Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-5230
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448, Fairfax, Va 22035

John Kellas,
Deputy Director, Solid Waste Management

Glass

purple canAs of October 1, 2019, Fairfax County no longer accepts glass bottles and jars in the curbside recycling program. Residents should reuse glass containers or bring them to purple, glass-only recycling containers located throughout the region. If this is not possible, glass should be placed in the trash.

Glass creates many problems for single-stream recycling. It is heavy, which adds cost to transporting recyclables to and from recycling centers. Glass containers placed in curbside recycling bins break during collection and transport to material recovery facilities, or MRFs, where recyclables are sorted. The abrasive broken glass damages the machinery at the MRFs. Glass also contaminates bales of other more valuable items, such as cardboard and metals.

glass stock pileContamination has become a major problem for the recycling industry in the past two years since China, the largest customer for recycled material, imposed strict standards on the quality of recycled material it accepts. For years, most glass has passed through the recycling process as residue, or waste. Some of the glass is applied as alternative daily landfill cover, an approved use by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, but most of it is simply landfilled with other unrecyclable waste. Glass collected in the purple containers is handled differently. That glass is crushed and reused for county projects.

Broken glass: Carefully package into a rigid container. Label the package "GLASS" and set out with your trash for disposal.

See Also

 

Northern Virginia Glass Recover Map

Ask Fairfax Virtual Assistant