Learn to Love Trash

soild waste management staff

It’s the holiday season and it’s likely you may end up with more things to recycle and dispose of as you celebrate.

Through a partnership of public and private sector resources, we manage approximately 1 million tons of solid waste a year. Though the vast majority of county homes and businesses are served by private collection companies, chances are some of the approximately 350 employees in our Solid Waste Management Program play a role.

“Our positions run the gamut, from laborers and equipment operators, to technicians and logistical support specialists, to customer service and communications specialists, all the way to traditional professions such as engineers, environmental scientists and accountants,” says Charlie Forbes, recycling, compliance and planning branch chief. Their schedules vary from the traditional “9-to-5” settings and also “dawn ’til dusk” roles, seven days per week in the field.


Sample of Recycling Services

We recycle a lot more than just paper, cans and bottles. The A-Z List of Recycling and Trash Topics includes close to 100 subjects.

Our solid waste team also disposes of contraband and other materials seized by the Police Department, court system and “off-spec” manufacturing and retail items. These can include controlled substances, drug paraphernalia and guns, but also unusual items such as old public safety clothing, obsolete postage stamps, clothing and other manufactured goods that failed to meet quality standards, and food and beverages that were improperly labelled or past their due date.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our services and respond to customers’ requests,” says Forbes.


By the Numbers

Four facts you may not know about solid waste (trash and recycling):

1. Our facilities convert waste to ash, which takes up 90 percent less space in our landfill. The I-95 landfill stopped burying solid waste in 1990.

2. Our trash and recycling programs are self-funded, which means they do not use funding from our county budget’s general fund. Most of the funding comes from fees from people or businesses that use our disposal services.

3. We have a waste-to-energy facility that generates enough electricity to power 75,000 homes a day by burning 3,000 tons of waste per day.

4. We convert the greenhouse gasses produced by the I-95 landfill into green energy – about 5 megawatts of electricity or enough for 3,100 homes. We sell some of that energy and use the rest to fuel for our wastewater treatment plant and the I-66 landfill. In total, this saves taxpayers about $205,000 per year in energy costs; decaying materials at the I-95 landfill produce gas that is recovered and converted.



Disposal Locations

Regardless of your weekly trash/recycling hauler (private or county), there are some items that won’t be picked up curbside such as hazardous waste. Here’s where to take those items this holiday season (note: some materials taken to the I-66 Transfer Station or I-95 Landfill Complex are subject to disposal fees or special processing fees).

I-95 Landfill Complex
(9850 Furnace Road, Lorton, VA 22079)
I-66 Transfer Station
(4618 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22035)


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