Holiday Tips from Public Works and Environmental Services


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Tips for a Safer, Greener Holiday Season

Give Your Home a Tree

Fairfax County is in need of more trees planted on residential properties. This holiday season, before the ground freezes, plant a tree on your property. If you plan on purchasing a live Christmas tree, you might also consider purchasing a tree, with the root ball intact, to plant after the holidays. For details on tree planting, care and benefits, contact a Fairfax County Urban Forester at 703-324-1770, TTY 711.

Recycle Your Cut, Live Christmas Tree

If you receive curbside pickup of trash and recycling, you can recycle your live Christmas tree (less than 8 feet) on your normal collection date. The cost is included as part of your regular, paid collection service.  For larger trees, contact your collector for recycling instructions. Christmas trees may also be recycled during the first two weeks in January at either the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex. There is a small processing fee of $1 per tree. Please remove tree stands, ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree toppers before recycling.

Keep Storm Drains Free from Leaves, Snow and Ice

Give rain, snow and ice melt somewhere to go during the fall and winter. Clogged storm drains lead to flooded and/or iced roadways. Bagging leaves and yard waste and moving snow piles/drifts away from storm drains can make a big difference by keeping water flowing downstream. 

Conserve Energy and Use Care with Lighting

Using LED decorative lights and timing devices can reduce energy usage during the holiday season. Never leave lights on overnight. Be sure to carefully inspect wires for fraying and other damage and to follow the manufacturer's instructions when connecting lights in sequence using power strips or connecting to outlet adapters—overloading a circuit can overheat wires and cause fires.

Inspect and Clean Your Chimney

Chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned as necessary by a certified chimney sweep.

Use Firewood from Local Sources

Having a roaring fire during the holidays can still be fun if residents follow the simple rule of burning wood only from local sources. Doing this helps prevent the spread of dangerous forest pests – like the emerald ash borer – that threaten the health of our forests. It is against the law to transport firewood outside quarantine areas. For more information, contact the Fairfax County Forest Pest Branch at 703-324-5304, TTY 711.

Recycle Packaging and Gift Wrap

Cardboard boxes and packaging, gift wrap (with the exception of foil wrap) and holiday cards can all be recycled at the curb you’re your normal recycling collection service.

Can the Grease

You can prevent sewer backups and overflows by pouring fats, oils and grease into a metal can or other container and adding an absorbent (like kitty litter or a paper towel). Throw the can in the trash when full. Waste cooking oil is also collected in a specially-marked container at the I-66 Transfer Station.

This information is also available as a poster.

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