans and recycling carts or bins from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day to mitigate safety and aesthetic concerns.

Check Your Collection Days

Call 410-313-6444 or check our online tool to find your collection days.

Tips to Reduce Your Trash by 50%

  • DONATE We assume nobody wants our junk, but people love to have used items...See a donation directory for pick-up and drop-off options.
  • RECYCLE unlimited quantities of acceptable recyclables on your recycling day each week. Remember: Put your household recycling together in a recycling cart, bin or see-through bag; yard trim needs to be kept separate.
  • GRASSCYCLE by leaving your grass clippings on your lawn. This process provides FREE fertilizer for your lawn.
  • COMPOST grass, leaves, yard trimmings and select food scraps to make a high grade soil.
  • Recycle YARD TRIM at the curb and save those valuable resources from the landfill.

Holidays That May Affect Your Collection

There are 6 main holidays that may affect your curbside collections. Trash, recycling and yard trim collections scheduled on or after the 6 holidays ONLY will 'slide' and be made one day later that week. No other holidays will be affected. Please remember, all items to be collected must be out by 6 a.m. on the day of collection.

Prohibited Items

  • Ashes (which can cause a fire in the collection truck)
  • Car parts - tires, wheels or batteries.
  • Cart-type containers larger than 40-gallons containing loose trash.
  • Construction & remodeling debris - bathtubs, carpet, concrete, drywall, lumber, plywood, sinks, toilets, etc.
  • Hazardous, toxic or flammable materials - asbestos, ammunition, explosives, dead animals, firearms, etc.
  • Landscaping debris - dirt, rocks, stumps, sand, sod, etc.
  • Liquids such as wet paint, cooking oil, chemicals and motor oil (which can leak onto streets).
  • Pallets
  • Rechargeable batteries - laptop, cell phone, etc.
  • Trash placed in County-provided recycling carts.
  • Trash placed in any type of recycling container (including those purchased from Home Depot, Lowes, etc).
  • Yard trim may not be put out as trash during yard trim season in areas that receive curbside yard trim collection. Yard trim season is April 1st through the third week in January.