ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the expansion of the Feed the Green Bin program, the County’s free composting service to eligible residents. Howard County has provided free food scrap pick-up to residents for ten years. Photos from the event can be found here.

Our Feed the Green Bin curbside food waste pickup program is a valuable tool in the County’s efforts to fight climate change. Since its launch in 2013, the program has diverted over 3,000 tons of food scraps from households. In 2022 alone, we recaptured over 400 tons of organic waste. We understand that small actions to reduce our environmental footprint make a big difference. This program empowers Howard County residents to be part of our collective fight for our environment and energy independence.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The expansion includes 6,330 homes in the following areas: King’s Contrivance, Cherry Tree Park, Emerson, Hammond Village, Hunters Creek Farm, Jamestown Landing, North Laurel, Reservoir Overlook, Twin Oaks, Warfields Range, Wellington Farm and Wincopia Farms. With this expansion, 59% of all households in the county will now have access to the free Feed the Green Bin program. 
“Residents all over Kings Contrivance worked together to gather community support for the Green Bin,” said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Rigby. “Some neighbors made fliers and door hangers while others held house parties to demystify composting. I am so excited that our composting services will be expanded as a result of this community-led effort.” 

Organic waste makes up roughly 30% of the local solid waste stream. Diversion of food waste from decomposition in landfills reduces methane emissions, which have 25 times the global warming impactful of carbon dioxide.  

“As humans, we are an integral part of ecosystems. With Green Bin expansion, organic composting allows each of us to positively impact the known and unknown consequences of temperature rise,” said Pearl Seidman, King’s Contrivance resident and environmental advocate. “It is clear County Executive Ball and the Department of Public Works’ priorities to fight climate change are aligned with our community. They heard our requests for Green Bin service and made it a reality.” 
Since its launch in 2013, the program has diverted more than 3,000 tons of food scraps from households. Today, the Feed the Green Bin program includes 37,652 eligible households. Of that number, about 18,000 households, or 48% participate in the program. 
Food scraps are collected by the Department of Public Works from green bins and brought to Alpha Ridge landfill for processing. The waste is blended into organic matter to create compost that is then offered to public and private customers for application on their property.  

Composting is an important strategy in our collective fight against climate change. This expansion of curbside food waste collection creates the opportunity for more County residents to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the completion of our new organics receiving building will support the continued growth of our composting capacity.

Mark DeLuca
Chief, Department of Public Works Bureau of Environmental Services

To further accommodate the expanded routes and ensure regulatory compliance of the growing program, the Department of Public Works recently completed construction of a new Organics Receiving Building at Alpha Ridge Landfill. County Executive Ball and partners cut the ribbon on the 34,720 sq ft building today, which represents a $5.6 million County investment.  
Residents in the newly covered areas will receive their green bins during the week of November 13. Collections services will begin immediately. Interested residents will receive two postcards with instruction on how to sign-up.  
What others are saying

“I’m proud that the county is leading our efforts to not only reduce waste, but also fight climate change by expanding this program. By transforming food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil, we’re reducing Green House Gas emissions from the same food by more than 50%,” said Maryland State Senator Katie Fry Hester. “Beginning in 2024, state law requires that anyone who generates more than 1 ton of food residuals per week must divert that food from the landfills. The Alpha Ridge facility is a key component of helping the state achieve these bold goals.” 

"I’m really pleased to see Howard County build on the success of its existing composting program by expanding the areas of the county served by the popular green bins,” said Maryland State Senator Clarence Lam. “This new facility at Alpha Ridge is integral to increasing the county’s capacity to offer more green bins to additional residents and neighborhoods, and it exemplifies Howard County’s ongoing commitment to reduce waste and gases that harm our environment and contribute to climate change."

“I’m thrilled that the Feed the Green Program is expanding into so many neighborhoods in the Southeast corner of the County,” said Delegate Pam Lanham Guzzone. “I’ve been participating in the program for several years and it’s an easy way to help improve our environment!”

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