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.

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448, Fairfax, Va 22035

John Kellas,
Deputy Director, Solid Waste Management

Transition from Plastic Bags for Yard Waste Collection FAQs

Accepted yard waste: grass clippings, leaves, straw, brush, small prunings, branches, vines, flowers.

Households that receive curbside collection of yard waste will be affected.

Yes, this applies to yard waste set out for collection in Fairfax County.

During this transition period, haulers will not be required to leave plastic bags uncollected. 

Yard waste brought to the I-95 Landfill Complex and the I-66 Transfer Station should be in paper bags, rigid containers, or loose in truck beds, but plastic bags will still be accepted during the transition period.

No, paper yard waste bags are readily available in grocery stores, discount stores, hardware stores, and garden centers.

There are so many options! You can order them online, you can buy them at the grocery store, you will find them at warehouse stores and garden centers.

No, that is considered an encroachment on park land and is illegal.

No, that is not an appropriate way to clean up fallen leaves.

No, the county has no plans to provide containers for its residential customers at this time.

No, yard waste should not  be mixed with trash.

No. Invasives, diseased, and noxious plants may be placed in black plastic bags and disposed of with household trash.

This is a transition period. Enforcement will be discussed at a later date.

Leaf vacuuming service is provided along with trash and recycling collection in Sanitary Districts. There is a petition process to have a Sanitary District created in your neighborhood. For more information, go to Petition Process.

No, air quality is adversely affected by burning yard waste.  Fairfax County air pollution control regulations (Section 103-3-11, Fairfax County Code) prohibits open burning, and 9VAC5-130-40-A-5 of the Virginia Administrative Code only allows open burning where there is no regularly scheduled collection service for yard waste.

Paper bags are reinforced to withstand our weather conditions. 

No, plastic bags should not be used for the collection of yard waste.

Please contact the Solid Waste Management Program so that we can discuss this change with your landscaping service. Call 703-324-5230 or email

You can often return unopened boxes of bags or use the bags for regular household waste.

Any material placed in a plastic bag; tree stumps, food waste, lumber, treated wood, pallets, sawdust, dirt, mulch, sod . Bags must weigh less than 50 pounds each; haulers are only required to pick up ten bags at a time from each residence. Brush may be limited to individual pieces or bundles of no greater than 50 pounds in weight, four feet in length, and no piece larger than six inches in diameter.

No, it is a violation of county code §109.1-2-2 to place yard waste in the same container as household waste.

Plastic bags can easily tear during collection and transportation of yard waste to the composting facility. These plastics can shred into smaller pieces and are released into the environment. 

The change is considered an administrative action as allowed by Sections 109.1-1-3(b) and (d) and 109.1-2-1 of the County Code.

Fairfax County will continue to enforce the restrictions on yard waste mixed with household waste.

Enforcement actions are not anticipated during the transition period.

Yard waste must be set out in the appropriate way.

Typically, there is one fee for monthly service that is not broken down by waste type.

Yard waste must be collected weekly.

No, recyclables go to a different facility that is not equipped to manage yard waste.

Yard waste brought to the I-95 Landfill Complex and the I-66 Transfer Station should be in paper bags, rigid containers, or loose in truck beds, but plastic bags will still be accepted during the transition period.

Mice, rats, raccoons, etc. will not be more attracted to yard waste in a paper bag. Please make sure that there is no food waste in the bag.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant