ELLICOTT CITY, MD - Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced a major expansion of the county’s food scrap curbside collection program coming this spring that, when implemented will mean that 53 percent of households will be able to help the environment by diverting food waste from landfills and turning it into compost.
Under the expansion, 5,635 households in Wilde Lake and Centennial Lane areas will have access to green bins that allow for food scrap collection, bringing the total households served to more than 34,000. Photos of the event can be found here.
Even if you don’t produce a lot of food waste – every little bit counts. Last year 900 tons of food scraps were diverted from the landfill through our program and turned into nutrient-rich compost. Howard County is leading the way in Maryland to create a clean and sustainable environment, and this is an easy and sustainable way for everyone to do their part.
Households in the expansion area will receive information in the mail about the Feed the Green Bin program in the coming weeks, or can sign-up online at www.FeedtheGreenBin.org through March 18th. New participants of the Feed the Green Bin program will choose from three sizes for their green bin (12, 35, or 65 gallon) which will be delivered to their homes in early April. In addition to food scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, participating residents can also include expired foods, pizza boxes, small amounts of meat and dairy as well as yard trim. A complete list of acceptable items can be found online here.
Howard County’s curbside food scrap collection program was the first and the largest of its kind in Maryland. Since the program’s start in 2013, more than 34,000 households have food scrap collections available with curbside collections service. Additionally, seven Howard County Public Schools have joined curbside collections for food scraps. The collected material is transported to the Alpha Ridge Landfill’s state-of-the-art Composting Facility where it is turned into compost, a valuable soil amendment.
The County’s HoCoGro Compost was recently awarded the US Composting Council’s “Seal of Testing Assurance” (STA), signifying the product’s adherence to all federal, state, and local regulations. Howard County is currently the only jurisdiction in Maryland with this designation. In May 2021, HoCoGro compost production and sales hit record highs, with more than 3,100 cubic yards purchased.
“My advice to our new households is to start small, but to start,” said Mark DeLuca, Chief of the Bureau of Environmental Services for the Department of Public Works. “Everyday when you change your coffee filter, or throw your eggshells away, you can put them in your green bin. Start with our smallest green bin, and you might surprise yourself with how quickly you fill it up.”
“Residents of the vibrant village of Wilde Lake have been anxiously anticipating the expansion of the popular Green Bin curbside food scraps collection program,” said Kevin McAliley, Chair of the Wilde Lake Village Board of Directors. “The green bins will allow our residents to remain at the front of progress by recycling more waste than ever before. Thank you, Dr. Ball, the Dept. of Public Works and the Office of Community Sustainability for making this concentrated effort to expand composting to all parts of vibrant Wilde Lake Village.”