Curbside Collections

Mark Kreis, Chief
6751 Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046

Yard Trim Collection - No Plastic Bags

All curbside yard trim service has made the transition to plastic bag free collection. Collection crews will not pick-up yard trim items in any type of plastic bags. Howard County reminds residents to bundle material, or use paper bags and reusable containers for yard trim collection.

Earn a coupon for 10 free paper bags (one coupon per family, while supplies last) by completing an online survey. Many local and online retailers also sell paper bags. Here is an information sheet, including retail locations that sell paper yard trim bags.

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Inclement Weather

For collection information during inclement weather, click here.

Holiday Schedule

For collection information during holidays, click here.

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.

General Information

Once a week curbside collection of recycling, yard trim and up to 4 items of trash is provided to residents living in single family homes, townhomes, most trailer parks and condominiums (apartments contract for their trash through private trash haulers). 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.

Check Your Collection Days

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

What and How Much Will be Collected

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 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!

Because of safety and aesthetic concerns, please remove empty trash cans and recycling carts or bins from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day.

Tips To Reduce your Trash by 50% or More!

  • DONATE We're hard on ourselves and 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: You can put your mixed paper, plastics, metal cans, cardboard and glass bottles & jars "All Together Now" 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 waste to make a high grade soil.
  • Recycle YARD TRIM at the curb and save those valuable resources from the landfill. Remember, do not use plastic bags for yard trim material.

Where to Place Items for Collection

  • Single-family homeowners must set their trash to be collected within five (5) feet of the nearest public road fronting their home.
  • Place cans, bags, carts, etc. away from mail boxes 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.
  • Because of safety and aesthetic concerns, please remove empty trash cans and recycling carts or bins from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day.

When Collections Will be Made

  • Items must be placed out after 6 p.m. the day before collection, or before 6 a.m. the day of collection.
  • Material is collected at each residence once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary week to week so please be sure material is at the curb by 6 a.m.
  • 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.

What Containers to Use

Residents may use reusable containers or disposable bags for trash provided they meet the following criteria:

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
  • 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.
  • Bags used for recycling collection must be see-through. Other bags used for recycling collection will not be picked up.

Note: 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.

Prohibited Items

  • Ashes (which can cause a fire in the collection truck)
  • Liquids such as wet paint, cooking oil, chemicals and motor oil (which can leak onto streets).
  • Hazardous, toxic or flammable materials - asbestos, ammunition, explosives, dead animals, firearms, etc.
  • Car parts - tires, wheels or batteries.
  • Landscape and construction debris - dirt, rocks, stumps, concrete, sand, sod, drywall, lumber, plywood, etc.
  • 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).
  • Cart-type containers larger than 40-gallons containing loose trash.
  • 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.

Printable Trash Brochures

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Bulk Items and Scrap Metal

Bulk items (such as large appliances, mattresses, or large pieces of furniture) and scrap metal must be scheduled. Please call 410-313-6444 or visit our Bulk Item Collection webpage.

Drop-Off Location

You can drop off trash, recycling and yard trim at our Alpha Ridge Convenience Center.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.