Important Message Regarding County Curbside Collection of Yard Trim

yard waste

Effective Monday, September 14, 2015, Howard County’s Department of Public Works will no longer be able to collect yard trim in plastic bags in your neighborhood. As many as you may know plastic bags foul machinery, while small plastic fragments become air- and water-borne litter and they reduce the quality of mulch and compost products. Because of these and other market place factors, our contracted processors will no longer accept yard trim material in regular plastic bags.

Residents should use paper bags or reusable containers for their yard trim, and brush may be bundled with string or twine. The transition to plastic bag free collection will be effective in your neighborhood on Monday, September 14, 2015. Yard trim, brush, branches etc. set out for collection at the curb in plastic bags will not be collected on or after that date. As always, the green recycling containers may be used for yard trim.

In an effort to make this transition easier, the county will provide you with 10 paper yard trim bags, which should arrive on your doorstep around September 1. Paper bags decompose naturally along with the yard trim, do not require debagging or screening at the processing facility and hold the same amount as plastic bags. Should you wish to keep using paper yard trim bags, many local retail stores sell similar bags.

Residents are also encouraged to practice grasscycling and composting. After you mow, simply leave grass clippings on your lawn to return nutrients to the soil and improve lawn quality. Backyard composting of leaves, grass clipping and vegetable/fruit scraps will provide you with a wonderful soil amendment that you can use throughout your yard and gardens. Compost bins are available to residents and can be picked up at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514 in Columbia or the Alpha Ridge Landfill at 2350 Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville. More information about both composting and grasscycling can be found on our website, including information about the demonstrations provided by the County Master Gardeners.

If you have any questions, comments and/or for more information regarding this change, please visit or contact the Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6444.

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