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Category: Environment Page 1 of 25

A “Better Bag” Law for College Park

At tomorrow’s meeting, the College Park City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed “Better Bag” ordinance in College Park. The ordinance would generally prohibit retailers from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale. It will require that retail establishments charge a fee of at least 10 cents per bag for the provision of paper carryout bags and reusable carryout bags. This is to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. The city will not be getting any revenue from the bag fees.

Businesses will be allowed to provide plastic bags, free of charge, to package certain bulk items, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items, bakery goods, ice, dry-cleaned clothes, and wrapping items such as meat, fish and flowers.

The ordinance will designate a week every year when businesses will be offering free reusable bags.

According to research, College Park residents use 12.7 million plastic single-use bags per year. Residents typically use these bags for less than 15 minutes while these bags stay in the environment for the rest of their lifetimes.

In addition to the environmental cost, there is also an economical cost. The County spends $125,000 annually to remove plastic bag debris from the sorting equipment.

Certain College Park businesses, such as MoM’s Organic Market, Trader Joe’s, and Lidl, already have partial or total restrictions on using free single-use plastic bags.

If College Park adopts the ordinance, it will join other jurisdictions with similar legislation. The list includes Laurel, Takoma Park, Baltimore, Chester-town, Easton, Westminster, Howard County and Montgomery County.10 states in the U.S., hundreds of cities worldwide and some 127 counties have similar legislation. The City of Hyattsville is also considering bag legislation.

If the Council approves the ordinance, the new law will be effective on September 1, 2023

Holiday Recycling Tips

What to Recycle?

Holiday Light Recycling

Holiday string lights, working or non-working, are accepted for recycling at MOM’s Organic Market, 9801 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park. The string lights are collected for recycling beginning in December and continuing through early January.

Please remove lights from bags/packaging and place them in the designated holiday lights recycling bin in the lobby when you enter MOM’s Organic Market.

Battery Recycling

During the holidays, many batteries are replaced. Please be sure to recycle them properly.

All batteries can and should be recycled. If batteries, especially lithium-based ones, are thrown into the trash, they can cause a spark that could endanger individuals and surrounding property. Certain batteries, such as Nickel Cadmium rechargeable, can contaminate the environment if not properly disposed of. Some people actually reuse these materials, however since they have to wait for people to recycle the materials and have it go through a certain process they prefer getting them in bulk, like from a nickel 200 supplier. Batteries contain valuable elements, and recycling them can reduce the need to mine for virgin materials. Reclaimed materials from recycled batteries can be reused in other products. Consumer awareness is key to changing behavior and ensuring more batteries are recycled correctly and aren’t in landfills.

MOMs Organic Market and IKEA accept single-use batteries. Home Depot and Lowes accept rechargeable batteries.

Styrofoam Recycling

A drop-off container is at the entrance to Public Works for block Styrofoam recycling. Only block Styrofoam is accepted in the white cart. No peanuts, cups, plates, or egg cartons are allowed.

“No Mow April” Expected to Become an Annual Event

Last year the Council designated the month of April 2022 as a pilot “No Mow Month” to encourage residents to voluntarily delay lawn care and mowing to support pollinator-friendly habitats during a critical period when early emerging pollinators have limited resources for food supplied by flowering plants.

The flowering plants found in lawns are some of the earliest food resources that early emerging pollinators have available to them
before other woody plants begin flowering. By reducing or eliminating mowing during this early spring month, early emerging pollinators have a supply of food and habitat that would otherwise be removed by lawn mowing. An additional environmental benefit of a No Mow Month initiative is the reduction of noise and exhaust from lawn mowing equipment.

348 residents registered online to participate in the City’s No Mow April initiative in April 2022. According to a follow-up survey, most participants felt that No Mow April was worthwhile, and they would participate in the initiative again. Survey

Responses. The Bee City USA Committee recommends that the 2022 pilot No Mow April initiative become an annual activity to benefit early-season pollinators. The City Council will discuss the committee’s recommendation.

Group Proposing to Replace Plastic Bags with Reusable Bags in College Park

The Committee for a Better Environment will present their proposal that the City considers a hybrid plastic bag ban that prohibits retailers from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale.

Plastic bags are the #1 contaminant in the blue recycling cart. Encouraging reusable bags will eliminate over 60 tons of single-use bag waste annually.

Reducing the consumption of single-use plastic bags will reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.

In College Park, at grocery stores that offer free plastic bags, 75% of customers take them.

On the other hand, at the grocery store Lidl, which doesn’t offer single-use plastic bags and charges for paper and reusable bags, 80% of customers bring their own bag or don’t take a bag at all.

The Council will discuss the proposal at a future Council meeting.

Curbside Food Scrap Collection Starts November 15

Great news! The curbside collection of food scraps will begin Tuesday, November 15th.

This new voluntary program will divert organic materials, that are not waste, out of our landfill and will reduce harmful greenhouse gases emitted from organic decomposition in landfills, which contributes to climate change.

Residents can sign up on a rolling basis – join at

  • The collection day is Tuesday throughout the city.
  • If you haven’t purchased or picked up your containers, stop by Public Works, Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Please don’t start collecting food scraps until November 9.
  • If you have questions, please check or call Public Works 240-487-3590.
[City of College Park]

Protecting City’s Pollinator Habitats During Pollinator Week – June 19-25

This week, June 19-25 is the National Pollinator week. At tonight’s meeting, the City Council made the following proclamation encouraging residents to participate in community activities that support and celebrate pollinator protection.

WHEREAS, College Park is home to many native wildlife and pollinator species such as birds, bees, hoverflies, and other insects, including leaf-cutter and mining bees, bumblebees, and monarch butterflies as well as hummingbirds, which keep our environment healthy and biodiverse; and

WHEREAS, College Park recognizes that human health ultimately depends on well-functioning ecosystems and that biodiverse regions can better support food production, protect healthy soil and air quality, and can foster healthy connections between humans and
nature; and

WHEREAS, College Park is working to build a healthy, sustainable, and wildlife-friendly community that brings the many benefits of nature to all corners of our community; and

WHEREAS, Pollinators play an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Local native plant species and wildlife depend on pollination from many different types of organisms; and

WHEREAS, throughout urban communities, pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining sustainable urban agriculture particularly in local community gardens; and

WHEREAS, Pollinator species are in decline due to many human-driven actions, such as habitat loss due to urban sprawl, pesticide use, climate change and the spread of invasive species, causing many pollinator species to decline significantly; and

WHEREAS, National Pollinator Week is a national initiative that offers opportunities to individuals and communities to recognize the contribution of these members of our ecosystem, and help restore native habitat and support local pollinator species; and

WHEREAS, College Park will continue to support local, state and national efforts that protect, restore, and conserve habitat for pollinators, as well as foster a greater connection between residents and wildlife; and

Moving Out? Don’t Sump. Donate!

Pitch in while you move out! Help others and keep reusable goods out of the landfill.
To get rid of waste, you can drop off, schedule pickups (if available), or recycle. For more information, please Click Here.
Don’t forget, Saturday, May 21 is the final Spring Saturday Cleanup! This is the last opportunity to dispose of items without incurring a collection fee for bulk items. The Department of Public Works facility will be open for residents and off-campus student rentals to drop off bulky trash, white goods, electronics recycling, brush, and yard trim. Visit this link for details.

[City of College Park]

Spring is Here. Let’s Make Our Neighborhood More Beautiful. And City May Help

Spring is finally here with its gorgeous weather (today is the first official day of Spring). As you and your family are getting ready to make your yards, gardens and the neighborhood beautiful, the City can help. Please see below a couple of resources to help you achieve your spring goal

With the start of the Spring, you’ve probably started to work on a beautiful garden, City can help. For compost and wood mulch, don’t look any further. They are available again at Public Works. Please call them at 240-487-3590 to schedule a delivery. They’re available year-round for pick up, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Bring a shovel and containers and be prepared to dig.

City is also gearing up to get community gardens ready so that you can start enjoying gardening with your fellow neighbors. Please stay tuned for more announcements.

Also, Spring is the time to do away with old stuff that you do not need anymore. City’s Clean-Up Saturdays & Shredding Event is back on April 2, 9, 30, and May 21, 2022, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the Public Works. You can drop off bulky trash, white goods, electronics recycling, brush, and yard trim for free. You may also bring Styrofoam, small quantities of light bulbs and tubes, and batteries for recycling.  Additionally, a shredding event will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2022, from 8:00 – 12:00 p.m. For more details, please visit:

As usual, we’re also working on holding a community cleanup event sometime next month. Please stay tuned for more announcements/

Want to see more butterflies and more blooms in this spring season? The City is encouraging us to reduce or refrain from mowing their lawns in support of local pollinators during the month of April. This will help our native pollinators grow and thrive during this critical period in their life cycle. For more details, please visit: Once you register, you can pick up a yard sign to proudly display in your front yard. They are available at the Department of Public Works and City Hall.

City’s Bulk Trash Collection is Going Down Reduction

According to City staff, since the implementation of Bulk Trash Ordinance 20-O-02 in 2020, the Department of Public Works has observed a measurable decrease in collections of bulk trash tonnage.
In 2019 (pre-ordinance), the City collected 756.3 tons, while in 2021, the City collected only 534.58 tons – a reduction of 221.72 tons!
As part of the City‘s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, one of the objectives is to reduce the amount of trash that is sent to landfills.
According to staff, we still need to do more work in increasing recycling, as the recycling rate hasn’t however increased over the recent years. Staff encourages City residents to recycle more. Helpful tips on how to recycle more can be found here.

City Introduces No-Mow April Program

The City is encouraging its residents to reduce or refrain from mowing their lawns in support of local pollinators during the month of April. The pilot “No-Mow April” is an initiative of the City’s Bee City USA Committee and was sanctioned by Mayor and Council to encourage property owners to help our native pollinators grow and thrive during this critical period in their life cycle. City residents interested in participating must register (see details below).

Early Spring is a critical time for pollinators and the plants on which they rely. In our region, primarily during the months of March and April, pollinators emerge from overwintering and begin to forage in lawns and yards for food sources. Many plants within our lawns provide food and habitat for these early-emerging pollinators, and by eliminating or reducing lawn mowing, you can help their populations grow and thrive.

You probably don’t need another reason to delay the chore of mowing, but just in case, we’ll give you some – quality of life improvements, such as improved air quality, noise reduction, and increased bird and beneficial insect biodiversity. As we allow our lawn plants to flower, we will be able to better enjoy nature as we look at our more colorful, varied landscape, and observe a diversity of pollinator species in our local ecosystem. By mowing less frequently (or by participating in No-Mow April), you will allow plants in your lawn to flower which in turn help our local pollinators survive and reproduce, who then help more of our local plants produce. Plus, you may be surprised to see what colorful plants and pollinators may be living or foraging in your yard!

Want to participate? City residents who wish to participate in the City’s No-Mow April initiative must register at Once you register, you can pick up a yard sign to proudly display in your front yard. Registration ends on March 21, 2022.

Interested in learning what more you can do to help our native pollinators? Visit for tips, lists of pollinator-friendly plants and local nurseries, and more pollinator-friendly information. One way you can help our pollinators thrive is by reducing or eliminating pesticide use and by planting native species in your yard.

Still not sure how to get started or have questions? The City’s Bee City USA Committee is hosting a public forum at the beginning of their regularly scheduled meeting on March 9, 2022, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. via Zoom. Links and details will be available on the City’s website.

[City of College Park]

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