ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Government Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services is once again offering residents a variety of FREE holiday tree recycling options through its “Merry Mulch” program. Since 1993, the Merry Mulch program has kept thousands of trees out of the landfill, helping to save money and the environment. All collected live trees are delivered to the Composting Facility at Alpha Ridge Landfill and recycled into compost and mulch.

“I encourage residents to use this opportunity to keep trees out of the landfill this holiday season. By spring, these trees will be re-purposed and ready to use as compost and mulch,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “By simply making a plan to recycle trees this year, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable environment in Howard County for all.”

Beginning Tuesday, December 26th and continuing through Saturday, January 20th, holiday trees may be recycled seven days a week during regular business hours at the drop-off sites listed below. One exception to the above days and times is the Alpha Ridge Landfill, which is open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Look for Merry Mulch signs at the following drop-off sites:


  • Kendall Hardware, 12260 Clarksville Pike


  • Cedar Lane Park, 5081 Cedar Lane


  • Rockburn Branch Park (East), 5400 Landing Road 

Ellicott City:        

  • Old Circuit Court parking lot on upper Court House Drive (just past Ellicott Mills Drive, on the right)
  • Clarks Ace Hardware, 10325 Baltimore National Pike


  • Schooley Mill Park, 12975 Hall Shop Road


  • Alpha Ridge Landfill Wood Waste Area, 2350 Marriottsville Road (open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)   


  • Savage Park, 8400 Fair Street


  • Western Regional Park, 14800 Carrs Mill Road 

Howard County residents with curbside yard trim collection may set their holiday trees out on their yard trim day for collection through Friday, January 19th. Trees will not be picked up on trash collection days during this time for residents with yard trim collection. All decorations, including tinsel, garland, ornaments, lights, tree stands, plastic bags, etc., must be removed. Trees must also be cut into less than four-foot lengths and tied; they should not be bagged. Each bundle must also weigh less than 40 pounds. Residents are reminded to set their tree out the night before their collection day. Trees will be picked up on your collection day, between 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. by the yard trim truck. 

Residents are reminded that artificial trees cannot be placed in the blue carts for curbside recycling. Artificial holiday trees and wreaths with metal components can be recycled year-round in the scrap metal area at the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents’ Convenience Center.

After January 20th, when the sites listed above are no longer accepting holiday trees and curbside yard trim collection is no longer offered, residents may continue to bring their holiday trees to the Alpha Ridge Landfill Wood Waste Area, open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No plastic bagged trees will be accepted. 

Additionally, after January 19th, curbside yard trim collection ends and trees will be collected as trash when put out on trash day. However, residents in the County’s “Feed the Green Bin” Food Scrap Collection area are reminded that they may continue to set out yard trim and food scrap year-round.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications
Gina Van De Walle, Recycling Coordinator

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