Yard Trim Recycling

Monday, January 21 - Martin Luther King Day

There will be REGULAR curbside collection on Monday, January 21. The Alpha Ridge Landfill will be OPEN Monday through Saturday from 8am to 4pm. County offices will be CLOSED on Martin Luther King Day.

Friday, January 18 - Last Day of Yard Trim Collection

Yard trim collection runs from the first week in April through the third week in January. For 2019, the last day of curbside yard trim collection will be Friday, January 18th. Yard trim collection will resume in April. After curbside collection ends, residents can recycle yard trim at the Alpha Ridge Landfill WoodWaste area, Monday-Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

Check Your Collection Days

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

How can I recycle my yard trimmings?

  • Grasscycling
  • Backyard Composting
  • Rake and Take Program
  • Curbside Yard Trim Collection
  • Drop-off at Alpha Ridge WoodWaste Area



Leave grass clippings on your lawn to return nutrients to the soil and improve lawn quality. Grasscycling will not cause thatch, damage your lawn or spread disease; in fact, lawn care professionals recommend grasscycling for a greener, healthier lawn! Grasscycling also helps our streams and even the Chesapeake Bay! See GrassCycling for more information.


Backyard Composting

Mix leaves, grass clippings and vegetable refuse together and watch the natural decomposition process turn waste into black gold. Call 410-313-6444 for a free composting instruction kit (compost bins available while supplies last). Compost demonstrations are offered April - October.  Visit our Backyard Composting webpage for more information.


Rake & Take Program

Rakers (residents who rake and bag their leaves/grass) are matched with TAKERS (people who want leaves/grass for compost piles). Leaves provide a carbon amendment to compost piles and if left on your gardens, will break down to give you a rich, healthy soil. For more, see the Rake and Take Flier or visit the Master Gardener's website.


Curbside Yard Trim Collection

Howard County reminds residents to bundle material, or use paper bags and reusable containers for yard trim collection. Collection crew will not pick-up yard trim items in plastic bags, including biodegradable bags or from blue County-provided recycling carts/bins.

Curbside collection of yard trim runs from the first week in April through the third week in January (January 18, 2019) Households in our food scrap collection areas will receive yard trim/food scrap collection year-round. 

Once a week curbside collection of UNLIMITED amounts of grass, leaves and light brush is provided to residents living in most single family homes, townhomes and trailer parks in eastern and central Howard County. In these areas, Howard County will collect grass, leaves and light brush ONLY on your scheduled yard trim collection day. These items will not be picked up on your TRASH collection day. To see if you are in the service area, call 410-313-6444 or search out collection database. Curbside recycling and yard trim collection occur on the same day; however, there is a separate truck for each type of collection that can come anytime between 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Here is a printable yard trim brochure.

When curbside yard trim collection is not offered, we encourage residents to take yard trim to the Alpha Ridge Landfill Woodwaste Area for recycling. As a last option, residents can place yard trim material out for collection on their trash day. Please note that yard trim set out on trash day will be taken to a landfill and will not be recycled into compost and mulch.


    • pumpkins
    • leaves
    • grass
    • hedge clippings/light brush
    • small limbs or branches less than 4" in diameter and 4' in length (bundled and tied)
    • dry seed pods (pine cones, sour gum balls, etc.)
    • straw/hay


Not Accepted 

    • bamboo
    • small limbs and branches not bundled and tied with sturdy string
    • yard trim placed in plastic bags, blue recycling carts/bins or cardboard boxes
    • bushes with root bases attached
    • yard trim mixed with trash or miscellaneous materials, such as:
      • plastic/clay pots
      • dirt, rocks, sod or sand (see the ARL Fee Schedule for dirt disposal)
      • metal wire or fencing
      • glass, pottery or stone


HOW TO prepare yard trim for curbside collection...

  • Place in paper bags or reusable containers (plastic bags are not accepted)
  • Tie and bundle light brush with sturdy string (bundles may not exceed 40 lbs, 18" in diameter and 4' in length). 
  • Loose small branches and limbs will not be collected.
  • DO NOT USE biodegradable plastic bags for yard trim. 
  • DO NOT USE cardboard boxes as containers
  • DO NOT USE blue recycling carts/bins

  • Drop-Off at Alpha Ridge Landfill 

    You can also recycle grass, leaves and brush at the Wood Waste Drop-off Area at the Alpha Ridge Landfill, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Proof of Howard County residency required. Plastic bags are NOT accepted at the Wood Waste Drop-off Area.

    Why are paper bags better than plastic bags?

    At home they are:

    • Easier to fill
    • More puncture resistant
    • Don't allow moisture to build, which helps prevent odors

    At a composting facility they:

    • Don't have to be emptied or removed before processing
    • Decompose naturally with yard trim
    • Don't need to be screened from finished compost and mulch
    • Don't become air- or water-borne litter 



    For the holiday schedule, click here.

    Be the first to know!

    Sign up for your monthly email of updates, holiday schedules, shredding events and more.