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Charles County residents who participate in the county’s curbside recycling program no longer have to worry about whether all their recycling will fit into the bins, if other people can see the products they purchase or that their recyclables will be blown about by the wind.

New 95-gallon carts are being delivered to homes that participate in the county’s recycling program. The carts have lids so that others will not be able to see inside and the wind will not be able to move their recyclables.

The switch to new carts will not affect the county’s recycling schedule. The carts will replace the 18-gallon bins residents have been using since 1993.

Thomas Alexander lives in White Oak Village with his mother. He said he heard the new carts being delivered Sunday morning to his subdivision, and he and his mother wondered if it was the county collecting trash early for the week. Trash pickup is on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

While Alexander and his mother, who have lived in the Waldorf neighborhood for two years, did not use a recycle bin before, he said they plan to use the cart they received to start recycling for the first time. He said they had cardboard, paper, soda bottles, water bottles and plastic detergent containers ready for recycling.

“I never liked those little bins because anybody walking by could tell [what you had in it],” Alexander said.

He said identity thieves will look in people’s trash and also will look in recyclables.

“What you put in trash, a person could tell what you have in your house,” Alexander said. If a box for a TV is in the trash, then someone can see that you have a new TV in your house.

Alexander said the new carts are “much better.”

“We tend to recycle a lot, so this is a big help,” Nigel Williams said. Williams, his parents and his brother have lived in White Oak Village for nine years. He said they were filling three recycling bins every two weeks.

Mario Williams, Nigel’s father, said the family has been recycling “all our lives.” They recycle newspapers, bottles, glass, cans, anything that is recyclable.

“I recycle. I love it. You should do it. I don’t know why people don’t,” Mario Williams said.

County spokeswoman Donna Fuqua said as of Monday 6,200 houses had received a new cart. Delivery of 31,800 more carts will take place through November.

Fuqua said the majority of households that participate in the county’s recycling program needed three or four recycling bins. Requests were made to the Environmental Resources Division in recent years for recycling carts. The new carts will enable more space for residents to recycle cardboard and paperboard, and the lids on the carts will prevent litter. The county anticipates the participation of more residents in the program because of the new carts.

The county’s curbside recycling program, Fuqua said, is available to the more densely populated areas of the county, but expansion of the program occurs each fiscal year. Participation in the program is voluntary, and some residents choose not to participate for various reasons, including because they take their recyclables to one of the county’s recycling centers or because they do not see “the benefit recycling provides to their household,” she said.

Apartment complexes in the county, as well as residents in the towns of Indian Head and La Plata, are excluded from the program. The towns manage their own recycling programs.

The county’s recycling program started in 1990, Fuqua said, when Recycling Action for Charles County, a volunteer organization, operated Saturday-only recycling drop-off in Waldorf. From 1992 to 1995, the county assumed responsibility of the program and expanded it to several drop-off centers.

The county has single-stream recycling, which means residents do not have to sort their recyclables, just put them all in one container for pickup.

“Single-stream recycling eliminates the cumbersome process of sorting and separating recyclables,” Fuqua said. “By eliminating the need to sort, it’s easier for residents to recycle, resulting in increased recycling participation.”

The new carts will “improve route efficiency, resulting in improved curbside service for the residents of Charles County,” Fuqua said.

Fuqua said the wheeled carts are easy to roll “and can be handled by some of the county’s most ambitious recyclers,” including school-age children and seniors.

The county’s curbside recycling program accepts cardboard, glass bottles, plastic bottles and containers, magazines, newspapers, yogurt cups and paper products among many items. Items not accepted for recycling include Styrofoam, light bulbs, mirrors, food waste, plastic grocery bags and household hazardous waste.

Recycling is picked up every other week. Neighborhoods and roads are assigned a regular day for pickup.

To learn more

Have questions about recycling in Charles County?

Go to, or call the recycling information line at 301-932-5656 or 301-870-5481.

A complete list of acceptable items for recycling is available at