Fairfax County Achieves 50 Percent Recycling Rate

July 20, 2017
For Immediate Release

Fairfax County Achieves 50 Percent Recycling Rate

Many items can be recycled
Many items can be recycled by placing them in recycling bins for curbside collection.

Fairfax County's Solid Waste Management Program reported a 50 percent recycling rate for 2016, which exceeded the Commonwealth's goal of 25 percent. Jurisdictions are required to maintain a minimum recycling rate and to report data to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality each year.

In 2016 the Solid Waste Management Program recycled 522,093 tons of material, including 6,632 tons of tires, 8,244 tons of used oil, and 1,746 tons of batteries. Pamela Gratton, director of recycling, engineering, and environmental compliance, said, "Recycling provides an easy way for everyone in the county to help prevent pollution and reduce waste."

The recycling rate is calculated by dividing the amount of recycling by the total waste stream, which includes all refuse and recyclable materials. Fairfax County's recycling rate has trended upward since the county began tracking in 1999, and has increased by 20 percentage points in the past ten years.

Recycling and MSW
Fairfax County's recycling rate has increased as the volume of refuse has decreased. (MSW refers to municipal solid waste.)

The rate has increased, in part, because the overall volume of refuse in the county has declined during the same time period. This trend is significant and can be attributed to a number of factors including, but not limited to: lighter weight packaging; product substitution, such as replacing glass containers with plastic; and the overall reduction in paper use.

The Solid Waste Management Program continues to look for ways to increase recycling throughout the county. Residents are encouraged to use their curbside recycling bins; bring electronics, batteries, oil, and other household hazardous waste to drop-off locations in Lorton and Fairfax; compost organic material; and to reduce waste by choosing reusable bottles and shopping bags. This flyer lists what can and can't be recycled in Fairfax County. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to stores but should not be placed in recycling bins.


Contact: Matthew Kaiser, Public Information Officer 
Department of Public Works and Environmental Services 
703-324-8455, TTY 711


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