ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services annual “Harvest Heap” compost collection program returns this fall, once again aiming to reduce the number of pumpkins that end up as landfill waste each autumn season. It is estimated that Americans toss out more than one billion pounds of pumpkin with their trash each year. 

On average, approximately 30 percent of our residents' curbside trash is made up of easily compostable food scraps and other organics. In its inaugural season, residents participating in our Harvest Heap program helped divert approximately 8,000 pounds of pumpkins from our Alpha Ridge Landfill. By taking advantage of one of the pumpkin collection options, residents can continue to do their part to divert pumpkins from the landfill and give them new life.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Beginning Tuesday, November 1st and continuing through Friday, November 11th, pumpkins may be dropped off daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Clark’s Elioak Farm, located at 10500 Clarksville Pike in Ellicott City or Mary’s Land Farm, located at 4979 Sheppard Lane in Ellicott City. In addition, pumpkins (and other food scraps) are always accepted at the County’s Alpha Ridge Landfill's Residents’ Convenience Center, open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. When at the Center, residents should look for the Hungry Green Hippo food scrap drop-off container.

Howard County residents participating in the County’s curbside Feed the Green Bin food scrap collection program can simply set their pumpkins out on their regular food scrap collection day for pickup. 

Carved, uncarved and painted pumpkins are acceptable (water-based paints are preferred), and all decorations, including candles, lights, plastic bags, etc. must be removed before collections can occur.

Additionally, for residents interested in learning more about backyard composting, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the University of Maryland Master Gardeners will be hosting two special composting demonstrations next month. Residents who attend the demonstrations may bring their pumpkins to drop off, while taking home a free backyard compost bin. 

  • Saturday, November 5th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Long Reach Village Center, 8775 Cloudleap Court in Columbia
  • Saturday, November 19th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at Howard County Library System’s Savage branch, 9525 Durness Lane in Laurel

All pumpkins collected will be composted at the Alpha Ridge Landfill’s Composting Facility. The County’s HoCoGro STA-Certified Compost is available for purchase at the Wood Waste Area.

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