New Glass Recycling Rules in Effect in Fairfax County

Fairfax County residents are no longer required to place glass bottles, jars, and other glass items in curbside recycling bins.

The change, which went into effect on Tuesday (Oct. 1), was made at the request of private recycling sorting centers and Covanta Fairfax, Inc., which operates the area’s waste-to-energy plant.

In the past, county officials say single-stream recycling has caused major problems. Glass recyclables often break during collection and transport to recycling centers, contaminating other more valuable recycled items like cardboard and metals.

In recent years, China, the largest customer of recycled materials, has begun imposing strict standards on the quality of accepted recycled materials.

County officials also say glass has damaged machinery and is often heavy, adding costs to transporting recyclables to centers.

Residents can deliver glass containers to one of 21 purple recycling bins in the county. Recently, a new bin was added to the Reston South Park and Ride lot.

All colors of clean glass bottles and jars are accepted at purple containers. Light bulbs, lamps, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, window, and sheet glass cannot be recycled at the sites.

Collected glass will be processed by the region’s only glass processing plant in Lorton. Recycled materials will be used for pipe bedding, filter material, and other purposes.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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