Important Collection Information

The County provides curbside collection services to residences that pay a yearly trash and recycling fee ($325 per year) on their property tax bill. Fees for Main Street, Ellicott City may vary.

After your items are collected, we recommend removing empty collection containers from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day to mitigate safety and aesthetic concerns.

Residents putting out items for donation (Purple Heart, Freecycle, etc.) should be sure to clearly mark those items and keep them close to the house to avoid accidental collection.

 

Curbside Collections
Title
Recycling
Content

Recycling Containers

Howard County provides residents with one free recycling container for recycling collection ONLY. No yard trim or trash will be collected in these carts.

Containers are assigned to each address and must remain at the house, even if the resident moves. Residents may put their street name and number on the container which will help it stay where it belongs. 

Contact us below for container repairs, replacements or purchases.

Rules & Restrictions

  • No plastic bags. Recycling must be set out in a County-provided recycling container, paper bag or cardboard box.
  • No yard trim or trash. Only recycling items will be collected in these carts.

Please note: Howard County does NOT rely on the plastics numbering system to determine whether an item is recyclable in our curbside program. If you are unsure of an item, please refer to our detailed of acceptable material in our curbside program. If you do not see a particular material listed, please email us a description and/or photo of the item and we will answer any questions that you have.

Yes, we accept:

  • Paper-- newspaper, office paper, junk mail, milk & egg cartons
  • Plastic-- bottles, tubs, jugs, jars, trays, #5 plastics & large plastic items (playhouses, laundry baskets, etc.)
  • Metal cans-- aluminum, steel cans and EMPTY aerosol cans
  • Glass-- any color bottles or jars
  • Cardboard-- clean and flattened (remove plastic liners, waxed paper and Styrofoam packaging material)

No, we can't accept:

  • Acrylic plastic
  • Disposable "single-use" cups, plates, bowls, utensils (paper or plastic) See our dining & carryout guide on the right
  • Food stained cardboard or paper
  • Napkins, paper towels, tissues, thermal paper receipts
  • Plastic bags or plastic-bagged material*
  • Plastic clamshell containers and packaging
  • Plastic film, wrap, bubble wrap, or air bags*
  • Styrofoam*
  • "Tanglers"-- hangers, wires, hoses, cords
  • Textiles or clothing*
  • Window glass, ceramics, mirrors

*Visit our Know Before You Throw page to recycle these items.

Title
Trash
Content

Trash Containers

Residents must purchase cans as the County does not provide trash containers. Reusable containers must be made of metal or tough plastic, equipped with handles and watertight, well-fitting lids.

Rules & Restrictions

  1. County-provided recycling (blue) and food scrap (green) containers cannot be used.
  2. Up to four (4) cans, bags or bundles will be collected weekly on your trash day.
  3. Each item must weigh less than 40 pounds. Bundles must be less than 4' in length and 18" in diameter.
  4. If the container is larger than 40 gallons, each bag inside is counted as one item.
  5. Disposable trash bags must be heavy gauge plastic that can be picked up and carried without tearing. Securely tie the top to prevent spillage.
  6. The clean-up of trash or recycling, especially in grouping areas, that is spilled and/or spread by animals or wind is the responsibility of the residents.

No, We CAN'T Accept:

  • Car parts (tires, wheels, batteries, etc.)
  • Construction debris (concrete, drywall, lumber, carpet/rug, fencing, cabinets, appliances, etc.)
  • Sinks and toilets
  • Containers larger than 40-gallon containing loose trash will not be serviced
  • Electronics including laptops, computer monitors, TVs, motorized toys, chairs with electric plugs, etc.
  • Hazardous, toxic or flammable materials: asbestos, ammunition, explosives, compressed gas tanks, dead animals, firearms, medical waste, etc.
  • Landscape debris (dirt, rocks, stumps, sod, etc.)
  • Liquids (paint, cooking oil, chemicals, motor oil, etc.) Other liquids are prohibited.
  • Mirrors/plate glass
  • Paint cans (unless completely empty or dried with the lid off)
  • Rechargeable batteries
Title
Yard Trim
Content

Curbside yard trim collection is provided to most homes in Howard County and runs from April through mid-January. 

2022 Season: Curbside yard trim collection will resume March 28, 2022. See if you're in our Feed The Green Bin area and receive year-round collection!

Yard Trim Containers

Use reusable open-top containers (no County-issued recycling carts or bins) or paper bags. Reusable containers should be lid-less at set-out. No plastic bags.

Rules & Restrictions

  1. Yard trim will not be collected as trash during yard trim collection season in areas that receive curbside yard trim collections.
  2. Tie brush and branches using string or twin. Bundles may not exceed 18" in diameter, 4' in length.
  3. Cans, containers, paper bags and bundles must weigh less than 40 pounds.
  4. Yard trim in plastic bags will not be collected.

Yes, we accept:

  • Bamboo
  • Brush/weeds (except Japanese Stiltgrass)
  • Grass
  • Hedge clippings/light brush
  • Leaves
  • Seed pods (pine cones, sour gum balls, etc.)
  • Small limbs or branches less than 4" in diameter and 4' in length

No, we can't accept:

  • Japanese Stiltgrass (new!)
  • Bushes with root bases attached
  • Logs over 4" in diameter or 4' in length
  • Stumps
  • Dirt/soil/mulch
  • Yard trim mixed with trash or other materials
  • Yard trim placed in plastic bags, recycling carts or wheelbarrows

Other Yard Trim Options

Title
Food Scraps
Content

Food scrap collection is available to certain areas of the county through our Feed the Green Bin program.

Title
Bulk Item/Scrap Metal
Content

Residents who receive County collections are eligible for bulk trash and scrap metal pickups. Bulk trash items can be set out on regular trash collection days. Scrap metal pickups must be scheduled.

Please note that all Howard County residents can take bulk trash and scrap metal to Alpha Ridge Landfill for recycling or disposal.

Bulk trash is not recycled.

Rules & Restrictions

  1. Items must be placed at the curb within 5 feet of County roadway by 6am alongside trash containers.
  2. Do not block mailboxes, fire hydrants or cars.
  3. Maximum of 4 bulk trash items per pickup.
  4. Items too large to be lifted by two workers will be tagged and left for resident's disposal

Plastic Items

Bulk plastic items such as playhouses & play sets (disassembled), totes, sheds (disassembled), lawn furniture and coolers can be recycled at the curb on your regular recycling day. Unlimited amounts of recycling will be accepted. See our Rigid Plastics poster for more information.

Trash Items

Remember: Bulk trash items collected by the County will be sent to a landfill. Please consider donating before disposal. One person's trash is another's treasure!

Metal Items

No items with batteries are accepted. Batteries must be removed from any lawnmowers, scooters, or other battery-operated devices.

Pickup of bulk scrap metal items must be scheduled. Please contact the Bureau of Environmental Services to schedule. Bulk metal items include metal swing sets, file cabinets, appliances, lawn mowers, exercise equipment, etc. Please remove doors from refrigerators, and drain oil and gas from lawn mowers. Restrictions may apply.

NOTE: It is illegal for anyone except Howard County's contractors to pick-up scrap metal at the curb (Howard County Code 18.610)

No, we can't accept:

  • Aquarium tanks
  • Batteries               
  • Drum containers              
  • Carpet/rugs      
  • Chairs with electric plugs            
  • Compressed gas tanks*              
  • Computer monitors**  
  • Construction & demolition debris  
  • Fuel & oil tanks Picnic tables (wooden) 
  • Medical Waste 
  • Mirrors/plate glass   
  • Moon bounces 
  • Motorized toys*
  • Pallets*   
  • Playhouses/swing sets (wooden)
  • Stumps and logs*           
  • Tires*  
  • TVs**

*These items can be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill.

**Electronics can be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill or through customer take-back programs. 

FAQs
Title
When is my collection day?
Content

Recycling, yard trim and trash is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary. Items must be placed out after 6 p.m. the day before collection or before 6 a.m. the day of collection.

Title
Where do I place items for collection?
Content
  • Single-family homeowners must set items to be collected within five (5) feet of the nearest public road fronting their home.
  • Place cans, bags, carts, etc. away from mailboxes on the opposite side of the driveway, if possible.
  • Residents of townhome communities without garages are required to "group" items in designated areas accessible to the collectors such as the curb end of grass islands or at the end of parking areas. Do not block mailboxes or fire hydrants.
  • After your items are collected, we recommend removing empty trash cans and recycling carts or bins from your curb (or grouping area) on your scheduled collection day to mitigate safety and aesthetic concerns.
Title
Which holidays affect my curbside collections?
Content

No curbside collections on the following 6 holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • Labor Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day

Please remember, all items to be collected must be out by 6 a.m. on the day of collection. Trash, recycling and yard trim collections scheduled on or after these 6 holidays ONLY will 'slide' and be made one day later that week. No other holidays will be affected.

Title
How should I place materials out for donation?
Content

Residents putting out items for donation (Purple Heart, Freecycle, etc.) should be sure to clearly mark those items and keep them close to the house to avoid accidental trash collection.

Play our Game

Is that recyclable? Trash? Household Hazardous Waste?

Milk cartons? Plastic bags? Cooking oil?

Do you Know Before You Throw? Test your skills! Click and move the items to the correct place in our updated sorting game to see what actually goes in your recycling bin. 

know before you throw sorting game

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