Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open to visitors by appointment only. Please call or email from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
703-324-7136 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035
John Morrill


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Waste Metrics

Managing waste responsibly is an important part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Fairfax County. By reducing the amount of waste we create and changing the ways we manage the waste that is produced, we can cut down on related carbon emissions in our community. 

The Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) includes two strategies dedicated to waste reduction and management, both of which contribute to the overall CECAP goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. CECAP implementation efforts focus on the following areas: reducing generated waste, recycling including glass recycling, and composting. While CECAP focuses on community efforts, the Operational Energy Strategy (OES) focuses our waste management efforts in two main areas, Zero Waste for county operations, and sustainable procurement. 

This page highlights several waste sector specific metrics for progress in implementing both CECAP and OES.  


Reduce Waste Generated

reduce waste generated donut showing 2.4%

CECAP adopts a goal of “Zero Waste” by 2040, defined as diverting at least 90% of waste from landfills or incinerator facilities. Achieving CECAP’s Zero Waste goal will require reducing the overall volume of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream and to divert material that can be reused, repurposed, or recycled from the waste stream.  This goal accounts for 2.4% of the emissions reduction needed to meet the CECAP goal.  

COMMUNITY (CECAP) GOAL: Achieve community Zero Waste by 2040

CECAP_ Achieve community Zero Waste by 2040 with progress at 48%

COMMUNITY (CECAP) PROGRESS TO DATE: Material in the county’s waste stream is disposed of in two ways.  Some material is recycled through the county’s many recycling programs, including curbside recycling, yard waste composting, and e-waste recycling.  Material that is not recycled is incinerated at the Energy Resource Recovery Facility (E/RRF) in Lorton, Virginia. The share of the waste stream that is projected to be recycled has grown over time and is projected to continue growing, but the overall volume of waste is projected to grow. Projected Quantities of MSW (Excluding Yard Waste) for the Fairfax County’s Solid Waste Management System (Tons)

The total amount of municipal solid waste is gradually declining over time, even with increases in population. However, the recycling rate remains relatively constant. To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in the recycling rate will be needed.

annual solid waste generation and recycling rates in fairfax county

The county’s Operational Energy Strategy, applicable to county government operations, includes an even more ambitious goal of Zero Waste by 2030

COUNTY GOVERNMENT (OES) GOAL: Achieve Zero Waste by 2030 (defined as diversion of 90%)

OES_ Zero waste by 2030 with a 90% diversion with progress at 28%


Recycling is a significant component of the CECAP strategies to reduce and responsibly manage the waste generated in our community. 

COMMUNITY (CECAP) PROGRESS TO DATE: The chart below shows the types of waste material that fall within the “Recycling” category in Fairfax County and tonnages in 2022. Yard waste remains the largest category. It is important to think of yard waste as a recyclable material and organic asset, instead of a waste product. 

2022 tons of material recycled in fairfax county by type

Glass Recycling

The “Purple Can Club” allows residents to leave their clean, empty glass containers in purple glass-only dumpsters for collection; the glass is then resold to commercial glass manufacturers or repurposed as building material.

COMMUNITY (CECAP) PROGRESS TO DATE: As of 2019, Fairfax County stopped accepting glass in curbside recycling. Since the start of the program, more than 14,000 tons of glass have been recycled and diverted from incineration at the Energy Resource Recovery Facility (E/RRF.)

tons of glass recycled in fairfax county 2019-2022


Another strategy to responsibly manage our generated waste is composting.

COMMUNITY (CECAP) PROGRESS TO DATE: County residents can now drop off food scraps seven days a week at either the I-95 Landfill Complex or the I-66 Transfer Station. Drop-off is also available at Fairfax County Farmers Markets when in season.

Find a location to drop off your glass here, or where to bring your compost.

screenshot of climate action viewer showing locatons of purple can glass recycling locations and the farmers markets


Ready to take action? Visit our Waste page to learn more about reducing and responsibly managing the waste we generate —to help mitigate climate change and improve resiliency. Refer to the Department of Public Works & Environmental Services for detailed information about solid waste management programs and policies, including trash and recycling services.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant