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Year-Round Yard Waste Collection Still Up in the Air After Lawsuits

arlington-va-logoArlington’s once-planned, year-round yard waste collection is back on the table after lawsuits delayed its inception last summer.

Last year, the county approved moving to year-round yard waste collection, which would require Arlington residents to put leaves, branches and grass in new, green tubs to be collected every week alongside trash and recycling.

The yard waste would have increased the county’s recycling rate by 13 percent, then-Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said.

The county was forced to put the program on hold last June when, after awarding an all-in-one waste collection contract to American Disposal, the county’s former waste contractors, Bates Trucking and KMG Solutions, sued over the bid process, claiming “cronyism.”

The lawsuit from KMG was withdrawn last November, according to court records, and Bates’ suit was withdrawn in January. Neither the county attorney nor Bates Trucking have returned requests for comment on the lawsuits.

Once the lawsuits had been filed, the county canceled its contract with American Disposal and instituted an emergency contract without year-round yard waste collection, charging homeowners $271 per year for waste collection — cheaper than the previous fees when Bates and KMG were providing services.

During budget talks this year, according to county Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter, the year-round yard waste question is back on the table.

“Arlington County will finalize a new contract this spring for refuse and recycling services to single-family, duplex and townhouse properties,” Baxter told ARLnow.com in an email. “The County Board will consider whether year-round yard waste will be added to the other waste collection services during its annual budget process.”

The annual fee for homeowners has not yet been determined, Baxter said, nor has the fate of the green cans residents were supposed to receive last year. The County Board will adopt its FY 2016 budget later this month.

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