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. By taking advantage of one of our Harvest Heap pumpkin collection options, residents can help divert pumpkins from our Alpha Ridge Landfill and give them new life. In fact, in the program’s inaugural season, residents helped divert nearly 8,000 pounds of pumpkins from the landfill.
Beginning Wednesday, November 1st and continuing through Friday, November 17th, pumpkins can be dropped off daily at Clark’s Elioak Farm, located at 10500 Clarksville Pike in Ellicott City, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 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 green ‘Hungry 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.
Additionally, new this year, the Bureau of Environmental Services has teamed up with the County’s Department of Recreation & Parks, Howard County Library System (HCLS) and the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners to hold the first-ever Pumpkin Palooza celebration. Set to take place on Saturday, November 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at HCLS’ Miller branch, located at 9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City, this event will feature games, composting demonstrations, food trucks and more. Attendees can also drop off their pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns at the event for composting.
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.
All pumpkins collected through Harvest Heap 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.