COVID-19 Updates: The Bureau of Environmental Services office is currently closed to the public. The Alpha Ridge Landfill is open with modified operations.

This page is monitored daily. Last update: 8/30/20

Please be aware that some donation/recycling opportunities may be impacted by the State of Emergency. Please check with businesses and organizations before donating/recycling material. 

know before you throw!

Know Before You Throw
We all have questions about what to do with certain items. 

Learn how to properly recycle, reuse, donate or dispose of various items. Is something missing from our list? Let us know as we continue to keep our page up to date.

For specific curbside recycling questions, please visit our Curbside Collections page.

To learn about what can be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill, visit our Residents' Convenience Center page.

For posters, brochures, games and video tours check out our Brochures & Outreach page.


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Air Pillows & Bubble Wrap

Air Pillows

Air pillows & bubble wrap are not acceptable in curbside recycling collection or at Alpha Ridge Landfill. These items and other plastic films get wrapped around recycling equipment and jam the screens at the processor causing a lot of damage to the curbside recycling processor equipment. Please consider reusing these items for shipping/packaging purposes.

If you are unable to reuse them, they can be recycled with Plastic Bags & Film at participating grocery and retail stores (see map below for locations)


Check out this poster for a complete list of acceptable plastic films that can be taken back to your grocery/retail stores for recycling, .

Aluminum Foil/Bakeware

Aluminum foil and bakeware are no longer accepted in curbside recycling. However, you can take it to the scrap metal area at the Residents' Convenience Center for recycling.

Amazon Packaging

Before disposal, consider donating boxes, bags & bubble wrap to HorseSpirit Arts Gallery (8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD). Packaging material must be in good condition. 

*Store Drop-off refers to retail and grocery stores that accept plastic bags and film for recycling.


Antifreeze should NOT be poured down the drain.

Antifreeze (not mixed with oil or other substances) can be recycled at the Residents' Convenience Center at Alpha Ridge Landfill Monday-Saturday 8am to 4pm. Please leave container for attendant to empty.


Have older items that you think may be valuable? Check out nearby consignment stores to resell those items such as Housewerks and online shopping communities like Also visit The New York Salvage for ideas about values.


Working appliances should be reused/donated. Check out BGE to earn cash, list them on Craigslist or FreeCycle, schedule a pick-up from Habitat ReStore in Columbia or The Loading Dock, or simply put them at the curb with a FREE sign.

For non-working appliances, schedule a Scrap Metal Collection (call 410-313-6444) or take appliances (toasters, mixers, toaster ovens, coffee makers, etc.) to the scrap metal area at the Residents' Convenience Center at Alpha Ridge Landfill.

Refrigerators (doors removed), air conditioners and dehumidifiers must be placed next to the scrap metal drop-off so the Freon can be removed.


Benefit charitable organizations by donating vehicles to groups such as Wheels for Wishes, Kars4Kids or Goodwill. Or, sell it to SellMax or Junk Car Medics for proper recycling and some cash!

Baby & Kid's Items

Donate usable items, such a strollers and high chairs to a local charity or second-hand store, or contact for a mail-in program. Check out Target's car seat trade-in program. Buy and sell kid's items using ThredUP. Have unused diapers? Donate them to Remove the padding from a car seat and recycle the plastic part with curbside recycling or at the Residents' Convenience Center Alpha Ridge Landfill.


Alkaline batteries after 1995 are OK to be disposed of in your regular trash. For other batteries, including rechargeable and button, see our Battery Recycling poster. Many different types of batteries can also be dropped off at My Organic Market (MOM's) and REI Columbia.


Bring reusable bicycles to the Residents' Convenience Center at Alpha Ridge Landfill and give those bikes another life! Look for the Reusable Bicycle shed (please no tricycles or motorized bikes). This is a partnership with the Lions Club of Glenwood and Bikes for the World which has donated bikes to youth projects in Africa, Costa Rica, Barbados, El Salvador, DC and rural Kentucky. Any non-reusable bike can be recycled with scrap metal.

Also consider Velocipede, located in Baltimore. If your bike isn't in good condition, contact your local bike store to see if they can use the parts or repair it.

Binders & Notebooks

Donate usable binders to your favorite charity. Prepare for Success has locations in Howard County. Spiral bound paper notebooks and binders are NOT acceptable in our curbside recycling program. 


Donate books to your local Howard County library. Check out MD Book Bank, and Second Edition Books for buy-back and donation, The Book Thing of Baltimore for donating and free book pick-up, Discover Books for local drop-off bins that support literacy in Howard County schools, or send books to overseas troops through Operation Paperback


Check out and to recycle and reuse used and unused bras. Bras can also be donated to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Purple Heart, Planet Aid, etc.

Brita Water Filters