Recycling, Food Scraps, & Special Trash Collection


Plastic bags are plastic so they must be recyclable, right? They are, but not at the curb because they'll damage recycling equipment. Please do not bag your recyclables, instead, put them loosely in the blue cart. Return plastic bags to retail stores. #WednesdayWisdom

Recycling Tip: Keep that plastic bag out of the cart - take it back to the store. No ponga en bolsas el reciclaje. #WednesdayWisdom

Electronics Drop-Off Location

City of College Park residents can bring electronics for recycling to the drop off box near the entrance of the front doors to Davis Hall. No more than 3 items can be disposed of at no cost.

  • Acceptable: TVs, monitors, mouse pointers, keyboards, microwaves, gaming systems, computers, hard drives, cell phones, printers, laptops, surge protectors, copiers, fax machines, telephone systems, cable, circuit boards, and toner cartridges.
  • Unacceptable: Light bulbs (CFL or Tubes) or batteries of any kind.

Food Scrap Drop-Off

Benefits of composting food scraps

There are a number of benefits to compost that not everyone is aware of. Some examples from the EPA are listed below: • Organic waste in landfills generates, methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced. • Compost reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. • Compost promotes higher yields of agricultural crops. • Compost can help aid reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by improving contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils. • Compost can be used to remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste in a cost effective manner. • Compost can provide cost savings over conventional soil, water and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable. • Compost enhances water retention in soils. • Compost provides carbon sequestration.

What can residents do?

The City of College Park encourages all residents to take part in the food scrap drop off program.

Instead of putting food scraps in the trash, City residents can drop them off for FREE at the following locations:

  • Public Works, 9217 51st Avenue, College Park available 24/7
  • Old Town Playground/Community Garden (7504 Columbia Ave.) – available 24/7. Location is in the southern part of the City, near the corner of Norwich Road and Columbia Avenue, just north of the Old Town Playground.
  • North College Park Farmers’ Market (9801 Rhode Island Avenue) – seasonally through November

Five-gallon food scrap buckets are still available at Public Works. Pick up during regular business hours (Mon-Fri 7:30 am to 4:00 pm). The buckets are useful to transport collected food scraps to the drop off location.

Acceptable items: fruit and vegetable scraps; coffee grounds and tea leaves; dry goods - breads, pasta, nuts, rice and grains; dairy products, eggs and egg shells; meat, fish, poultry and bones – cooked or uncooked; compostable products; food soiled paper products – greasy pizza boxes, napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, and tea bags.

Please DO NOT include plastic products of any kind, pet or human waste, diapers, clam or oyster shells, grease or fats, or ash from wood or charcoal.

Bulk Trash Collection Changes

There have been many questions about the new bulk trash program that we would like to address.

Q: As a single-family owner-occupied residence, I’m allowed 4 collections per fiscal year, and a total of 20 items per fiscal year, when does the program reset? A: The program is per fiscal year which runs July 1 – June 30.

Q: Why do registered rentals get 29 items per year? A: Registered rentals in the city pay an additional solid waste fee.

Q: Does the bulk trash limits apply to any items I need to schedule for collection? A: No, this is just for bulk trash items such as furniture, carpet, large bulky items. It doesn’t include electronics, appliances, metals, or brush.

Q: I have not heard about these changes. What ways have you gotten the information out to residents? A: In April of 2018 a bulk trash proposal was introduced to the Mayor and Council to address continued increases in volume and costs associated with bulk collections. There were Public Hearings. In May of 2020 the Council passed Ordinance 20-O-02 but required a 1-year Pilot Program to collect data and report back to Council. The City advertised on the website, the Municipal Scene, the Weekly Bulletin, and in the Resident Guide. After the Pilot Program finished, the Council voted to start the program. An education brochure was created and mailed to each resident in May of 2021. The bulk trash changes became effective July 1, 2021.

Q: Why do mattresses and box springs need to be wrapped in plastic, and where do I get this plastic? A: For the health and safety of staff, residents requesting curbside collection of mattresses are required to completely cover mattresses and box springs in a protective plastic covering. Plastic mattress bags are available at many local retail stores for a nominal fee. In addition, you could use any kind of plastic that you can wrap around it such as shrink wrap. This is also a requirement for Prince George’s County.

Q: If I exceed my limit of either 4 collections per year, or a total of 20 (29) items per fiscal year, how much will I be charged and how do I pay my fee? A: Any quantities and/or frequency more than stated above, a $20 collection fee per item over the allowable number of items will be imposed, and an invoice will be mailed.

Different Special Collections

The City collects four different types of special trash by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays. Different trucks are assigned to each category. Please source separate items into:

• Bulk Trash: furniture, carpet, large bulky items, lumber with nails bent, fencing, etc. Mattresses and box springs MUST be wrapped in plastic to be collected. All material must be less than five (5) feet long and weigh less than 75 lbs. • Appliances & Metals: Appliances include stoves, air conditioners, refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, hot water heaters and ovens and have a $20 fee per item for collection. Other metals such as bikes, file cabinets and radiators, do not incur a fee. • Electronics for Recycling: computers, printers, keyboards, modems, gaming consoles, etc. Please note that TVs, monitors, and microwaves have a $20 fee per item. Residents have the option of bringing these items to the electronics drop off box at Public Works for free. • Brush, Branches, and Logs: All woody material must be bundled and tied in bunches no longer than four (4) feet in length, up to two (2) feet in diameter and no more than 50 lbs. Material can also be placed in City approved containers or bags. Individual branches cannot be wider than four (4) inches in diameter while logs must be cut into 12 inch lengths that are no more than 12 inches in diameter (a maximum of 25 logs will be collected per pickup).