Yard Trim Recycling


    Curbside yard trim collection will resume Monday, March 12, three weeks ahead of schedule, to accommodate residents impacted by this past weekend's wind storm. Please remember, yard trim items should be placed in paper bags or reusable containers (plastic bags are not accepted), or tied or bundled with sturdy string that will not break. Each item may not exceed 40 pounds and branches must be 4 inches or less in diameter and less than 4 feet in length. Bundles of branches must not exceed 18 inches in diameter. If you are not sure whether you receive curbside yard trim collection, please visit our yard trim webpage and click on the "find your collection days" link.

    Additionally, starting Wednesday, March 7, drop-off locations will be set up at Howard County Recreation and Parks' Western Regional Park (14800 Carrs Mill Rd, Woodbine, MD), Schooley Mill Park (12975 Hall Shop Road, Highland, MD) and North Laurel Community Center (9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel, MD) where Howard County residents may dispose of yard trim debris ONLY. Marked by signage, these three sites will be open daily from March 7 to March 21, 8:00 a.m. to dusk for yard trim debris only.

    The Alpha Ridge Landfill's Wood Waste Area is available for Howard County residents to drop off material, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m

    Curbside yard trim collection will resume March 12.

    Check Your Collection Days

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

    No Plastic Bags

    All curbside yard trim service has made the transition to plastic bag free 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.

    How can I recycle my yard trimmings?

    • Grasscycling
    • Backyard Composting
    • Rake and Take Program
    • Curbside Recycling 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. Here is the 2016 compost demo schedule. Visit our Backyard Composting webpage for more information.

    Rake & Take Program - large amount of leaves?

    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

    All curbside yard trim service has made the transition to plastic bag free 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 (the last day will be January 19, 2018). (Note: 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. Please note, 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 any time 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.


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

    • Not Accepted

    • 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)
    • Please do not use biodegradable plastic bags for yard trim. Why? Collection crews have a hard time differentiating between biodegradable plastic bags and regular plastic bags. In an effort to make collection routes efficient, we are not allowing residents to use any type of plastic bag, including biodegradable plastic bags.
    • You no longer have to leave bags open, you may tie them shut
    • Tie or bundle light brush with sturdy string that won't break (bundles may not exceed 40 lbs, 18" in diameter and 4' in length)
    • DO NOT USE cardboard boxes as containers
    • DO NOT USE plastic bags
    • DO NOT USE blue recycling carts - they will not be collected

    PLEASE remember your 4's

    • Each item under 40 pounds.
    • Each item less than 4 feet long.
    • Limbs under 4 inches in diameter (must be tied or bundled - not to exceed 18" in diameter).
    • Put out beFORE 6:00 a.m.

    Paper Yard Trim Bags

    There are many local and online retailers that carry paper bags. If you don't see paper bags at your favorite grocery or hardware store, ask for them! Here is an information sheet, including retail locations that sell paper yard trim bags. NOTE: We are no longer able to provide free paper bags to residents.

      Why use paper bags for yard trim?

      • Paper bags decompose naturally with yard trim (no extra steps to remove plastic pieces from compost)
      • Paper bags hold the same amount as plastic bags, but won't puncture as easily
      • Paper bags stay open for easier filling
      • Paper bags contain a component that resists water absorption

    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.

    Inclement Weather

    During inclement weather, every effort will be made to continue to provide for scheduled collections. If collections are cancelled due to snow, ice, or other severe weather, pick-up will be made the following week on your scheduled recycling day, if possible, or when road conditions permit. Call 410-313-6444 or visit our Inclement Weather webpage for cancellation and makeup information.


    For the holiday schedule, click here.

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