Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open to the public by appointment only at this time. Please call or email 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mon. - Fri. The permit office is open to the public with or without appointment 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mon. - Fri.

703-324-5230
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448, Fairfax, Va 22035

John Kellas,
Deputy Director, Solid Waste Management

Yard Waste

Yard Waste Collection Resumed June 15, 2020

Read Solid Waste Advisory for details: Licensed Collectors to Resume Selected Collection Services Required by Chapter 109.1

bundled yard debrisYard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, straw, flowers, small prunings, and brush (i.e., branches and twigs smaller than 4-feet in length) generated during general yard maintenance. Yard waste does not include materials generated during tree removal, land clearing, or home renovation projects such as tree stumps, lumber treated wood, pallets, sawdust, dirt, mulch, sod, or food waste.

How to Manage Yard Waste

  • Manage it onsite: Leave grass clippings on your lawn by grasscycling, and/or backyard composting yard waste along with other organics, such as food waste, to enrich your soil and promote healthy plants.
  • Set it out for curbside collection*: Use compostable paper bags or a rigid container. If you are a county customer, visit Curbside Yard Waste for setout instructions. If a private hauler collects your trash, please follow their instructions. 
  • Self-haul to a county facility: Yard waste is accepted at the county's I-66 and I-95 waste management complexes for a fee. For more information regarding fees, please visit residential disposal fees and regulations. See also Tree Stumps
  • Landscapers: See Yard Waste Guidance for Landscaping Companies flyer. Available in English and Spanish.

*Please Note: yard waste is collected at curbside year-round, but only processed for recycling from March 1 through December 24. With the exception of Christmas trees, between December 25th and the end of February, the small amount of yard waste generated is disposed of as trash.

Exceptions to Managing Yard Waste

Large amounts of yard waste & brush: If you are a county customer, please see Curbside Yard Waste. If a private hauler collects your trash, please contact them or a bulk/junk removal company for collection services.

Townhome Communities: Some townhome communities that do not generate a large amount of yard waste may be exempted from county collection requirements by seeking approval of an "alternative yard waste recycling system." For more information about how to qualify, please call our office at 703-324-5230, TTY 711.

Bagging Yard Waste

Use paper yard waste bags for grass clippings, leaves, and brush; they are durable, sustainable, and available in stores and online.

Paper Lawn Bags

yard waste in paper bags and reusable binWhen packaging yard waste for collection at the curb, please use compostable paper lawn bags or a rigid container. Fairfax County is working toward ending the use of plastic bags for yard waste. Eliminating plastic bags for yard waste collection will help reduce the amount of plastic in our natural environment.

Grasscycling

Grasscycling simply means leaving grass clippings on the lawn to promote a greener, healthier lawn. Any lawnmower can be used, but mulching lawnmowers cut the grass into smaller pieces and filter them back into the lawn, reducing clippings from clumping together or being tracked into a home or business.

Reasons for encouraging grasscycling:

  • Reduces labor for bagging, hauling, and disposing of grass clippings
  • Helps reduce worker injuries related to heavy lifting
  • Allows worms to do their job, recycling clippings naturally and improving soil quality
  • Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers by up to 50% and the cost of maintaining lawn health
  • Improves water retention and reduces fertilizer and sediment run-off
  • Fall leaves can also be mulched into the lawn rather than bagged and disposed

Composting

Many homeowners create compost from their organic waste (kitchen scraps and yard waste) and use it to return vital nutrients back to the soil. Some useful information about how to compost at home can be found on composting and more and the EPA's composting at home.

Christmas trees

Christmas trees are collected and recycled the first two weeks in January.

Yard Waste Management in Fairfax County

Fairfax County has a comprehensive yard waste recycling program for all residential and commercial properties, whereby waste haulers and landscapers deliver yard waste to a yard waste management facilities legally permitted to operate in the state of Virginia.

Each year the county and private haulers manage more than 200,000 tons of yard waste such as grass clippings, brush, leaves, and branches. You can assist by adopting all or some of the sustainable yard waste management practices suggested below.

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