Licensed waste collectors and the County work together to provide a service that is critical to maintaining good public health and welfare, and the protection of our environment. An integral part of that mission is cooperation and collaboration from the county’s residents and businesses to reduce the amount of waste requiring disposal. Fairfax County’s recycling rate has been hovering at around 50% for 15 years. Participation rates are similarly flat. Surveys have shown that the top reason for this is that residents who don’t recycle say they don’t know what can and can’t be recycled. The purpose of the Four Touch Points Initiative (4TP for short) is to engage the collections industry in reaching out to residents with uniform and contemporary information on how to reduce waste and increase recycling.
Solid waste collection companies that provide service in Fairfax County are required to hold a Certificate to Operate (CTO), essentially a license to do business as a trash collector. Licensed collectors are listed as Permitted Solid Waste Collection Companies on the county website. 4TP requires licensed collectors to share waste reduction and/or recycling information (a “touchpoint”) with their residential customers at least four times per year (hence 4TP). Participation in 4TP will be considered as part of evaluating the renewal of each collector’s CTO every year.
The 4TP requirement took effect on January 1, 2023. Collectors can generate their own touchpoints (content) to share with customers or can choose to distribute content made available by SWMP. Self-generated touchpoints must be reviewed and approved by SWMP prior to distribution. Distribution to residents should be completed by the end of each quarter, specifically March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31 each year. Please see SWA 22-005 Guidance on Four Touchpoints Initiative (4TP).
The core of the 4TP requirement is the provision of stand-alone information to residential customers. Example forms of acceptable touchpoints include (but are not limited to) the use of phone-based applications/platforms, phone “blasts” to customers, email or hard-copy newsletters, postcards, flyers, and cart tags/stickers. Providing a URL to a website (e.g., somewhere on the bill or in the Statement of Service) will not be considered an acceptable touchpoint, although URLs may be used as part of any touchpoint to point the customer to further information on the chosen topic.