Each of the Park Authority’s 10 Farmers Markets now include food scrap disposal sites where customers can dispose of food waste to be composted. This expansion is the result of a highly successful pilot program that experienced strong customer support in 2022.
Composting is a natural process by which organic waste – anything derived from animal or plant sources -- is broken down into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Composting lowers greenhouse gases by improving carbon sequestration in the soil and by avoiding methane emissions. It is a sustainable alternative that puts the nutrients from our food scraps back into the earth.
The county’s compost program, operated by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services began in November 2020 with two drop-off sites. In 2022, the program expanded to include a pilot project with collection events co-located with five Farmers Markets. By the end of the year, nearly 37 tons of compost had been collected at the markets, eliminating an estimated 32.5 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
In 2023, the Park Authority will be utilizing Veteran Compost and Future Acres Urban Farming to assist with compost collection at each location. Food waste drop-off is only available during market hours. All food items are accepted, including meat, dairy and leftovers. Food-soiled paper, such as tea bags, coffee filters, napkins, and paper plates, are also acceptable. More than 1,000 food items can be composted. For details on the types of materials accepted, visit the Food Scraps Composting Drop Off webpage.
To find a Park Authority Farmers Market near you, visit the Farmers Market website. For more information about Farmers Markets or the food scrap collection program, please contact the Community Horticulture Office at 703-642-0128.