Marriottsville Road Closure

Beginning Monday, June 17, Marriottsville Road from Resort Road to US 40 will be closed to all traffic which may impact traffic to the Alpha Ridge Landfill. Please see the detour map for more detail. 

Read the press release here.

 

About

The Recycling Division works closely with the Curbside Collections Division and Alpha Ridge Landfill to provide efficient curbside recycling service and specialty recycling and reuse programs. The division provides outreach material, tours, presentations and recycling program assistance to residents, schools and local businesses.

recycling landing page feature image
 

Know Before You Throw

Learn how to sort your waste. Before tossing something, check our list to see if it can be reused, recycled or donated.

Recycling Facts and FAQs

Title

What is Howard County's waste diversion rate?

Content

In 2022, Howard County's waste diversion rate was 49.65%. The waste diversion goal is comprised of the recycling rate plus source reduction credits (maximum 5%) that Maryland Counties and Baltimore City earn through activities designed to reduce the amount of waste going to the waste stream.

Title

How much is recycled in Howard County?

Content

In 2023, a total of 207,302 tons of recyclables were recycled by businesses and residents. Of that, 22,827 tons of recyclables were collected curbside and 21,248 tons through drop-off programs at Alpha Ridge Landfill. 399 tons of food scraps were composted through our Feed the Green Bin Food Scrap Collection Program.

Title

What’s in my blue recycling cart?

Content

Paper and Cardboard – 58%
Glass Bottles – 16%
Aluminum Cans – 1.8%
Water & Soda Bottles – 4.9%
Metal Cans – 1.3%
Milk Containers - 1%
Liquid Detergent Containers – 1.6%
Other Plastic Containers (#3-7) – 3%
Rigid Plastics - 1.2%
Trash – 10.5%

    Percentages based on average weights from recent audits. Trash includes items that are not recyclable, as well as items that do not belong in the blue cart but can be recycled in our other programs (textiles, yard trim, scrap metal, etc.). These items placed in the blue recycling carts are sorted out as trash and will not be recycled. Help us achieve a cleaner stream with our resources below!

    Title

    What's going on at the Alpha Ridge Landfill?

    Content

    In 2023, we gave away about 600 compost bins!

    We collected:

    • an average of 50 flags per month for retirement.
    • 1,000 bikes were donated (over 8,000 since the program began in 2016)
    • 1,881 mattresses and/or box springs
    • 40.32 tons of car batteries
    • 257.49 tons of tires
    • 175.08 tons of single stream
    • 219.36 tons of rigid plastics
    • 343.86 tons of cardboard
    • 15.31 tons of cooking oil
    Title

    How do I find out my curbside collection days?

    Content

    We have an online tool to check your collection days. For specific questions about curbside collections (trash, recycling, yard trim) please visit our Curbside Collections page. 

    Title

    Can I swap for a smaller or larger recycling cart or bin?

    Content

    Yes. Contact us to exchange your container for a different size. Please leave your bin/cart out and available until the exchange is made. If you live in a townhome community, please leave your bin/cart by your house for exchange and not in a grouping area. Residents do not need to be home for the swap.

    Title

    When does the County offer shredding events?

    Content

    There are typically two County-sponsored document shredding events each year; one in the Spring (April) and one in the Fall (October). Visit our Document Shredding page for upcoming dates.

    Title

    What should I do with...?

    Content

    We all have questions about what to do with certain items. 

    Learn how to properly recycle, reuse, donate or dispose of various items on our Know Before You Throw page. Questions about what's acceptable curbside? Visit our Curbside Collections page for all guidelines.

    Title

    What should I do with plastic bags?

    Content

    Please take your bags/film is to a participating grocery or retail store. Most local grocery stores, and retail stores, such as IKEA, Wal-Mart and Target, have collection containers for plastic bags and film. This option ensures that the items stay clean and dry and can be recycled. 

    Why shouldn't I put bags in my curbside bin?

    Loose bags, and even bundled bags, get wrapped around recycling equipment and jam the screens at the processor. Plastic bags do A LOT of damage to the curbside recycling processor equipment. TIP: Reduce the amount of plastic bags you have by using reusable bags.

    Do the grocery and retail stores actually recycle the plastic bags?

    Yes! Many collection locations are contracted with companies that specialize in recycling plastic bags and film to make plastic 'wood' decking. Their processing equipment is specifically designed for plastic bags and film, which helps to ensure that the bags stay clean and dry.

    What items are included in plastic bags and film?

    • Grocery/retail bags
    • Mattress/furniture covers
    • Newspaper bags
    • Bread bags
    • Dry cleaning bags
    • Plastic wrap from toilet paper rolls, napkins, paper towels, bottles of water, etc.
    • Produce bags
    • Frozen vegetable bags
    • Food storage bags (please be sure these are empty and lightly rinsed if needed)
    • Bubble wrap
    • Air filled bags for packaging
    • Any other clean, dry bags/film

    Not sure if your bag or film can be recycled in your bag-of-bags? Do the stretch test! If you can stretch the plastic film/bag pretty easily, it can be recycled at your local store. If the plastic is crinkly or does not easily stretch, it should go in the trash. The plastic wrap from DVD cases is a good example of crinkly, non-stretchable plastic that should be trashed.

    Title

    Help! Something of value ended up in my trash/recycling. How can I get it back?

    Content

    Unfortunately, once items are in the back of the trash, recycling or yard trim truck, it's very difficult to retrieve them. Please take extra precautions to guarantee that items of value do not accidentally get placed with your trash or recycling.

    Title

    I set something at my curb that wasn't meant for trash or recycling. Why did the trash or recycling truck pick it up?

    Content

    The trucks for residential trash and recycling will clear the curb of material. If something is at the curb or grouping area, they assume it is to be picked up for trash or recycling. If you need to set out items for charity or other pickups, please make arrangements for a pickup spot other than your normal trash/recycling pickup area. This will ensure items end up where they were intended.

     

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