Business Recycling

Businesses play an important role in the success of any community's recycling programs and initiatives. Every type of business, from offices to restaurants to car washes and sport complexes, create materials that can be recycled. The following information will help your business implement a successful recycling program.

We want to hear from YOU!

How green is your business? Does your company buy recycled content, use renewable energy or conduct waste audits? Let us know!

Results from our 1st Annual Awards Program

At Howard County’s 11th annual GreenFest on Saturday, April 21, the County’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services announced the winners of its inaugural “Business Recycling and Waste Reduction” and “Green Community Leadership” awards program.

The Business Recycling and Waste Reduction award recognizes Howard County businesses for their recycling and waste reduction efforts, the winners were:

    • BA Auto Care – BA Auto Care developed a technique to capture the motor oil that typically clings to the side of oil bottles, significantly reducing the amount of oil discarded as trash.
    • DSM Nutritional Products – DSM Nutritional Products employees started an office food scrap collection program. Employees collect roughly 25 pounds of food scraps a week, which is turned into compost.
    • Howard County Conservancy – The Howard County Conservancy developed an initiative to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in its waste stream. At its events, the Conservancy eliminated the use of single-use plastics and now encourages outside organizations using the facility to use of reusable items versus disposable items.
    • Taylor Service Company – This energy efficient company has adopted a variety of strategies to provide recycling and reuse opportunities for its employees and building tenants. Taylor Service Company donates reusable building materials to local nonprofits and allows Howard County’s Fire and Police departments use of its buildings for training purposes.

The Green Community Leadership Award recognizes groups and organizations that demonstrate efforts, projects or programs that help protect Howard County’s natural environment and preserve its resources. This year’s winners of the Green Community Leadership Award were:

    • Emmanuel United Methodist Church – With the help of its “Green Team,” Emmanuel United Methodist Church is constantly thinking about the environmental impact of its programs. The Church provides its members with special recycling opportunities, has eliminated its use of disposable food service ware and has conducted energy audits of its building, as well as facilitates audits for its members. The church is also entirely powered by wind sourced energy.
    • Howard EcoWorks – In 2017, Howard EcoWorks launched its “Ellicott City – Soak It Up” campaign. Geared toward encouraging individual action for stormwater reduction on private property in the Tiber Hudson watershed, the goal of the campaign is to convert 700 acres of turf grass to native landscape to improve stormwater. The program educates the public about sustainability, natural infrastructure and community resiliency.
    • Roger Carter Community Center – The Roger Carter Community Center approaches its LEED Silver certification as a launching point for other environmentally conscious programs. The Center regularly hosts community cleanups, provides a variety of recycling opportunities to the public, maintains a composting program and has conducted internal waste audits to find additional opportunities for improvements.

Award winners received handmade awards crafted by a local sculptor, using recycled metal components, as well as a signed certificate from Kittleman. “Business Recycling and Waste Reduction” award winners will also become certified through the County’s Work Green Howard program.

Are you a certified Work Green Howard business?
You can be!

Maryland Recycling Act (MRA)

    Howard County is required annually by Maryland Department of the Environment to report recycling activities taking place within the County. If you generated or processed recyclables in Howard County in the previous year, please visit our MRA webpage for more information about reporting and becoming Work Green Howard certified.

Getting Started

Contact Person or Team: Make sure you have an individual or team to coordinate the recycling program. They will be the point of contact for questions about the program.

Types of Waste: Identify the types of recyclable items your business produces - is it mostly cardboard? Paper? Bottles? Cans? How much trash does your workplace dispose of each week & how much of that is recyclable? Consider factors such as container size & collection frequency that will best meet your needs. Don't forget that there are many items that can be recycled, but may not be collected curbside.

Containers: Select new containers (or retrofit existing containers) to separate trash and recycling items for indoor collection. Many different shapes and styles are available through various retail and online sources. For the greatest success, place a recycling bin next to each trash can, making sure to clearly label each container. Common collection points include kitchens, copy rooms and conference rooms.

Plan for Collection: Contact local recycling collection contractors (see below) and establish which one has the best program for your needs & budget. Make sure you clearly understand what the contractor can and cannot accept. Programs may have slight variations.

Location, Location, Location: Select the location for your outdoor recycling pickup container. Make sure it is clearly marked for recyclable materials only; you want to make sure that trash is kept in a separate container.

Inform: Educate employees, patrons and contractors about your recycling program; make sure recycling containers are properly and boldly labeled. Don't forget - anyone that will be handling the recyclable materials, including the cleaning staff, should be educated about your new program. Educated employees are the key to program success!

Measure: Conduct a waste audit to determine areas of improvement. Take a look in the recycling containers and trash cans; Do you see recyclables in the trash? Trash in the recycling containers? If so, make sure recycling containers are paired with trashcans, are clearly labeled and are centrally located. Contact the County recycling division for additional technical support or to set-up a brief recycling presentation for employees.

Maintain: Monitor your program for participation and quality, create contests or incentives to recycle and publicize successes to maintain enthusiasm for the program. Remember: more recycling means less trash and lower trash disposal costs for your business.

Collection Options

Businesses may find it cost effective and efficient to contract with a waste disposal company that handles trash and recycling. In many cases, recycling can be a way to save money on trash disposal costs. Information about additional trash and recycling collection companies can be found online and in the yellow pages.

Small businesses can also drop off recyclables at the Alpha Ridge Landfill, 2350 Marriottsville Rd, Marriottsville, 21104. Businesses no longer need a permit to drop off recycling, but material must be generated within Howard County.

What Do I Do With...?

Visit our What Should I Do With...? website for many more ideas! Note: Items listed below can often be collected for recycling through a contract with a specialty recycling company.

Cardboard Boxes

    What's better than recycling? Reuse! Check out BoxCycle and ABCBoxes to donate boxes, or get reusable boxes. If you can't reuse boxes, cardboard can be recycled at the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center. Please flatten cardboard boxes and remove Styrofoam packaging. Styrofoam #6 can be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill.

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs

    Drop-Off Programs:

    • Home Depot - accepts fluorescent bulbs only, no tubes
    • Lowes - accepts fluorescent bulbs at the customer service desk, no tubes
    • My Organic Market (MOMs) - accepts all fluorescent bulbs and tubes
    • IKEA - accepts all fluorescent bulbs and tubes
    • Broadview Waste Services, 7610 Energy Parkway, Curtis Bay, MD 21226. For more information, call (410) 437-6590.

    Mail-In Programs:

    • Waste Management offers kits for recycling various items. Fill the prepaid boxes with the appropriate items and mail to Waste Management. Visit for more information.
    • Visit for more information about Office Depot’s bulb recycling toolkit.


    Consider retail take-back programs offered by Best Buy and Office Depot and charitable programs such as the Lazarus Foundation for reuse and recycling.Click here for additional options.

Furniture and Office Partitions

    Have old office furniture or cubicle partitions you want to get rid of? Check out these companies that refurbish those items and give them another life. Or, if you're in the market for furniture and office partitions, buy used and save $$.,,, Also, see below the Moving, Expanding, Renovating section.

Ink & Toner Cartridges

    Donate used ink/toner cartridges to the Davis Road animal shelter for fundraising. Staples and Office Depot collect cartridges for recycling and refilling. Or, request FREE mail-in boxes from Waste Management. Toner cartridges may also include a prepaid mailing label in each box. Simply open the new box, put the old cartridge in the new box, seal shut, affix the prepaid shipping label and send the box with outgoing packages.


    Here's a paint calculator to avoid leftovers. Mix white (or colored) paints together to give walls or furniture a fresh look. Solidify old and unusable paint by adding an absorbent material such as cat litter, shredded newspaper, leaves, sawdust, dirt or a paint hardener. If there isn't much paint left in the can, leave the lid off to air dry. Once solidified, place it in the regular trash. You can also contact Yuck Old Paint and ask for a pickup.

Rechargeable Batteries

    Call2Recycle offers a free mail-in program and drop-off program for collecting rechargeable batteries. Sign-up to receive prepaid mailing boxes and bags for batteries.


    Residents and businesses can bring Styrofoam #6 to Alpha Ridge Landfill for recycling. Just look for the special trailer. Please NO packing peanuts.

Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

    Many programs do not accept Styrofoam for recycling. To keep those packing peanuts out of the landfill, return them to a FedEx or UPS store or save them for your business to reuse.

Easy Tips For Any Business

Practice Waste Prevention

  • Buy only what the business needs
  • Shop for items with minimal packaging
  • Buy quality items that will last
  • Think before you print. If you must print, print double-sided
  • Donate unwanted items
  • Opt out of junk mail

Close The Loop!

    All of those recyclables you put in the recycling container need a market. Encourage your purchasing department to buy supplies that are made from recycled materials. Prices for items made from recycled material are usually very close, if not cheaper, than items made from virgin materials.

Only Shred When Needed

    Shredding paper cuts the paper fibers so that the paper cannot be recycled as many times. Only shred those documents that contain personal/confidential information and truly require shredding. This saves the paper fibers and saves you time at the shredder. Please remember that shredded paper must be bagged or boxed before placed in the recycling container.

Reduce Your Junk Mail

    Still receiving mail for employees that no longer work for the company? Visit for more information about a free service to stop receiving previous employees' mail.

Moving? Expanding? Renovating?

Food Scrap Recycling

EPA Resources

    WasteWise Program Businesses, local governments, and non-profit organizations of all sizes and from all industry sectors can join WasteWise. WasteWise targets the reduction of municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, including office paper, corrugated containers, yard trimmings and wood pallets. For more information, visit EPA's WasteWise website.

    Rethink: Sustainable materials management – the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way across their entire life cycle. For more information, visit the EPA’s Rethink website.

Maryland Green Registry

    Help build a smarter, greener, more sustainable Maryland by putting these practices to work right in your organization. The Maryland Green Registry is a voluntary, self-certification program offering tips and resources to help organizations set and meet their own goals on the path to sustainability. Visit for more information.


    Contact the recycling division at 410-313-6444 or with any questions or requests for assistance with your recycling program.

Note: Howard County does not endorse products, services or vendors.