Howard County Expands Green Bin Program

November 2023

Howard County expanded access to its Feed the Green Bin program to nearly 8,000 additional households in November, extending the free curbside food scraps pickup program to 59 percent of all County households.

The expansion includes 7,860 homes in 12 communities:  King’s Contrivance, Cherry Tree Park, Emerson, Hammond Village, Hunters Creek Farm, Jamestown Landing, North Laurel, Reservoir Overlook, Twin Oaks, Warfield’s Range, Wellington Farm and Wincopin Farms. Residents in the newly covered areas received their green bins during the week of November 13 with collection services beginning thereafter.

Since its launch in 2013, the program has diverted more than 3,000 tons of food scraps from Howard County households. In 2022 alone, more than 400 tons of organic waste were recaptured and composted. As of November 2023, the Feed the Green Bin program includes 37,652 eligible households. Of that number, about 18,000 households, or 48 percent, participate in the program.

Organic waste makes up roughly 30 percent of the local solid waste stream. Diversion of food waste from decomposition in landfills reduces methane emissions, which have 25 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide.

“Our Feed the Green Bin curbside food waste pickup program is a valuable tool in the County’s efforts to fight climate change,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “We understand that small actions to reduce our environmental footprint make a big difference. This program empowers Howard County residents to be part of our collective fight for our environment and energy independence.”

Food scraps are collected by the Department of Public Works from green bins and brought to Alpha Ridge landfill for composting. The compost is then offered to public and private customers for application on their property.

To further accommodate the expanded routes and ensure regulatory compliance of the growing program, the Department of Public Works completed construction of a new, 34,720 square -foot Organics Receiving Building at Alpha Ridge Landfill representing a $5.6 million County investment.

The Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services’ website provides details on items accepted by the composting program. Interested residents can easily find out if their address is in a Feed the Green Bin collection area and sign up for the program at Residents outside of the curbside collection zone can add their address to the Bureau of Environmental Services sign-up page to express their interest in another territory expansion. Residents can also sign up for a free backyard compost bin or drop off their food scraps to the Residents’ Convenience Center at Alpha Ridge Landfill.