Definition of Yard Waste: Grass, leaves and brush (i.e., small branches, twigs) from general yard maintenance. Yard waste does not include materials generated by tree removal, land clearing or home renovation projects.
Leaf and wood mulch is available, free of charge, to Fairfax County
Availability varies, so please call first to check on current supply.
How to Manage this Material
- Leave it at home: Compost and/or grasscycle and reap the benefits!
- Set it at the curb: Place leaves, grass or brush in a separate container (reusable container, paper bag or clear plastic bag). Brush can be tied in a bundle that is four feet or less.
- Transport it: Take yard waste to the I-66 Transfer Station or I-95 Complex. There is a small fee to process these materials.
- Leaves, grass and brush are collected at the curb all year long.
They are recycled March 1 - Dec. 24.
They may be disposed of as trash Dec. 25 - Feb.
- Christmas trees are collected separately during the first two weeks of January.
Yes! A reusable container or brown paper bag is best. They will not add
contaminants to the leaves and grass when composted. Clear plastic
bags cause equipment problems at the yard waste processing facility and
are difficult to remove. Never use dark plastic
bags. Yard waste in dark bags will likely be treated as trash
and not recycled.
Brush collected in Fairfax County is shred into mulch. Larger
material (e.g., stumps, logs) can damage the county's shredding
- If a private company collects your trash and recyclables, contact them to arrange for a special collection.
- If you have county trash and recycling service, call 703-802-3322, TTY 711 or schedule the collection online. See detailed guidelines in the county customer brochure: Trash and Recycling Collection Guidelines for Sanitary Districts.
- If you prefer, you can contact a junk removal company to remove the brush.
Recycling yard waste is important because it reduces the amount of
material destined for disposal. In an average year, about 200,000*
tons of yard waste is recycled in Fairfax County. In addition, the
byproducts of yard waste recycling, namely compost and mulch, can be used to improve lawns
*200,000 tons is not the total volume of yard waste recycled in Fairfax County; the number represents what is reported as being collected curbside and delivered to merchant composting sites. Homeowner (backyard) and nursery (in-house) yard waste accounts for an additional percentage (unknown) of plant material that is diverted from disposal to composting.
Fairfax County operates a brush grinding operation which produces double-shredded wood mulch for
residents. The mulch is FREE, clean, and of good
quality. Leaf mulch also is available on a
seasonal basis, usually November through March. When leaves and grass are
collected together, they are recycled into compost.
Townhome communities that do not generate large quantities of yard waste may apply for approval of an "alternative yard waste recycling system" through Fairfax County. For more information on the county’s recycling program requirements, call 703-324-5230, TTY 711 (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F).