Transitioning Yard Waste Out of Plastic Bags

yard waste bags

KEY POINTS

  • Plastic bag pieces often end up in processed compost and back into the environment.
  • Residents encouraged to use paper bags or marked containers during this transition year.
  • Fairfax County joins seven D.C.-area jurisdictions that already discourage/prohibit plastic bags for yard waste.

Plastic is not always fantastic, especially for yard waste.

Fairfax County has begun phasing out the use of plastic bags for yard waste collection; 2020 will be a transition year. This decision aligns with the county’s environmental vision and was made to reduce the amount of plastic in our natural environment. We will join seven neighboring jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area that already discourage or prohibit the use of plastic bags for yard waste. 

Yard waste collection season runs from March through December. When yard waste – brush, leaves, and grass – is processed into compost, small pieces of shredded plastic end up in the organic material applied in gardens, yards and capital improvement projects. Even the best screening systems don’t remove all the plastic shreds.

“Plastic pollution is a big problem for our natural environment,” said Eric Forbes, with our Solid Waste Management Program. “This change will help eliminate a known source of plastic from entering our environment. By next winter we think everyone will have learned of the change and joined the many residents who have already switched to more environmentally friendly paper bags or reusable containers.” 

For more information, visit Transition from Plastic Bags for Yard Waste Collection FAQs.

Send questions or concerns to recycling@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-5230, TTY 711. 

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