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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Howard County to stop yard waste pickups using plastic bags

   Howard County is going away from accepting yard waste in plastic bags.  Here is the information:

     "Starting Monday, September 14, 2015 and continuing through the end of 2015, Howard County's Department of Public Works will phase out the collection of yard trim (leaves, grass and brush) from plastic bags. As you may be aware, collected yard trim is taken to compost and mulch facilities. At these locations, plastic bags foul machinery and reduce the quality of finished compost and mulch products. Small plastic fragments also become air- and water-borne litter. Due to these factors, regional processors, including the County's contracted yard trim processor, will no longer accept material in regular plastic bags.
     Depending on your collection route, the change may occur as early as September 14, 2015. Look up your transition day and keep an eye on your mailbox for a letter announcing the change in your neighborhood.  As of January 1, 2016 every household receiving County provided yard trim collection will have made the transition to prohibit plastic bags.  
As the County phases in this new program, residents will be able to pickup paper bags from the Alpha Ridge Landfill (10 per family, per day, while supplies last)."

    The County has some some free plastic composting bins available to make the transition to composting yard waste.  Here is their info on getting a bin:
    "FREE compost bins (while supplies last) are available at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514 or Alpha Ridge Landfill at 2350 Marriottsville Road. Compost bins are made from 100% recycled plastic and are available to Howard County residents only."

    Better yet buy a few pieces of wood at a local lumber yard and build a sturdier one like pictured above.
     Howard County also provides this information on how to compost:

     "Select the materials to be composted. In general, leaves, grass clippings, brush and vegetable waste all work well. Shred or chop materials to accelerate composting. Mix layers of plant materials high in nitrogen with those high in carbon. As a rule of thumb, green materials such as grass clippings are higher in nitrogen and brown materials such as leaves are higher in carbon. By alternating layers of green and brown materials, nitrogen becomes more readily available for microbial action.  When nitrogen rich plant materials are not available, spread about a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer with each cubic yard of compressed plant material. Build your pile to maximum of 4 feet high by 4 feet wide. Piles higher or wider may lack the necessary oxygen to decompose quickly."



Anonymous said...

Duane, great post. As I commented a couple blog posts ago, we've been composting for years. Went to a Rec & Parks class on how to do it at Centennial Park one Saturday; got our "free" composting bin; and we've been at it ever since. Yes, it *can* smell once those microbes make everything start to rot; but tell your complaining neighbors you're saving the earth; they can get over it. (We don't have close neighbors so I don't have to worry about that.)

But don't scare me with your headlines! Ho Co isn't ceasing picking up yard waste; they're just not picking it up IN PLASTIC BAGS. We often put paper lawn bags of stuff out for collection with recycling; usually, small branches that are too big to compost well but too small to use for any other purpose. If the county was going to stop picking those paper bags up I'd probably have to use my fire pit more often.

Keep up the good work. And tell your "nosy" neighbors to deal with the compost smell. :-)

duanestclair said...

OOPS! I corrected the headline. Thanks

Harperschoice info said...

And maybe a reminder that compost bins like the two shown in photos MIGHT require Architectural approval from the residents Village offices in Columbia!