Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Changed yard waste disposal fee at Transfer Station, effective July 1, 2014

Starting July 1, 2014, our fees for yard waste loads delivered to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station will be the following. All other fees remain the same.

If you deliver this amount of RESIDENTIAL
or COMMERCIAL yard waste
Your fee will be
Less than 500 pounds No charge
500 pounds or more $46.00/ton

As of July 1, 2014:
  • All yard waste loads likely to weigh 500 pounds or more must enter through the Shady Grove Road entrance, and go over the truck scales. This entrance is open Monday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Yard waste loads weighing 500 pounds or more cannot be delivered weekday evenings (5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) or any time on Sundays.
See full fee schedule for the Shady Grove Transfer Station and Processing Facility.


  1. Anonymous9:05 PM

    Charge residents to recycle? This is terrible anti-recycling policy. If you need to increase revenues, then stop the endless parade of commercial construction vans that are allowed to dump without paying in the residential drop-off area. It is there everyday to see and it's obvious. Don't discourage recycling by the public! It un-does the progress we've made.

    1. Anonymous8:02 AM

      Residents who drop off a quarter-ton or more of yard waste - an awful lot of waste - should be treated like commercial entities. Besides, who would complain about $11.50?

    2. Anonymous7:26 PM

      Trivializing this change as only being about paying $11.50 ignores the reality of several counter productive and disruptive impacts that this decision has. Here are just a few to consider.

      First, the moment that you put a fee on a service that was previously provided on a no-fee basis, it discourages its use. That is a simple, indisputable fact. Montgomery County should be encouraging more residential recycling, not discouraging it by placing a fee on it. This changed policy is completely counter to public policy and progress made over many years in encouraging recycling. There is more progress to make in our recycling and conservation rates and this hurts those efforts.

      Second, those of us that drop off our own yard waste at the transfer station already incur the costs of doing so rather than relying on the County to remove it from the front of our properties. That may be our choice, but I believe that it is the right thing that people are doing and it saves the County taxpayers money when we haul our own. Now, doing the right thing has been made more expensive.

      Third, many of us will be forced to only drop off yard waste during the work week or on Saturdays when the commercial scales are open which is a major impediment to access, not because we have over 500 lbs., but because the transfer station contractor employees have no ability to accurately judge the weight of loads. Let me give you an example from just three weeks ago. The utility trailer that I have and haul things to the transfer station has 48” plywood sides. It holds in total approximately 1-1/2 times the volume of a standard pickup truck bed. Three weeks ago, I helped a neighbor remove an old picnic table from her backyard and loaded it into my trailer to take to the transfer station. I got home early enough from work one day to get to the transfer station before it closed at 7:00. When I got there, I was told by a contractor employee “Naw, your trailer’s too big. I can’t let you dump here. You need to come back when the scale house is open.” Now despite that the picnic table weighed maybe 150 lbs., well below the 500 lbs. residential drop-off limit, I was turned away. I wasted 1-1/2 hours in rush hour traffic and the round trip expense, and had to return on the weekend after wrongly being denied access by a contractor employee.

      Just to add insult to injury here and so you understand how the transfer station works, while I was having the discussion with the contractor employee, there were four vehicles unloading materials at the residential drop-off area. One was a passenger car. The other three were white commercial construction vans. How could I tell? In addition to having no rear windows, all three had built in, heavy duty ladder or equipment racks on top. Two had multiple ladders attached. One had the name of the construction company on the van. Another had Virginia licenses plates. In addition to those obviously being commercial vehicles that were allowed to dump their debris without paying, each of those vans had a cargo capacity in excess of my trailer, and I was the one turned away.

      Now these practices and behaviors will apply to dropping off yard waste and will force me and I suspect others to only attempt drop-offs when the scales are open. It is too expensive and time consuming to risk travelling there and getting turned away, even when we know that our loads are less than 500 lbs. For those of use that work for a living and Saturday is not a frequent option, we’re either shut out or severely limited.

      So the issue is not just about $11.50. It is about not discouraging responsible residential recycling, increasing the cost to people that save the County money transporting their own materials, not being incorrectly denied access to the facility services by contractor employees, and not severely limiting hours of access for residents. It may be more appropriate to charge commercial lawn or tree services to recycle, but for residents, it is not only mis-directed policy, it discourages recycling and creates several new obstacles to access.

    3. Anonymous3:47 PM

      Why was a truck with VA tags being allowed to dispose at a MD waste station anyway???

  2. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Charging anyone with less than a ton of waste is ridiculous. Lawn contractors swarm Montgomery County cutting lawns, gathering leaves, and trimming trees. They put all this waste by the road and a county paid contractor company's trucks pick the waste up and haul it away. How about a better designed waste disposal system for all county entities? How about checking on these landscape companies to see if they and their employees are paying local, state, and federal taxes?

  3. Anonymous5:26 PM

    The real problem here is that no one with half a brain in the county has determined a way to actually make money from the items they are recycling. Many municipalities turn these types of items into a profit. Do, that and then let anyone who wants to drop off as much as they want for free. With the amount of yard trim alone, we could probably generate a huge amount of electricity for the county, and with proper scrubbing systems at a minimal environmental impact.

  4. Valid points. I'm not sure the county tracks issues via social media so I encourage you to provide direct feedback to Solid Waste Services so this enters their issue tracking system.

    (There might be other or better ways to provide feedback.)

    It'd be a shame to let a cogent and thoughtful first-hand account of the contract employees actions be lost here.

    Thanks for taking the time to bring this to the county's attention.


  5. The DEP, Division of Solid Waste Services has the following comments to make about the decision to charge for loads of yard waste over 500 pounds.
    • There had been an ongoing problem with many customers coming in with very large loads of tree sections, limbs, etc., claiming the material came from their homes. It was likely that many were contractors, but in unmarked vehicles, there was no basis for disputing the source of the material. The new policy judges all customers solely by the weight of the load, assures equitable treatment and prevents abuse.
    • The County does make revenue from selling mulch and compost; however, the revenues cover only a portion of the cost of operating and maintaining a seven-day a week receiving area with personnel, grinding equipment and loaders; a yard trim compost facility in Dickerson, MD with associated personnel and equipment; and collection and transportation services.
    • Regarding out-of-state tags, all material generated in Montgomery County is welcome at our facility. Therefore, out-of-state children assisting relatives in Montgomery County and businesses with customers in Montgomery County are welcome to use the facility, as long as they can provide a current utility bill for a relative or a work order for a customer confirming the material in their load was generated within the County.

    1. Anonymous8:41 PM

      Susanne, thank you for your reply, but the reasoning behind this is worse than I would have expected. If you're saying that the reason for this is that the transfer station employees cannot distinguish a residential from a commercial (contractor) vehicle, then that is the problem, not honest residents trying to recycle their yard waste. Very few residents purchase a commercial vehicle to get the groceries and pick up the kids or even haul things to the transfer station on the weekend. Nor can many contractors make money using vehicles with limited load carrying capacities and not designed for commercial vehicle wear and tear. Ok, maybe 10% of the time it may be hard to judge between the two (e.g., farm trucks), so a few cases may need to be conceded, but this makes no sense as a basis for charging residents to recycle. No business has any problem distinguishing between commercial and residential vehicles. It is not plausible that the transfer station employees cannot be trained to figure it out.

      You then go on to talk about the cost not being covered. Ok, but my property tax bill has a charge of a couple hundred dollars each year titled "Solid Waste Charge". The "Tax Facts" booklet that accompanies my bill says it is "for County supported solid waste and recycling services, facilities and programs". You imply that this is an added fee on residents to cover costs, but we're already paying for these services. Who approved the change and the increase in cost to residents? Was this ever subject to public notice (that we never were made aware of) and comment or was this a decision just made by DEP to increase revenues?

      Finally, in all the places that I've lived, I've never seen a municipal landfill or recycling facility that allows out of state tagged vehicles to drop off material for free. Quite to the contrary, even with in-state tags, you often have to prove property ownership or residence within the county or township or be charged for dropping. Your example justifying the practice is reaching at best. In the circumstance that the person described above, it was a commercial vehicle with Virginia tags being allowed to drop its load in the residential drop off area without paying. That's not only wrong, but it is costing the DEP and residents of Montgomery County more at a time that you indicate that cost are not covered.

      This change may make sense to the DEP, but the reasons behind it don't make any sense to me and I suspect others. Fix the transfer station before charging residents for recycling.

  6. Anonymous7:47 AM

    So now if I take a tree down at my house or one falls, and it weighs 900 pounds. Rather than take it in one after hours trip, I will have to break it in two and make two trips, wasting gas polluting the air, and severely punishing a resident who was not violating the rules to begin with. It's not only the fee, its the burden of having to do it during work hours and having to wait in line for the scales.

    If what Susanne says is the motivation behind this change is true, it absolutely makes no sense. The fact that residents are being saddled with this because contractors are lying about what they are dropping off is ridiculous.

  7. Anonymous11:23 PM

    I won't be wasting my time presenting my case to the Division of Solid waste and I hope you all don't waste your time either. Please share your thoughts with the county executive, Ike Leggett at or call his office at 240-777-0311. To charge county residents for the transfer station costs that we already fund via hefty taxes is absurd. And for the county to impose these charges on us to keep contract workers and out of stater's from dumping at OUR facility is even more ridiculous and lazy of them. There is a simple solution...issue us tax payers a permit that sticks to the inside of our windshields like other jurisdictions do. I hope everyone spreads the word and write's Ike directly. A quick e-mail will go a long way to wake up these guys.

  8. Anonymous12:00 PM

    I am 67 years old and I do all my tree work myself. I have been hauling branches to recycling in a small trailer. This would take multiple trips to the center and I was taking too long to unload. I felt like I was tying up other people. Last year I purchased a $4,500 dump trailer with the main use to hull to recycling center. My thoughts were this would save me money in the long run with less trips and sale of trailer when I move would be good due to fact unit is not used as a commercial vehicle.
    Looks like I will have to go back to hauling small loads or tying branches up for pickup.
    Another reason to leave this area.


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