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Collection Set-Out Guide

Notice: Paper Yard Material Bags Required on Y Days

Paper bags are required for yard material collection on separate yard material ("Y") days. 

To ensure collection of your materials, make sure you follow trash, single stream recycling and yard materials regulations. In all cases, please place the material at its designated curbside or alley collection point after 6 p.m. on the night before scheduled collection.

Notice: Baltimore County does not replace cracked trash or recycling containers. Plastic develops cracks from normal wear and tear and exposure to cold temperatures. You can minimize cracking with these simple steps:

  • Buy sturdy plastic containers made for outdoor use
  • Look for containers made of HDPE (number two) plastic, which is stronger than other types of plastic
  • Limit plastic containers' exposure to cold
  • Don't overfill containers


Trash containers:

  • Must not have a lid fastened to the can with rope, wire, chains, etc.
  • Should be sturdy, water-tight and rodent-resistant, with handles and a tight-fitting cover (as long as that cover is not fastened to the container)

Having problems with lost container lids? Try a Lid Leash! Using a piece of rope or small chain, attach the lid to a fence or post (see illustration). This helps to prevent lost lids due to wind, traffic, etc. Do not tie the lid to the container.

Single Stream Recycling

Visit the Bureau's single stream recycling page to learn what materials are accepted for recycling in Baltimore County.

Plastic Bags of any type or color must not be used to set out recyclables for collection—these bags jam machinery at the single stream sorting facility. Even if plastic bags are marketed as "recycling bags," "recyclable," or "compostable," they are not acceptable containers for recycling in Baltimore County.

Recycling containers can include any of the following:

  • Recycling bins (usually colored blue or marked with a recycling symbol)
  • Trash containers used only for recycling (marked with a large "X" or the word "RECYCLE"; free "RECYCLE" stickers can be obtained by calling 410-887-2000)
  • Small cardboard boxes (boxes will be collected along with their contents)
  • Paper bags, or bundles tied with non-plastic string (should only be used for setting out paper or cardboard recyclables)

If a container has a lid, the lid must not be fastened to the container with rope, wire, chains, etc.

Yard Materials

County residents with Ys on their schedule have a separate yard materials collection for most of the year. Please see the Bureau's yard materials page for important details.

To set out yard materials properly:

  • Place grass, leaves and small brush in heavy-duty (2-ply) paper lawn and leaf bags 
  • Tie branches and limbs in bundles (branches and limbs must not exceed three inches in diameter or three feet in length)
  • Bag or bundle other materials
  • Do not place yard materials in trash containers
  • Do not place yard materials in the street (it is a violation of County Code to do so)

Trash Cart Pilot Program

Select homes in the Essex area have been chosen to participate in a pilot program. View the Trash Cart Pilot Program details.

Revised October 20, 2022         


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