(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington County will start collecting residents’ food scraps on Labor Day.
Residents receiving county curbside collection services — mostly those in single-family homes and townhouses — will be able to toss unused food into their green yard waste bins and bring them to the curb on collection day, starting Monday, Sept. 6. Those scraps will be composted in Prince William County and returned to Arlington as soil.
“This is going to be for everybody who is a part of the household solid waste collection program,” said Erik Grabowsky, the chief of the Solid Waste Bureau of the Department of Environmental Services, during a community forum last week.
Arlington will be the first jurisdiction in Virginia to provide the service to all residential customers, he said.
The initiative is part of the county’s goal to divert 90% of resources from landfills and incinerators by 2038. It is also the last significant program to be implemented from the county’s 2004 solid waste management plan, Grabowsky said.
“There are many good reasons for adding a food scraps collection program,” he said, such as diverting useable waste from landfills and incinerators. Creating and using compost “will build healthier soils and also allow us to pay attention to the amount of food waste we are generating — which may change purchasing habits and may save us money.”
County household waste collection customers should have received a postcard previewing the service change and will soon receive an informational cart hanger, he said. The second of two virtual community forums will be held tomorrow and the county will be delivering “starter kits” with a two-gallon food caddy, 40 compostable bags and educational materials, throughout the month of August.
Acceptable food waste and food scraps include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Meats, including bones, and old meat grease (sopped up with a paper towel)
- Dairy products and eggshells
- Coffee grounds, paper coffee liners and tea leaves (but not tea bags)
Residents should still put disposable containers and other products marketed as “compostable” in the trash.
“A lot of the materials have plastic liners,” said Adam Riedel, a county environmental management specialist. “We want to ensure the highest quality product, which means keeping out those contaminants.”
That could change if the federal government issues stricter regulations for creating and marketing disposable products as “compostable,” he said.
DES recommends keeping the pail, lined with a compostable bag, on a kitchen counter. Just before one’s weekly trash pickup time the food scraps should be bagged, put in the green cart and rolled out for collection.
Riedel said he keeps his pail on the counter and he notices no odor, but for those who are worried, he suggested keeping the pail or scrap bag in the freezer or refrigerator.
Grabowsky said he does not envision proper disposal requiring much enforcement.
“People generally comply with rules and regulations,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to have a contamination problem. If we do, we’re going to have to start having more aggressive action.”
The scraps will be converted into nutrient-dense soil at Freestate Farms in nearby Prince William County, per a new agreement approved by the County Board in February. The facility is run via a public-private partnership between Prince William County and the private corporation.
The scraps will go into special concrete bunkers, where they will be exposed to the right mixture of time, moisture and air that will cause the organic material to heat up and break down.
Some of that soil will return to Arlington to be used in parks, backyards and community gardens. It will also be available for pickup just like mulch.
Regardless of where in the county one lives, all residents can currently drop off their scraps at Earth Products Recycling Yard in Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.) or the Columbia Pike Farmers Market on Sundays and MOM’s Organic Market.
That may be how many Arlingtonians continue to dispose of their scraps, as expanding the program to apartments, offices and restaurants — which are all currently served by private waste collection companies — would require more collectors, Grabowsky said.
“We want the market to grow for people providing the service,” he said. “We have a facility that a can manage it — now we need the people who can collect it bring it to the facility.”
He expects the new program will increase the countywide recycling rate from 52.1% to somewhere between 53-55%.
This program will be funded through the Household Solid Waste Rate, Grabowsky said. Although this program is being added, the overall bill dropped to $318.61 due to other savings, he noted.
Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 13054 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
Arlington County police are looking for a pair of suspects in a serious assault yesterday evening. The incident happened Sunday just before 6 p.m., at the intersection of N. Glebe…
Mpanadas on Columbia Pike finally appears to be opening. The small “South American-inspired cafe” at 2602 Columbia Pike is planning a soft opening for Thursday, June 15 and a grand…
Meet Aliena, a feisty white rabbit who is the newest Adoptable Pet of the Week! This sweetheart is up for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and her…
🌿 𝐄𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫: 𝐑𝐞𝐣𝐮𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐥 🌿Local business is the heart of a strong community, and at Emerald Massage Center, we’re proud to be a vital part of that heartbeat. Our passionate team of Licensed Massage Therapists is dedicated to providing you with a sanctuary of relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal.🌟 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐖𝐞 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫 🌟Our wide range of massage services includes Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, sports massage, hot stone, aromatherapy, and more — all tailored to your individual needs. Whether you’re seeking relief from stress, muscle tension, or chronic pain, our skilled therapists will help you achieve total wellness.🏆 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 🏆Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we’re committed to providing a clean, comfortable, and serene environment for you to unwind. We use only the highest-quality natural products to ensure a luxurious experience that nourishes your body and mind.💚 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐁𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 💚By choosing Emerald Massage Center, you’re not only investing in your well-being but also strengthening our community. We appreciate your support and are grateful for the opportunity to serve you.Book your appointment today and discover the transformative power of Emerald Massage Center. Together, we can create a healthier, happier, and more connected community. 💆🏻♀️💆🏽🍃✨ Visit www.EmeraldMassageCenter.com to schedule your rejuvenating session now! ✨
Join MoCA Arlington Summer Camps at Marymount University and learn the fundamentals of handbuilding, throwing on a wheel, glazing, and much more. In this two-week course, students will explore hand building techniques, wheel throwing, and strengthen ideas that exemplify individual artist expression guided by professional working artists. Students of all skill levels are welcome!
Visit MoCA Arlington’s Website here and the registration page to secure your space today!
Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers
4th of July Celebration & Fireworks
Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.
Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,