Baltimore County News
Collection Will Resume April 2016
The separate collection of yard materials (for Baltimore County residents with “Y” days on their collection schedules) will halt in December, and will resume in April 2016.
The date of the last 2015 “Y” day varies among County collection schedules. Residents must refer to their particular schedule for details (the final “Y” day will occur within the first two weeks of December).
Please note that after the last “Y” day occurs on a particular schedule, yard materials can be placed out with trash on a scheduled trash collection day.
Schedule and Guide Information
Residents may go online to view their trash and recycling collection schedule and program guide by visiting the Bureau of Solid Waste Management website. Collection schedules and program guides can also be obtained by calling 410-887-2000.
Baltimore County residents are reminded that raking or blowing leaves into the gutter or street is illegal.
A Message from Your Leaves…
Hi, do you want a lush, green world in the spring? If so, don’t waste your precious fall weekends raking us into piles and bagging us, or shattering the serenity of sunlit afternoons with leaf blowers. Instead, consider leaving us where we fall – “leafcycle.”
Leafcycling is the process of mulching leaves – that is, mincing us to shreds with your lawn mower – then letting Mother Nature take her course. This thin layer of tiny leaf particles, approximately one-tenth of their original size, will decompose and add valuable nutrients to your soil – for free.
Afraid you have an overwhelming abundance of leaves? No worries. Use my friends and me to mulch around your shrubs or in your flower beds and gardens or as filler for your compost pile. You can count on us to protect the roots of your shrubs and perennials over the blustery, white winter.
We Can Nourish Your Lawn
Why place us on the curb in plastic bags, waiting to be hauled away, when we could be nourishing your lawn?
There are a few simple guidelines to obtain the best results:
- Instead of waiting for all of the leaves to fall and mulching them in one cutting, do multiple cuttings. This is especially true if you have a lot of leaves.
- Chop the leaves as finely as possible. The finer the particles, the quicker they will decompose. A mulching mower will assist in this process, but any mower can be used.
- Make sure the leaf particles don’t cover the tops of the grass blades. You don’t want to smother your lawn.
- If the mulched leaves are higher than the tops of the grass blades, you can place the excess around your annual plants, shrubs, hedges and trees. A six-inch layer of mulched leaves will quickly settle into the ideal three-inch layer that will help to keep soil moist and protect the plants’ roots through winter.
Thanks on behalf of all leaf types,
Abel the Maple Leaf and her friends at the Baltimore County Recycling Division
Public Information Specialist
Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management
For the next few weeks we’re right in the thick of it when it comes to leaf collection. Each year from the beginning of April to the middle of December, Baltimore County provides a special yard materials recycling collection, once every two weeks, to 70 percent (165,000) of the County’s individual and townhomes. Materials such as grass, leaves, and small brush are collected and taken to the Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility (ESL) in White Marsh for composting. The goal of this program is to reduce the amount of organic matter that is being landfilled. In 2013 approximately 11,000 tons of yard materials from the County’s Yard Materials Recycling Collection Program were processed into compost.
County residents may also take yard materials and brush and branches to two of the County’s drop-off facilities for recycling. More than 17,200 tons of these items were taken to ESL and approximately 4,100 tons were taken to the Central Acceptance Facility (CAF) in 2013.
What happens to the grass, leaves and brush?
The items dropped off at CAF are processed into compost and mulch by Hollins Organic Products, Inc. The yard materials from the County’s Yard Materials Recycling Collection Program and the yard materials and brush and branches taken to ESL by residents are processed into compost and mulch by the County at ESL.
Large tree branches and tree trunks are run through a large piece of equipment called a tub grinder to make mulch. The smaller material (grass, leaves, and small brush) is piled in long rows called windrows. Another large piece of equipment, appropriately named a windrow turner, moves over the rows using rotating blades to break down, mix and aerate the material. This process of “turning” helps to create the proper conditions for efficient composting (“nature’s recycling program”) of the material. Depending on the weather and other factors, the material will generally stay in these rows roughly 90 days. This material is then run through a trommel screen to remove large and unwanted debris. The compost is then piled up, where it continues to “cure” until it is ready for use.
Compost is decomposed organic material (humus) that helps to enrich and condition the soil. Mulch is “shredded” wood that is used around plants, bushes, and trees as ground cover, and helps to protect root systems from the cold.
Free compost and mulch for residents
Baltimore County residents may pick up compost and mulch, free of charge, from ESL (6259 Days Cove Road, White Marsh, MD 21162). Before going to ESL, call the Solid Waste Management customer service number (410-887-2000) to check on the availability of compost and mulch. Residents will need to bring and fill their own containers.
DIY is best bet
Collecting and processing yard materials is a big and expensive task, so residents are encouraged to “lend a hand” and handle their yard materials at home, through methods such as grasscycling, leafcycling and home composting. For more information about these easy to do methods, check out www.baltimorecountymd.gov/publicworks/recycling.
Revised September 26, 2016