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What Should I Do With...?

Check out our Local Donation Directory. 




    Antifreeze should not be poured down the drain. Antifreeze (not mixed with oil or other substances) can be recycled at the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center Monday-Saturday 8am to 4pm. Please leave container for attendant to empty.


    Working appliances should be reused/donated. Check out BGE to earn cash, list them on Craigslist or FreeCycle, schedule a pick-up from The Loading Dock, or simply put them at the curb with a FREE sign. For non-working appliances, schedule a scrap metal collection (call 410-313-6444) or take appliances to the scrap metal area at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Refrigerators (doors removed), air conditioners and dehumidifiers must be placed next to the scrap metal drop-off so the Freon can be removed.

Baby/Kid's Items Baby Stroller 

    Donate useable items, such a strollers and high chairs to a local charity or second-hand store, or visit BabyEarth.com for a mail-in program. Buy and sell kid's items using ThredUP, Swapbabygoods.com or toystotrade.com. Remove the padding from a car seat and recycle the plastic at your curb or at Alpha Ridge Landfill.


    Alkaline batteries after 1995 are OK to be disposed of in your regular trash. For other batteries, including rechargeable and button, see our Batteries webpage. 


    Donate bicycles to Goodwill or the Salvation Army for reuse. Consider Bikes for the World to donate to less developed countries. If your bike isn't in good condition, contact your local bike store to see if they can use the parts or as a last resort, recycle it with scrap metal at Alpha Ridge Landfill.


    Three-ring PVC binders can be recycled in your normal curbside recycling or at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Binders that include fabric and zippers should be donated to goodwill or trashed if they are ripped and non-functional.

Books Books 


    Check out BraRecycling.com, a textile company that recycles and reuses used and unused bras. Bras can also be donated to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Purple Heart, Planet Aid, etc.

 Brita Water FiltersWater filter 

    Look for "Gimme 5" recycling drop-off locations or mail them in. For details, visit preserveproducts.com. 

Building Supplies (Reusable)  


    Millhouse candles accepts unpainted wax (soywax, beeswax, paraffin, tapers, tea light, jars, pillars, scented or unscented - ALL COLORS). Mail donations to Millhouse Candles, P.O. Box 148, Keedysville, MD 21756-0148 or take them to a participating event (check events on their website). Visit www.millhousecandles.com.



    When shopping around, ask the contractors if they recycle the used carpet. Visit the Carpet America Recovery Effort or recycle carpet at Alpha Ridge Landfill (tipping fee will apply).


    Stop unwanted catalogs. Visit CatalogChoice.org to reduce junk mail. Remember: Reducing waste is better than recycling!

CDs & DVDs and Cases 

    Usable CDs or DVDs should be donated to your local library, Goodwill or The Salvation Army. For kid's DVDs, contact your local pediatric hospital. Send CDs to Murfie that stores the discs, recycles the jewel cases and creates digital versions of your music for you to download. Recycle non-usable CDs & DVDs and cases for FREE at Best Buy stores. Visit Greendisk.com or cdrecyclingforfree.com for mail-in recycling programs.

Cell Phones 

CFL Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes 

    Please put incandescent bulbs in your household trash and refer to the CFL recycling page for proper disposal of other bulbs and tubes.


    Check out 50 uses for disposable chopsticks.

Christmas and Holiday Lights Holiday lights 

    Working lights can be donated to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Broken/dead strands can be taken to Alpha Ridge Landfill and recycled with electronics (DO NOT put in your curbside recycling). Or, send them to HolidayLEDs.com or Christmas Light Source and receive a coupon for new lights.

(Artificial) Christmas TreesArtificial Christmas Tree 

(Live) Christmas Trees 

    Drop-off undecorated trees at Alpha Ridge Landfill (2350 Marriottsville Rd), Monday-Saturday, 8am to 4pm.

Clamshells (plastic) 

    At this time, Waste Management is unable to recycle plastic clamshells due to the way they are manufactured. While we wait for technology and markets, avoid purchasing items in clamshells and consider these reuse ideas to keep those clamshells out of the trash.


    Caring Cleats collects used soccer cleats and redistributes them to the Tarahumara Indian community in Chihuahua, Mexico. Email Kennedy Citro at kennedycitro@verizon.net, or call 443-433-2386.


    Donate clothing to local charities or shelters, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. Or, bring gently used clothing to Go Green for the Cause at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Print a tax receipt on their website. Have items that aren't wearable? Donate them! Many donation organization partner with rag manufacturers.

    Dress Clothes

    Check out Success in Style in Savage Mill to donate new or gently worn business clothing and accessories. Dress for Success accepts women's interview attire via mail-in or drop-off. To donate men's interview attire, visit Career Gear in Baltimore or contact Million Dollar Man at 410-465-0295 or mdm2429@gmail.com 

Compressed Gas Tanks 

    Propane, helium & oxygen tanks and fire extinguishers are accepted at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Also consider returning tanks to the seller.

Construction, Renovation & Demolition Items 

Cooking Oil 

    The Alpha Ridge Landfill accepts vegetable-based cooking oil for recycling. 



    Make new crayons by microwaving old crayon stubs in a paper cup for 15-second intervals. The melted crayon blob will harden into a new crazy and colorful crayon! Or visit CrazyCrayons.com to learn about a mail-in program for old crayons. Also see "Markers" below.


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    Recycle or donate electronic items. For general information click here. Some manufacturers will supply prepaid boxes and a coupon for your next purchase.

Energy Bar Wrappers, Chip Bags, Juice Pouches  

    Crinkly wrappers from chips and snack bars are not recyclable in Howard County. However, Terracycle collects wrappers to make handbags, pencil cases and more. Contact your local school to see if they have a collection program. Terracycle pays $.02 for every wrapper collected. Visit Terracycle.net.

Exercise Videos  

Eye GlassesEye Glasses 

    Donate old glasses so they can be worn rather than take up drawer space. Check your local eye doctor or the Columbia Lions Club webpage for locations.

Fleece Products 

    Patagonia's Common Threads Garment Recycling Program collects worn out products. Garments can be mailed to the Patagonia service center or dropped off at a retail location. For collection details, visit Patagonia.com.

Flip Flops 

Food Scraps 

    Compost items such as banana peels, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells to make a nutrient-rich soil. For details about a free compost bin, visit our Composting webpage.

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Game Consoles 

    Trade-in old video games and consoles to get credit for new items. Visit local game stores or EZtradein.com. 

Garden Equipment 

    Garden Harvest in Northern Baltimore needs farm and garden tools, not only for growing & delivering organic fruits & vegetables, but also for the poor in Appalachia.

Gift Cards 

Glass Bottles & Jars 

Golf Clubs 


    Grills can be recycled with scrap metal. Call 410-313-6444 to schedule a curbside scrap metal collection or recycle your grill at Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center (just show your driver's license). You can also recycle your propane tank at Alpha Ridge in the compressed gas tank area. Please do not put gas tanks in the scrap metal area.

Hairdryers and flat irons 

    Send your old hairdryer or flat iron to Folica and get a $40 off coupon for a new hairdryer or flat iron. For details, visit www.folica.com/features/recycle


    Plastic Hangers Plastic Hangar
    Contact your local donation center to see if they need hangers. Reuse is the best option, but tubular, colored hangers can be placed in your curbside recycling container or taken to the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents' Convenience Area. Please note that clear, acrylic plastic hangers are not recyclable.

    Wire Hangers
    Contact your local dry cleaner to see if they will take back wire hangers or reuse them with these great craft ideas. If you can't find a reuse home, group the hangers together, tape them around the neck and at one spot around the bottom and place the hangers in your curbside recycling. Taping the wire hangers allows them to be more easily separated at the recycling plant.

Hockey Equipment 

    Restore Hockey cleans, refurbishes and repairs used equipment and then donates the items to children, families and organizations.

Household Hazardous Waste 

Ink Cartridges  Ink Cartridge 

    Take ink and toner cartridges to the Howard County Animal Shelter on Davis Road (they recycle and make some money). Or, check out retailers such as Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens and the Post Office for ink cartridge take back programs. Some offer an incentive coupon.

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    Check out 9 uses for your old jeans.

Junk Mail 

    Check out these 25 ways to reduce or reuse your junk mail. Or, of course, you can recycle all that junk mail!


    At this time, K-Cups are not recyclable in Howard County. However, the coffee inside can be composted in your backyard compost pile. Check out this mail back recycling program and watch a video to learn more about Keurig's sustainability measures.


    Doesn't matter if your set is not complete. IBuyLego.com wants them! 

Light Bulbs 

    Burnt-out incandescent light bulbs can be disposed in the trash. Have CFLs? Please take these bulbs to a customer take-back program at Home Depot, Lowes, My Organic Market (MOMs), Ikea or to an Alpha Ridge Landfill HHW day on Saturdays (April-November).


    Crayola's ColorCycle program works with elementary schools to turn markers into energy. Prang also has a mail-in marker recycling program.

Mason Jars 

Mattresses & Box Springs 

    Mattresses & box springs can now be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Residents can also schedule curbside bulk item collection by calling 410-313-6444. Mattresses & box springs collected at the curb will not be recycled. If possible, take them to the Alpha Ridge to give them a chance to be made into something new!

Medical and Rehabilitation Equipment Wheel Chair 


    DO NOT flush unwanted medications down the toilet.


    • Place the pills or liquid in a plastic zip-top bag with coffee grounds, flour or kitty litter and put the bag in your regular trash. This makes the medicinesMedicine undesirable and prevents toxins from contaminating our drinking water.
    • Local pharmacies may offer take-back or mail-in programs. Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens and Giant sell prepaid envelopes that can be filled with unwanted medication and mailed to a facility that properly handles disposal.
    • Take advantage of government-sponsored programs when available. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has offered prescription drug take-back programs. Visit www.dea.gov for information.
    • Visit www.disposemymeds.org for additional information and details.

    • Once you have safely disposed of the medication, recycle the empty medicine bottles. 

Metal Cans 

Needles (Medical Sharps) 

    1) Place used needles in a plastic bottle to protect the trash collection crew. When the bottle is full, add the cap and place the bottle in your trash.

    2) Check your local pharmacy to see if they offer disposal or exchange services. 

    3) Sharps Disposal Services.

    • American Waste Management
      2300 Essex St
      Baltimore, MD 21224
      (410) 276-7400

    4) Purchase containers for safe mail-in disposal.

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Oil & Filters 

Paint Paint Can 

    Check out this paint calculator to avoid leftovers. Hold a paint swap with neighbors and friends so that usable paint doesn't go to waste. Mix white (or colored) paints together to give walls or furniture a fresh look. Solidify old and unusable paint by adding an absorbent material such as cat litter, shredded newspaper, leaves, sawdust, dirt or a paint hardener. If there isn't much paint left in the can, leave the lid off to air dry. Once solidified, leave the lid off so the contractors can see it's solid and set it out with your regular trash. For more ideas, visit www.ehow.com.


    Place in your curbside recycling or taken to the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center: newspapers & inserts, phone books, junk mail (even window envelopes), food & snack boxes, paperback books, hardback books, greeting cards, gift wrap (no foil type), catalogs, magazines, tubes for paper towels & toilet paper, shoe boxes, household paperboard boxes, paper board egg cartons, shredded paper (please secure in , paper bag or white/clear plastic bag), milk cartons and juice boxes.

Plastic Bags 

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - in that order. Use reusable bags so you have less plastic bags. If you already have a few, check out plastic bag reuse ideas. If you can't reuse, then recycle. While bags can be bundled for regular recycling, it's best to take them back to your local retail store. Many locations partner directly with TREX who uses bags to make plastic wood. Here's a plastic bag/film cheat sheet with more.

Plastic Clamshells 

    Plastic clamshells, used for produce, berries and salad bars, are NOT recyclable in Howard County. Why aren't they recyclable? Although they may appear to be similar to your PET water bottles, clamshells often include labels and glues that are not easily removable which increases processing costs. While we wait for technology and markets to become available for recycling, consider these reuse ideas to keep those clamshells out of the trash.

Plastic Containers and Items 

Pots and Pans  Pots and Pans 

Roofing Shingles 

    Shingles can be recycled at the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center. Paper and nails may be mixed with roofing shingles. Please make sure trash and wood are NOT included. Effective July 1, 2006 - A tipping fee of $50/ton will be charged for all deliveries of shingles to the recycling center. Shingles mixed with other waste will be charged at the Solid Waste rate. Did you know? One normal-sized roof recycled into road mix makes about 200 feet of a two-lane highway (Earth911).

Smoke Detectors Smoke Detector 

    It's best to return smoke alarms to the original supplier. For the address, check the product warranty or user manual or see our company list. For more information, visit www.epa.gov.

Sneakers Sneakers 


    Schools, clubs, corporations, churches and civic groups can get involved by participating in a community soap drive. To register a soap drive, visit cleantheworld.org. Or, here's a DIY project that reuses soap leftovers.

Solar Lights Solar Lights 

    Recycle old solar lights and get money for your next purchase. Visit Your Solar Link.

Sports Equipment 


    Send your stamps to Stamp Out Poverty. They collect foreign stamps, Canadian stamps, commemorative stamps and even the whole envelope if postmarks are clearly visible.

Stuffed Animals 


    Styrofoam™ can be recycled at Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center. Items must be labeled with the #6 in the recycling symbol. See our Styrofoam™ website for restrictions. Or, purchase Recycla-Paks from Dart to collect and mail cups, which are recycled into picture frames. Visit dartcontainer.com for more.

    Check with your local UPS store to see if they collect Styrofoam for recycling. Foam blocks are also accepted by the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers (AFPR). Call 410-451-8340 for drop-off details. AFPR is located at 1298 Cronson Blvd, Suite 201, Crofton, MD 21114. Lifoam Industries accepts clean styrofoam™ blocks for recycling via mail-in or drop-off to 121 Bata Blvd # D, Belcamp MD 21017. For more information, (410) 272-8060.

Styrofoam™ Packing Peanuts Styrofoam Peanuts  

    Styrofoam™ peanuts can't be recycled at Alpha Ridge Landfill. However, local shipping retailers may accept the peanuts for reuse. Contact your local retailer such as Mail Boxes Etc, Fedex and UPS. Visit loosefillpackaging.com for a searchable list of drop-off locations or call the Peanut Hotline at 1-800-828-2214.

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Tennis Balls 

    Consider donating old tennis balls to your local nursing/retirement community. The balls make great caps for the feet of walkers. Or, start a collection drive at your school or community and Rebounces will repressurize and resell the tennis balls. Visit Rebounces.com for a prepaid shipping label.



    Recycle automobile and truck tires at the Alpha Ridge Residents' Convenience Center. (Commercial haulers see Landfill Fee Schedule). ARL does not accept tires on rims, tires over 4' in diameter or over 15" in width. NOTE: Rims can be recycled in the scrap metal container. Limit of 4 tires per year.


    Have old towels that are frayed or stained? Donate them to your local animal shelter or check out these other great towel ideas.


    Set up a toy swap with friends and neighbors. Donate old toys to Salvation Army, Goodwill or similar donation site. Or, check out toysfortrade.com, toyswap.com, craigslist or eBay to find new uses for those toys.


    Of course you can donate t-shirts to your favorite charity, but if you have shirts that you just can't bear to part with, check out these great reuse projects for 'upcycling' t-shirts.

Tyvek Envelopes 

    To encourage recycling, DuPont started a mail-in collection program for Tyvek envelopes. The envelopes can be recycled into plastic lumber benches and playground equipment. Visit the Tyvek website for more information.


    Have a broken umbrella? Click here for repair and reuse ideas. Or, remove the fabric and recycle the base with scrap metal at Alpha Ridge Landfill.

Unique Items 

    For those unique (or antique) items, check out online sale sites such as eBay.com, or search for a local consignment shop.

Vacuum Cleaners 

    If the vacuum still works, please consider donating it. If the vacuum cannot be fixed, recycle it with electronics at the Alpha Ridge Landfill or visit GoVacuum.com to learn about a recycling/payment program.

VHS Tapes, Cassette Tapes, etc. 

Wedding Dresses and Accessories 


Yard Trim 

Yoga MatsYoga mats 

    Send your used yoga mats to The Bolder Mat Company and receive a $5 coupon for a new mat or accessory. The company will refurbish and donate the mat to a charity that teaches at-risk populations about the benefits of yoga. Visit theboldermatcompany.com for more information.

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Other Donation Opportunities 

Swap Sites 

The Baltimore FREE Store  

    This 'store' accepts usable items for donation, including clothing, household items, small furniture and shoes. Most items will then be offered for free to promote reuse. For more details, visit www.baltimorefreestore.org or call 410-340-9004.

Let's work together to keep recyclable
and reusable items out of the trash!

Please send additional websites or locations to AAMoore@howardcountymd.gov.

This information is provided as a service to residents.
Howard County does not endorse products, services or vendors.