The next three weeks will be a good time to clean out cluttered garages and basements and dump the trash free at Northern Landfill.
The county's annual free days at the landfill will be Oct. 6 and 13. The days give residents a chance to bring even a pickup full of garbage without having to pay the $4 charge.
"It's just a service. We do it every year," said James E. Slater, director of the Department of Natural Resources Protection.
He said residents can use the opportunity to do a fall housecleaning.
The landfill will be open its regular Saturday hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6 and 13.
In other news from the natural resources department: * Slater will give the county's first environmental awards later this fall to one business and one individual or private group. He said he hasn't worked out the specifics for the awards, but that they will be given annually and based on nominations from the public.
"It's all part of trying to keep the awareness up," he said. The award would consist of a plaque and a proclamation from the County Commissioners, who at a staff meeting with Slater Thursday approved of the idea.
Slater said he hopes the award will encourage businesses to recycle and minimize waste.
* The county will take a grinding machine on the road this winter to each town to chop Christmas trees into mulch, Slater said. In the past, Christmas trees just went into the landfills, he said. Grinding them saves landfill space and puts the trees to use as degradable mulch and fertilizer for towns and residents.
* Maryland's western counties are asking whether Carroll will shred tires for them, a service for which the other counties would pay, Slater said. The county has its own machine to shred tires brought to Northern Landfill, so that they take up less space.
He said he will meet with other county officials to work out the details.