About

The County provides curbside collection services to residences that pay a yearly trash and recycling fee on their property tax bill.

Collections occur once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary.

Recycling Trash
Yard Trim Food Scraps
Bulk Item/Scrap Metal FAQs

 

four howard county recycling bins
Recycling
Title
General Information
Content

Recycling is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary.

Howard County provides residents with one free recycling container. 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. County-provided recycling carts are for recycling only NO yard trim or trash will be collected in these carts.

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Recycling Carts
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Additional cart?

Howard County residents who receive County trash and recycling curbside collection service are eligible to purchase additional recycling containers for their homes. Residents must be paying the Howard County residential refuse fee to purchase containers. We are no longer able to sell carts and bins to residents who receive private collection. 

Prices:

18 gallon $10.00 each
35 gallon $40.00 each
65 gallon $50.00 each

Purchase an additional cart

Damaged cart?

Cracked cart or missing wheel? Want to exchange for a larger/smaller size? We're happy to assist you. Please contact the Bureau of Environmental Services or complete our online request form.

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Collections Rules
Content
  • Use a County-provided blue recycling cart, bin or paper bag (do not use plastic bags for recyclables). Other reusable containers may be used as long as they are not also used as trash cans.
  • Recycling is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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YES we collect:
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Paper-- newspaper, office paper, junk mail, milk & egg cartons

Plastic-- bottles, tubs, jugs, jars, trays & 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)

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NO we can't collect:
Content

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

*Know Before You Throw! Find out how to recycle these items.

Download our detailed list of acceptable recyclables.

Trash
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Collection Rules
Content
  • Trash is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary
  • Up to four (4) cans, bags or bundles will be collected weekly on your trash day. Each item must weigh less than 40 pounds. Bundles must be less than 4' in length and 18" in diameter.
  • Reusable containers must be made of metal or tough plastic, equipped with handles and watertight, well-fitting lids. County-provided recycling (blue) and food scrap (green) containers cannot be used.
  • If the container is larger than 40 gallons, each bag inside is counted as one item.
  • Disposable trash bags must be heavy gauge plastic that can be picked up and carried without tearing. Securely tie the top to prevent spillage.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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NO we can't collect:
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Car parts (tires, wheels, batteries, etc.)

Construction debris (concrete, drywall, lumber, carpet, 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

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

2021 Season

Curbside yard trim collection ends January 15, 2021 and will resume March 29, 2021. See if you're in our Feed The Green Bin area and receive year-round collection!

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General Information
Content

During curbside yard trim season, Howard County will collect yard trim items only on your scheduled yard trim collection day. These items will not be picked up on your trash collection day.

Curbside recycling and yard trim collection occur on the same day, however, there are separate trucks that can come anytime between 6:00am to 7:00pm.

When curbside yard trim collection is not offered, we encourage residents to take yard trim to the Alpha Ridge Landfill Wood Waste Area for recycling. As a last option, residents can place yard trim material out for collection on their trash day. Please note that yard trim set out on trash day will be taken to a landfill and will not be recycled into compost and mulch.

Do your neighbors have green bin? Certain areas receive year-round curbside food scrap and yard trim collection through our Feed The Green Bin program. 

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Collection Rules
Content
  • Use reusable open-top containers or paper bags.
  • Yard Trim is collected once a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Pickup time may vary
  • Tie brush and branches using string or twin. Bundles may not exceed 18" in diameter, 4' in length.
  • Yard trim will not be collected as trash during yard trim collection season in areas that receive curbside yard trim collections.
  • Cans, containers, paper bags and bundles must weigh less than 40 pounds.
  • Yard trim in plastic bags will not be collected.
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YES we will collect:
Content

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

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NO we can't collect:
Content

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

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Other Yard Trim Options
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Merry Mulch

Recycle your holiday tree! Your participation in the Merry Mulch program helps keep thousands of trees out of the landfill. Residents with curbside yard trim collection can place their trees out for pickup on their collection day. If curbside yard trim collection is not available, trees may be taken to any Merry Mulch drop-off in the County.

Grasscycling

Leave grass clippings on your lawn to return nutrients to the soil and improve lawn quality. Grasscycling will not cause thatch, damage your lawn or spread disease; in fact, lawn care professionals recommend grasscycling for a greener, healthier lawn! Grasscycling also helps our streams and even the Chesapeake Bay! 

Backyard Composting

Mix leaves, grass clippings and vegetable refuse together and watch the natural decomposition process turn waste into black gold. Contact us about a free composting instruction kit (compost bins available while supplies last). Compost demonstrations are offered April - October.  

Rake & Take Program

Rakers (residents who rake and bag their leaves/grass) are matched with Takers (people who want leaves/grass for compost piles). Leaves provide a carbon amendment to compost piles and if left on your gardens, will break down to give you a rich, healthy soil. 

Drop-off at the Alpha Ridge Landfill

You can recycle grass, leaves and brush at the Alpha Ridge Wood Waste Drop-off Area, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Proof of Howard County residency required. Plastic bags are not accepted at the Wood Waste Drop-off Area.

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

Bulk Item/Scrap Metal
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General Information
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Pickup or bulk trash and scrap metal must be scheduled by calling the Bureau of Environmental Services. 

Residents in private areas that do not receive County collection are not eligible for bulk pickup. Please note that all Howard County residents can take bulk material to the Alpha Ridge Landfill for recycling or disposal. 

Bulk trash is not recycled.

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Collection Rules
Content
  • Placed items at the curb within 5 feet of County roadway by 6am alongside trash containers
  • Do not block mailboxes, fire hydrants or cars
  • Maximum of 4 bulk trash items per pickup
  • Items too large to be lifted by two workers will be tagged and left for resident's disposal
  • 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.
Title
YES we collect:
Content

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

Pickup of bulk scrap metal items must be scheduled. Please contact the Bureau of Environmental Services to schedule.

After scheduling, you will be given your collection day. 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)

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NO we can't collect:
Content
Aquarium tanks     Drum containers     Pallets*    
Carpet/rugs Fuel & oil tanks Picnic tables (wooden)    
Chairs with electric plugs Medical Waste Playhouses/swing sets (wooden)    
Compressed gas tanks* Mirrors/plate glass     Stumps and logs*
Computer monitors** Moon bounces Tires*
Construction & demolition debris     Motorized toys* 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
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When is my collection day?
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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.

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Where do I place items for collection?
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  • 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.
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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   

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.

Please remember, all items to be collected must be out by 6 a.m. on the day of collection.

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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?

COVID-19 Update: While offices remain closed to the public, we are unable to accept certificates or distribute indoor recycling containers at this time. 

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 game still
Tags
Trash & Recycling

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