Organizations that hold events that serve food and drink may have to comply with the October 2015 State and County law requiring recycling services to be provided.

Please review the following information to make sure your next event is in compliance.

Md. Code, Envir. § 9-1712


event recycling feature



What events does this apply to?


Specifically this law will apply to any event that:

  • (i) Includes temporary or periodic use of a public street, publicly owned site or facility, or public park;
  • (ii) Serves food or drink; and
  • (iii) Is expected to have 200 or more persons in attendance

If the event requires a Howard County Police Permit for use of a public road and meets the three guidelines from above, the applicant will be made aware of the requirement at the time of permit issuance. County staff will contact the event organizer in writing and specify the following duties and responsibilities of the parties under the current law:

If the event does not require a Police Permit but still makes use of a public facility, serves food and drink and expects over 200 guests, the law still applies. Event organizers must comply with the law even if they have not received a notice from the County. Please notify Environmental Services of your event as soon as a date had been selected.


What should event organizers do?


Organizers of all regulated events must:

  • (i) Provide a recycling receptacle immediately adjacent to each trash receptacle at the special event;
  • (ii) Ensure that all recycling receptacles are clearly distinguished from trash receptacles by color or signage; and
  • (iii) Ensure that all recyclable materials, such as glass, paper, cardboard, metal and plastic containers, deposited into recycling receptacles at the special event are collected and recycled.

An Event Contact Form should be submitted at least 30 days before a regulated event.

Recycling can be provided through hiring a local hauler or by self-hauling recyclables to the Residents' Convenience Center at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Event coordinators can bring unlimited recycling as long as the person bringing the material to the landfill is a County resident. Please remember that recyclables must be taken to a recycling facility. See below for information regarding reporting recycling efforts.


What about food scrap collection?


Food scraps should be recycled to the extent feasible based on the availability of food scrap recycling services. Event coordinators can also bring food scraps to the Alpha Ridge Landfill for composting! Look for the green cart in the Residents' Convenience Center. 


How do I report my event's recycling?


At the County’s discretion and within 30 days after the event, the organizer must report the amount of trash and recyclables collected at the event; and state ways to improve the amount recycled at future events. Amounts can be reported in weight or volume.

The County may inspect the recycling efforts at each event. Events that do not follow the requirements listed above are in violation of County and State law and may be subject to civil penalty of $300.00 for each day on which the violation exists.

Fill out an Event Contact Form before any regulated event.

If your event had 1,000 attendees or more, an Event Recycling Report must be completed and returned to Howard County within 30 days of the event.


Who should I contact for questions?


Please contact Kim Reichart with any questions.

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