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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Baltimore County News

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Keyword: composting

Social Distancing Measures Remain in Place

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that yard waste collection will resume and residential Drop-Off Centers will reopen.

“We know these services are important to our residents, and we feel confident that we can safely resume them with appropriate social distancing measures in place,” Olszewski said. “I’m grateful to our trash haulers for their service, and I’m grateful to our residents for their patience and cooperation as we continue to navigate this unprecedented crisis.”

Residential Drop-off Centers

Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, April 23, Baltimore County’s residential Drop-off Centers will reopen to the public. These locations include: 

  • Eastern Sanitary Landfill—6259 Days Cove Road, 21162
  • Central Acceptance Facility—201 West Warren Road, 21030
  • Western Acceptance Facility—3310 Transway Road, 21227

Residents will be required to adhere to all social distancing guidelines and required to wear masks onsite. These requirements will be strictly enforced.

Yard Waste Collection

Additionally, beginning today, Wednesday, April 22, yard waste materials will be collected from Baltimore County residents with “Y” days on their schedule. These separate yard material collections will occur through as late as December 2020.

Collection schedules are available for download on the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website and may also be requested by calling 410-887-2000. Schedules are also available on the County’s BaltCoGo app, for use on mobile phones.

The amount of garbage being collected from residents has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, during the week ending April 18, trash haulers collected nearly 23 percent more tons of trash than the same week in 2019. County Executive Olszewski approved hazard pay of $75 dollars per week for workers collecting trash in the County during the pandemic.

Requirements for Collection

While residents may set out an unlimited number of bags of yard materials, the collector may not collect all of the bags on the same day. Collectors must make trash collection their first priority, and must take into account all of the residents on their route. Residents are asked to leave their yard materials out until collection occurs.

Yard materials acceptable for collection include grass, leaves, vines, twigs, shrubbery trimmings, and branches and limbs. 

Residents are reminded to use lawn and leaf bags to set out their yard materials, not trash cans. Bags of yard materials set out for collection must not exceed 30 pounds. Also, branches and limbs will be collected only if they are no larger than three inches in diameter, no longer than three feet, and tied in bundles not exceeding 30 pounds.

Benefits of Grasscycling and Composting

Grasscycling Infographic thumbnail

Baltimore County Department of Public Works officials also reminded residents that they are encouraged to try “grasscycling” or home composting in addition to placing yard waste for pick-up.

These practices not only reduce the amount of yard materials to be bagged and stored, but also provide benefits such as protection and nutrients to plants and lawns.

To grasscycle while mowing your lawn, remove the bag from your mower and let the grass clippings fall back onto the ground. To protect the health of your lawn, never cut more than one-third of the length off of the grass blade in one mowing.

Keep the grass mowed to two inches in the spring, gradually increasing the height to three to four inches by summer. When fall arrives, decrease the blade height back to two inches.

The practice of grasscycling eliminates the time and labor required to bag lawn clippings. In addition, when grass clippings are properly cut, they decompose quickly and release vital nutrients back into the soil.

Another beneficial use for yard materials is home composting. Composting—creating a mixture of decomposed organic matter—is an easy way to produce a nutrient-rich soil additive. Using compost in your garden also helps to suppress plant diseases and pests and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

For more information about grasscycling, home composting and other ways to manage organic material at home, visit the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website.

​Blocked Gutters Can Lead to Environmental and Safety Concerns

 Baltimore County residents are reminded that raking or blowing leaves and grass trimmings into the gutter or street is unsafe, potentially damaging to the Chesapeake Bay and illegal.

Leaves in the gutter can lead to fires and endanger children who might try to play in the leaves. Leaves and grass trimmings can also clog drains and, if the leaves do get to the bay, cause algae blooms. Algae blooms absorb oxygen and light that fish and aquatic plants need to survive.

Instead of raking or blowing these yard materials into the gutter, the County suggests that residents compost them. Composting leaves and grass trimmings is an easy way to produce an environmentally friendly soil additive for use in gardens. 

Another option for Baltimore County residents is to simply mulch fallen leaves with a lawn mower and leave them on the ground, providing a great natural fertilizer for lawns as the leaves decompose. Mulched leaves can also be collected and used around plants, garden beds, under shrubs and hedges and under trees. The mulch will keep the soil moist and protect the roots of the plants. 

Baltimore County residents who choose to bag their yard materials should put them out where they normally place their trash, in accordance with their trash and recycling collection schedule. Residents are reminded to use paper or plastic lawn and leaf bags to set out their yard materials, not trash cans or any other type of container. 

For more information on how to handle yard materials at home, residents may visit or call 410-887-2000.

Separate Collections Will Resume in April 2019

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 2019.

The date of the last 2018 “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.

Residents with no “Y” days on their schedule should continue to place yard materials out with trash on scheduled trash collection days.

Residents may go online to view their trash and recycling collection schedule and program guide by visiting the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website, or they may call 410-887-2000. Collection schedules are also available on the County’s new BaltCoGo app, available on mobile phones. The app is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users and may be downloaded from their respective app stores. 

Baltimore County residents are reminded that raking or blowing leaves into the gutter or street is illegal.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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