Public Works and Environmental Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative office is open 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mon. - Fri.
703-324-5230 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 458, Fairfax, Va 22035
Eric Forbes
Director, Solid Waste Management

Food Scraps Composting Drop Off

Fairfax County's Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) accepts food scraps for composting at two County facilities: the I-95 Landfill Complex and the I-66 Transfer Station. These sites are open seven days a week, Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. You can drop off your food scraps into one of the bins located in the designated drop-off areas (example shown below).

Compost Drop Off Site
Compost Drop Off bins

Due to a successful pilot program last year, the Fairfax County Parks Authority (FCPA) was able to bring composting to all Farmers Market locations! You can drop off food scraps for composting during market hours. Please visit the Fairfax County Farmers Market webpage to find a Farmers Market near you. *

Compost Drop Off Site picture 1 Farmer's markert
Compost Drop Off Site picture 2 Farmer's market

* The Farmers Markets do not accept yard clippings. If you’d like to compost your yard waste, please drop it off at the I-95 Landfill Complex or the I-66 Transfer Station.

How Does It Work?

Scrape food scraps into compost bucket
Scrape food scraps into compost bucket
Scrape food scraps into compost bucket

While you’re cooking dinner, scrape the trimmings from your vegetables or pieces of meat into your countertop container. This could be potato peels, bones, or egg shells. If you had coffee or tea, the grounds or the tea bag can go in too. After dinner, you can scrape whatever’s left on you plate into the container. You may choose to keep your food waste in your fridge or freezer before you’re ready to take it to the drop-off site. Or you may choose to use a sealed countertop container. Do whatever works for you.

When you’ve accumulated a good amount of food waste, it’s time to drop it off at the location that’s most convenient for you. If you lined the bucket with a compostable liner, you can throw that in too. If you used a regular plastic bag, you’ll need to empty the food scraps into the container and throw away the plastic bag separately. Rinse the bucket out when you get home. And pat yourself on the back – you just made a difference.

Please repurpose reusable, or compostable containers, bags, boxes, or bins for the purpose of transporting your food scraps to the drop-off sites. For more information, or general inquiries regarding this program, contact the Outreach Team at 703-324-5230.

The graphic below should tell you everything you need to know about what you can, and cannot, place into the food waste bins. It is important to keep contaminants like plastic bags, pet waste, and wrappers out of the bin.

Composting Yes

Compost Yes

  • Nuts
  • Breads, Cereal, Rice and Pasta
  • Meat, Seafood Bones
  • Cheese and Dairy
  • Salad
  • Vegetables
  • Flowers
  • Tea Bags and Loose Tea
  • Egg Shells
  • Fruit
  • Compostable Bags
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Compostable Kitchenware
  • Uncoated Paper Plates
  • Uncoated Paper Bags
  • Paper towels and Napkins (Kitchen Only)
Compost No

Compost No

  • Plastic Bags or Wrappers
  • Foil
  • Plastic Coated Cardboard
  • Oil or Grease
  • Styrofoam™

Frequently Asked Questions

A. You can drop off your compost at all ten Fairfax County Park Authority run Farmers Markets. Please visit the Farmers Market webpage for locations and hours.

Food scrap composting will be available during regular market hours. Please do not drop off food scraps before or after the regular market hours.

There are two locations at the Fairfax County Solid Waste Management facilities

The I-66 Transfer Station located at 4618 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA, 22030 

The I-95 Landfill Complex located at 9850 Furnace Road, Lorton, VA, 22079 

Hours of operation - OPEN 7 Days a week

  • Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Composting food waste could potentially reduce the amount of waste we produce by as much as 33% (EPA). Composting diverts our food scraps from landfills and incinerators. Composting is a sustainable alternative that puts the nutrients from our food scraps back into the earth and, eventually, our food system by using the finished compost as a fertilizer for local farms. Composting is the final step to completing a truly sustainable food cycle system.

Compost adds nutrients and organic matter back into soil, which benefits agriculture, reduces our reliance on synthetic fertilizers, diverts methane-producing organic materials, and improves soil’s water retention. Food scrap composting is just one way to reduce waste. Americans waste so much food every day – the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that between 30 - 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is never eaten.

You can store food waste in a closed container on your counter or in your fridge or freezer. You can use something like an old coffee container, a laundry pod container (they have the screw-on lids) or a compost caddy that is specially designed to hold food waste.

You can drop off your compost at two County facilities: the I-95 Landfill Complex and the I-66 Transfer Station, as well as all ten Farmers Markets. Please visit the Farmers Market webpage for locations and hours.

Compost drop-off at the county facilities is available during facility hours:

  • Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Compost drop-off at the Farmers Markets is available during Farmers Market hours. Visit the Farmers Market webpage for locations and hours.

You can buy certified compostable bags at grocery and home improvement stores in your area. You can also buy bags through major online retailers. Can’t find them in your neighborhood? Ask your local store to start carrying them. You can also make a bin liner from newspaper – watch this video!

If you choose to line your collection container, there are many options that do not require a special product. Collect scraps in newspaper and discard together or use a regular plastic bag to empty scraps into the green bin, then throw away the bag. You can also make a bin liner from newspaper – watch this video!

Empty and wash the kitchen container regularly. Lining the container with compostable bags or other material will make cleaning up easier. Some residents also store food scraps in bags or containers inside the freezer until they drop it off. If storing food waste outside, make sure the container latched and in a shaded area, especially during warm weather. Alternate layers of food scraps with shredded paper or newspaper to absorb moisture and odors.

It will if the container is accessible. Make sure the container you put outside has a tight-fitting lid.

All food items are accepted, including meat, dairy, and leftovers. Food-soiled paper like tea bags, coffee filters, napkins, and paper plates are also acceptable.

Yes! Meat, bones, and dairy are all accepted. The composting facilities and Farmers Markets are designed to compost these materials, as well as paper and certified compostable plastic liners.

The waste is taken to a local composting facility. Finished compost is used for landscaping and agriculture.

It is always better to have food consumed by people or animals. This program is intended to divert food that would otherwise go into the trash and turn it into a useful product. We encourage the support of local food banks, especially for dry goods. Here are some resources for food donation.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant