ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced an exciting expansion of the innovative Feed the Green Bin program, a composting service offered to parts of Howard County, to more than 4,400 remaining homes in Laurel, Savage and Annapolis Junction at no cost to residents. This is in addition to the more than 6,300 homes added in September 2023 in neighboring communities and brings the total county households served to more than 48,000. Pictures from the event can be found here.


Howard County leads in the fight against climate change through a commitment to environmental protection and a focus on energy independence. Our Feed the Green Bin curbside food waste pickup program is a win-win for the county, our residents, and the environment. The program offers households in eligible trash service zones the ability to separate food waste from other garbage and recyclables for weekly curbside pickup – at no additional charge. Every effort to reduce our environmental footprint makes us healthier and greener as a community. With this further expansion of our collections, thousands more residents can join us in reducing waste.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

As we recognize Food Waste Prevention Week from April 1st to 7th, interested residents in the new communities should be on the lookout for a postcard in the mail with instructions and a QR Code to sign-up for collection services. Households in the newly covered areas will receive their green bins during the week of April 29th. Collections services will begin immediately.

"It’s been a source of pride for me to see this program grow from an idea to the impactful resource it is today,” said Mark DeLuca, Chief, Bureau of Environmental Services, Department of Public Works. “The enthusiasm of our community fuels the continued expansion of Green Bin service.”

Residents who participate in this program will be eligible to select one food scrap cart per household among our three size options (12-gallon, 35-gallon, and 65-gallon). Collected material will be processed at the recently expanded Howard County Composting Facility to produce quality compost for sale to residents and commercial entities. The new 34,720 sq. ft. Organic Receiving Building was brought online last Fall after a $5.6 million investment.

“The expansion of Green Bin composting services marks Howard County’s continued commitment to sustainability and investment in our County’s future,” said County Councilmember Christiana Rigby.

Acceptable items for the green bin include fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggshells, dairy, bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, coffee grounds, paper towels, and tea bags to name a few items. These items in total make up roughly 30 percent of the local solid waste stream. Diversion of this food waste from decomposition in landfills reduces methane emissions, which have 25 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. Since 2019, the County has collected over 30,000 pounds of compostable materials through its Green Bins, including food scraps and other household and yard waste.

“As a community advocate for sustainable living, local business owner, and resident I am so proud to be rooted in a county where our administration understands that the health our environment directly impacts the health of our community,” said Erica Jones, Emerson resident and Community Ecology Institute board member. “Compost is an incredible natural resource and as a regenerative farming and garden educator, I’m thankful to have access to good stuff right here in the County. Feed the Green Bin!”

The first food scrap "mini pilot" was launched in 2010, followed by an expanded pilot program in 2013 offered to a 5,000-household collection route in the Ellicott City and Elkridge area. The pilot was well-received and roughly 1,750 households signed up for green bins. Today, nearly 50 percent of eligible households choose to participate in the program and additional communities will be added as composting capacity at the landfill increases.

"One of the activities of the Savage Community Association’s PREP Grant from the Office of Community Sustainability was to involve community members in requesting the extension of the Green Bin program,” said Susan Garber, Savage Community Association board member. “Today’s wonderful announcement speaks to the responsiveness of the Administration to citizen requests for much needed and most welcomed services."

“I applaud Howard County’s efforts to complete the recycling loop by diverting food and yard waste from landfills and composting it to restore the health of our soil, said Norma Broadwater, representative for Baldwin Hall community center, Savage Mill, and the Savage Farmers Market. “We’re happy to be working with residents and the County on initiatives like Feed the Green Bin and the new Savage Farmers Market that will strengthen our community and ensure our resilience.”

Questions about trash, recycling and food scrap collections can be directed to [email protected] or by calling the Bureau of Environmental Services within the Department of Public Works at 410-313-6444.


Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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