Alan Wilcom, Recycling Division Chief


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Plastic Bags/Film - Not Accepted in Recycling

Effective Saturday, June 15, 2019, any type of plastic bags/film will no longer be accepted in recycling. Items placed out for recycling, should be loose in the county assigned recycling bin/cart (plastic bagged recyclables will not be collected curbside). Plastic bags and film should be taken to your local retail or grocery store. Map of plastic bag/film recycling locations.

Residents with County-provided service received a postcard in the mail alerting them of this change.

Why the change?  Plastic bags and plastic film get wrapped around recycling equipment and jam the sorting screens. Small plastic fragments also become air- and water-borne litter. Due to these factors, our contracted processor will not accept plastic bags or plastic filmThis includes loose and bundled plastic bags. Watch our No Plastic Bags video.

All plastic bags and film are not acceptable in curbside recycling. This includes:

    • Grocery/retail bags
    • Mattress/furniture covers
    • Newspaper bags
    • Bread bags
    • Dry cleaning bags
    • Plastic wrap from toilet paper rolls, napkins, paper towels, bottles of water, etc.
    • Produce bags
    • Frozen vegetable bags
    • Food storage bags
    • Bubble wrap
    • Air filled bags for packaging

In addition, the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents' Convenience Center will no longer accept recycling bagged in plastic. If you choose to transport your items in a plastic bag, please empty your items into the recycling compactor and take the bag with you.

Click here for more information and FAQs


What Are You Recycling?

Print for your fridge

We need your help to keep Howard County’s recycling clean and marketable. Take a minute to evaluate what you are recycling.  Contaminated or improper materials cause problems at recycling processors and downgrades the end product. 

HHW Drop-Off Saturdays at ARL

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days resumed April 6th at the Alpha Ridge Landfill. Drop-off is on SATURDAYS ONLY from April through November.

Compost & Rain Barrel Demos

The 2019 schedule for compost and rain barrel gardens is now posted on our News and Upcoming Events webpage. Check it out! These amazing sessions are offered in partnership with our local Master Gardeners. 

Have Some Fun

11% of the stuff Howard County residents think is recyclable and put in their blue bin...doesn't belong and ends up as trash.

How fast can you sort?? Drag & drop items to the correct place to see how much you "KNOW" Before You Throw. Play it again for new items too!