Yard Trim Recycling
"Green" your yard trim
Howard County encourages residents to use paper bags or reusable containers for yard trim. Plastic bags do not break down and actually reduce the quality of the composted material.
Free paper yard trim bags:
Visit the Recycling Division at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514 or the Alpha Ridge Landfill at 2350 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville for free paper yard trim bags. (Limit 2 free bags per family).
Click here for an information sheet, including retail locations that sell paper yard trim bags.
Printable Yard Trim Brochure
How can I recycle my yard trimmings?
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!
See GrassCycling for more information.
Mix leaves, grass clippings and vegetable refuse together and watch the natural decomposition process turn waste into black gold. Call 410-313-6444 for a free composting instruction kit (compost bins available while supplies last). Compost demonstrations are offered April - October.
See Backyard Composting for more information.
RAKERS (residents who will 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. For more, see the Rake and Take Flier or visit https://extension.umd.edu/mg/locations/rake-and-take.
Once a week curbside collection of UNLIMITED amounts of grass, leaves and light brush is provided to residents living in most single family homes, townhomes and trailer parks in eastern and central Howard County. In these areas, Howard County will collect grass, leaves and light brush ONLY on your scheduled recycling day. These items will not be picked up on your TRASH collection day. To see if you are in the service area, call 410-313-6444. There is a separate truck that picks up yard trim that can come any time between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
YES we accept...
- hedge clippings/light brush
- small limbs or branches less than 4" in diameter and 4' in length
- dry seed pods (pine cones, sour gum balls, etc.)
NO we can't accept...
- bushes with root bases attached
- yard trim placed in recycling carts or cardboard boxes
- yard trim mixed with trash or miscellaneous materials, such as:
- plastic/clay pots
- dirt, rocks, sod or sand (see the ARL Fee Schedule for dirt disposal)
- metal wire or fencing
- glass, pottery or stone
HOW TO prepare yard trim for curbside collection...
- Place in paper bags or reusable containers (we encourage you to avoid plastic bags)
- You no longer have to leave bags open, you may tie them shut
- Tie or bundle light brush with sturdy string that won't break (bundles may not exceed 40 lbs, 18" in diameter and 4' in length)
- Please no cardboard boxes as containers
PLEASE remember your 4's
when placing items out for collection...
- Each item under 40 pounds.
- Each item less than 4 feet long.
- Limbs under 4 inches in diameter (must be tied or bundled - not to exceed 18" in diameter).
- Put out beFORE 6 a.m.
Why use paper bags for yard trim?
- Paper bags decompose naturally with yard trim (no extra steps to remove plastic pieces from compost)
- Paper bags hold the same amount as plastic bags, but won't puncture as easily
- Paper bags stay open for easier filling
- Paper bags contain a component that resists water absorption
You can also recycle grass, leaves and brush at the Wood Waste Drop-off Area at the Alpha Ridge Landfill, Monday through Saturday from 8 am - 4 pm. Proof of Howard County residency required.
NO plastic bags are accepted at the Wood Waste Drop-off Area.
During inclement weather, every effort will be made to continue to provide for scheduled collections. If collections are cancelled due to snow, ice, or other severe weather, pick-up will be made the following week on your scheduled recycling day, if possible, or when road conditions permit. Call 410-313-6444 for cancellation and makeup information.
For the holiday schedule, click here.