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Morning Notes

Running Store Coming to Pentagon City — “Federal Realty Investment Trust has leased the last bit of vacant retail space at Westpost, the 14-acre mixed-use development a short walk from where Amazon.com Inc.’s new headquarters buildings will stand. The leases put the roughly 297,000-square-foot retail center on course to be fully occupied in the first half of 2022 after a handful of notable vacancies, including the nearly 34,000-square-foot former Bed, Bath & Beyond to be replaced by a Target store, and the roughly 4,500-square-foot space where Road Runner Sports will replace a shuttered Unleashed by Petco.” [Washington Business Journal]

Library Seeking Latino History Donations — “Over the last three decades, Arlington’s Latino community has rapidly grown and stockpiled a wealth of history. And this week, librarians and historians at the Center for Local History at Arlington Public Library are asking for donations of documents to archive the county’s Hispanic history. The project is called Re-Encuentro de Arlington Latinos.” [WTOP]

Rock Climbing Gym Goes Green — “Earth Treks Crystal City prides itself as a rock climbing outlet for people living in a metropolitan area and the business in northern Virginia hopes its roots in rock climbing can bring forward better environmental practices… Earth Treks announced recently its partnership with a Virginia company that allows its climbers to bring in old and rundown equipment — shoes, water bottles and harnesses — which will be reused in a variety of ways, including to make dog harnesses.” [WUSA 9]

Synetic Returns to Theater — “Last night night found me in Crystal City, where Synetic Theater was back in its performance venue for the first time since the pandemic, staging a production of ‘The Madness of Poe…’ Performers were not masked, a nice change after recent experiences with a number of troupes who use Arlington Public Schools facilities and are not allowed to let their actors, though all vaccinated, go without masks.” [Sun Gazette]

New Commuter Bus Service Funded — “The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission plans to fund a new express bus service, part of efforts aimed at reducing congestion connected with Interstate 66 and the Beltway. The commission approved a plan yesterday to fund the bus service with over $5.1 million for two years. Routes would run from the Reston South Park and Ride lot to key destinations in Arlington County that include the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City.” [Reston Now]

More Studies for Route 7 Bus Route — “A regional study of the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) route from Tysons to Alexandria is moving into a new phase that will assess options through the Seven Corners area. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted last night (Thursday) to approve a contract for the fourth phase of its Envision Route 7 mobility analysis study.” The bus might also make a stop at the East Falls Church Metro station in Arlington. [Tysons Reporter]

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A past E-CARE event (via Arlington County)

Arlington County will host the latest iteration of its biannual E-CARE event this weekend, offering locals a chance to dispose of hazardous materials and other stuff from around the house.

Locals can bring approved items to the drop-off site at 1425 N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Liberty High School, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9.

“No E-CARE was held in 2020 for COVID-19 safety,” the county noted in a press release. “This spring, a scaled-down version still collected almost 95 thousand pounds of household hazardous materials (HHM) and 26 thousand pounds of used electronics, dropped off by 1,870 Arlington residents, a new record.”

“Returning for the first time since 2019, the group Bikes for the World will take bicycle donations for use as basic transportation overseas,” the press release added. “Also, back for Oct. 9: a special collection area dedicated to metal item recycling.”

In addition to bikes, electronics and small metal items, the following items will be accepted at drop-off:

  • Automotive fluids
  • Batteries
  • Car care products
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Corrosives (acids/caustics)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammable solvents
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fuels/petroleum products
  • Household cleaners
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Mercury
  • Paint products (25-can limit)
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons (pesticides)
  • Printer ink/toner cartridges
  • Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
  • Swimming pool chemicals

Also being collected: “household devices containing mercury (thermostats, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, manometers, barometers, hygrometers and liquid mercury)” as well as compact fluorescent lights.

The following will not be accepted.

  • Asbestos
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Freon
  • Medical wastes
  • Prescription medications
  • Radioactive materials
  • Smoke detectors

Residents are asked to place hazardous materials and electronics in separate cardboard boxes for easy handling and to prevent spills. The cardboard boxes will then be recycled.

Participants will also be required to wear masks and stay in their cars as crews unload the items.

This event is only for Arlington residents. Commercial waste is not accepted. Participants will be asked to verify their residency at the event.

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We’re now in week two of food scrap collection in Arlington.

If you receive Arlington County’s residential trash collection service, then you can now place compostable items in your green organics cart instead of the trash. Earlier this summer the county distributed a countertop caddy and compostable bags to residential collection customers as a way to collect food scraps in the home.

(Apartment and condo residents who receive private collection service can drop off food scraps at designated locations.)

Examples of items that can be composted include:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Meats, including bones, and old meat grease (sopped up with a paper towel)
  • Dairy products and eggshells
  • Breads
  • Coffee grounds, paper coffee liners and tea leaves (but not tea bags)

Food and beverage containers that are marked as compostable, some of which actually contain a plastic lining, should be kept out and placed in the trash instead, officials previously said.

For those who still have questions about how to best go about collecting and disposing of food scraps, a dedicated county web page has answers and a new county-produced video, below, also offers tips. Among them: place a paper towel at the bottom of the bag to soak up liquids, and be sure to wash the caddy with soap and water regularly.

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Morning Notes

Pupatella Gets Millions for Expansion — “Arlington’s own Pupatella pizza restaurant chain has raised $7.5 million to continue its growth spurt, with plans to open more more than a dozen restaurants in the coming years. The round was fully subscribed and had participation from almost all of the investors who participated in the company’s first round in 2018, when it raised $3.75 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Steel from WTC Donated to Arlington — “Two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center will now be on permanent display in D.C. and Virginia ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The words ‘never forget’ are written on the front of a piece of steel beam unveiled during a ceremony in front of the Arlington County Police Officer Memorial on Sunday.” [WTOP]

Crystal City Getting Cooler? — “Nearly three years after Amazon announced it would be bringing its second headquarters to Arlington — and specifically to ‘National Landing,’ a name conjured by local officials to sell the area as a tech hub — its reputation may be changing.” [Washington Post]

Big Win for Fmr. Youth Soccer Star — “Congratulations to #TeamArlington alum [Eryk Williamson] and the @usmnt on winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.” [Twitter, ALXnow]

Food Scrap Caddy Being Delivered — “With Arlington’s weekly food scraps collection program launching next month, a County-provided countertop caddy, instructions and even introductory biodegradable bags will be delivered to curbside customer homes beginning this week.” [Arlington County]

Fire Engine Involved in Crash — “An Arlington fire engine was involved in a crash at the intersection of 18th Street S. and S. Fern Street this morning around 9:30. No firefighters were injured. One person in the second vehicle involved was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay, per an ACFD spokesman.” [Twitter]

CPRO to Mark 35th Anniversary — “As the group’s 35th anniversary looms on the horizon this fall, the recent annual meeting of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) was a chance to take stock of tumultuous times and fly the organization’s flag in the march toward the future.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Poetry Book — “I picked up a copy of the ‘Written in Arlington: Poems of Arlington, Virginia’ edited by Katherine E. Young, our poet laureate emerita. Published quietly last fall during the pandemic, it showcases storytelling via 150 poems by 87 poets who ‘live, work, study, worship in or simply pass through… and in so doing, make Arlington their own,’ Young explains. She nodded to famous Arlington-based poets — George Washington Parke Custis, Doors singer Jim Morrison, and Zitkala-Sa.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) If hazardous materials and old electronics have been piling up around your Arlington home, help is on the way.

Arlington County is relaunching its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) after an extended pandemic hiatus. The event is scheduled to return on Saturday, May 22, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at 1425 N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Liberty High School

The twice-yearly event usually allows residents to dispose of their hazardous household materials, electronics, and large metal objects — though metal is out this go-round.

“They won’t be taking bikes and big/small metal things, from ducts to frying pans,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin. “Maybe by the fall.”

(An appointment-only drop-off at the Earth Products Yard near Shirlington remains an option for smaller metal scrap.)

E-CARE is only available for personal use — businesses and commercial waste should be disposed of elsewhere. Residents are also encouraged to combine their scrap to reduce total trips.

Accepted materials listed on the County website include:

  • Automotive fluids
  • Batteries
  • Car care products
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Corrosives (acids/caustics)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammable solvents
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fuels/petroleum products
  • Household cleaners
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Mercury
  • Paint products (25-can limit)
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons (pesticides)
  • Printer ink/toner cartridges
  • Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
  • Swimming pool chemicals

There are some limits, however, so be sure to leave your spare plutonium and uranium at home.

  • Asbestos
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Freon
  • Medical wastes
  • Prescription medications
  • Radioactive materials
  • Smoke detectors

Electronics can be collected curbside on weekdays by special request submitted online, and can also be dropped off at the Electronic Collection and Recycling Center at Water Pollution Control Plant Gate 3 (531 31st Street S.).

Photo via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

County Getting Paid for Glass Recycling — “Arlington’s glass recycling drop-off program continues to shatter expectations–surpassing 5 million pounds (2,500 tons) collected since its debut in 2019. And the effort is officially paying off. The County now receives $15 per ton for glass collected as the result of a new hauling and commodity contract with a Pennsylvania recycler.” [Arlington County]

VDOT’s Route 1 Proposal Bombs — “As a new vision for Crystal City’s portion of U.S. Route 1 comes into focus, local businesses, neighbors and the area’s dominant landlord are all becoming increasingly concerned… Renderings unveiled in a Virginia Department of Transportation meeting Wednesday night have united the National Landing Business Improvement District, JBG Smith Properties and some neighborhood activists in opposition over fears that the designs are still too car-centric.” [Washington Business Journal, Twitter]

Police Warn of Ongoing Scams — “The Arlington County Police Department is sharing information on common scams circulating in Arlington County and ways you can spot, avoid, and report them. The public should be particularly cautious of anyone calling, emailing, or interacting with them and requesting payment in the form of gift cards as this is often a red flag for fraud.” [ACPD]

Driver of Stolen Car Escapes — “At approximately 2:15 a.m. on March 3, a patrol officer observed a stolen vehicle traveling on S. Carlin Springs Road. Before a traffic stop could be initiated, the driver accelerated the vehicle and made evasive turns before pulling over and fleeing the scene on foot. A perimeter was established and officers, with aerial support from the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division, conducted a search for the driver with negative results.” [ACPD]

New Race Planned Next Weekend — “Join Arlington For Justice and Black Parents of Arlington for the 1st Run For Her Life (Women’s Only) 5k WALK and YOGA Event… March 13, 2021 at 2 p.m.” [Facebook]

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The Arlington County Board is going to consider adding food scraps collection to its solid waste services in the 2021-22 budget.

This change would allow residents to toss their food scraps with their yard waste in the existing green bins. All the organic material would be taken to a composting facility and the new service would cost less than $12 annually for those paying the household solid waste rate, according to county staff.

“We should have more information in the spring,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow in an email.

The county is mulling the move after being encouraged by positive community feedback. A majority of residents, surveyed in November and December, said they support mingling food scraps and yard waste. The survey garnered 3,973 respondents, of whom 79% supported the addition of food scraps to their organics carts, O’Brien said.

DES pushed out the feedback form to the household trash and recycling email list, which has about 27,575 people signed up for it, added DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.

“We believe there is a great support for the program — as evidenced by the feedback form and what we’ve heard through the years since introducing the green organics cart with year-round yard waste,” she said.

This potential service change would only be available to those who receive residential waste collection from the county — mostly people in single-family homes, as opposed to apartment and condo residents served by private waste haulers.

Currently, all county residents can drop off their scraps at Earth Products Recycling Yard in Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.) or the Columbia Pike Farmers Market on Sundays. The county also provides instructions for backyard composting.

Arlington’s quarterly trash audits have revealed that food scraps make up more than 20% of what residents throw out. According to the county’s website, collecting food scraps would support the county’s goal of diverting up to 90% of waste from incineration by 2038.

During the week, residents would collect their fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy in a countertop pail. Once the pail fills up, residents would place the scraps — bagged in paper or compostable bags — in their green organics cart and take it to the curb on trash pickup day.

To limit odors, staff recommend lining the pail with a bag, emptying it regularly and rinsing it occasionally. Freezing the scraps also reduces odors. Like the yard trimmings, food scraps will be brought to a permitted composting facility.

The County has collected grass clippings, cut flowers, brush, hedge trimmings and leaves year-round since 2016.

Photo (top) by The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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(Updated at 10:50 p.m.) Arlington County is trying to make its recycling service more efficient, and that means keeping items that don’t get recycled out of the stream.

In a pamphlet that’s being left for those served by the county’s waste collection contractor — mostly those in single-family homes — residents are urged to avoid putting “contaminants” in the blue recycling cart, even if they have a recycling logo.

What can be recycled can be simplified down to: (1) uncontaminated paper products, and (2) plastic and metal containers enclosed by bottle caps, lids or tabs.

A number of common materials are not usable by the company that processes Arlington’s recycling, and clutter the recycling stream before ultimately going to a landfill. According to pamphlet and other county guidance, those include:

  • Glass
  • Paper towels and greasy pizza boxes
  • Plastic bags including garbage bags (recyclables should be placed directly in the cart)
  • Plastic and padded envelopes, including those used by Amazon
  • To-go paper coffee cups, including Starbuck cups
  • Wrappers and single-use plastics like coffee lids, Solo cups and small yogurt containers
  • Foam containers and packing materials
  • Pots and pans

According to the pamphlet, the vast majority of what is recycled in Arlington — about 75% of material collected — is paper and cardboard. Metal items make up 5% and recyclable plastics are about 7%. The rest, as determined by a waste stream sort in the last quarter of 2020, is glass and other non-recyclable material.

Non-recyclable material in the recycling stream reduces the revenue the county receives from its recycling processor per ton of collected material, resulting in higher waste collection fees for residents, the pamphlet says. This spring the processor will examine a sample of the materials coming from Arlington to determine the rate the county will receive going forward.

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(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) The following may ruin an important part of your holiday experience by revealing that a long-held belief held by many is, in fact, fiction.

But here’s the truth: the festive red paper cup containing your peppermint mocha is not recyclable, at least not in Arlington.

That’s the message from the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, which posted the reminder on social media Monday morning.

“Festive? Definitely. Recyclable? Nope,” DES wrote. “The slick lining in single-use take-out coffee cups means they need to go in the trash. Alas, the tops too because of their mixed plastic.”

To be clear, this is not just an Arlington issue. Most recycling systems reject paper Starbucks cups due to the difficulty in separating the paper from the lining.

Disposable coffee cups, meanwhile, are not the only seemingly recyclable thing — complete with recycling logos — that is actually not recyclable in Arlington’s single-stream residential recycling collection.

Other things you can’t recycle in the blue bins include plastic bags — garbage bags, grocery bags, etc. — plus disposable Solo cups, shredded paper, paper plates and boxes soiled by food or grease, and styrofoam containers. Oh, and also glass, though that can be dropped off at purple bins around the county.

Arlington lists items that can be recycled on its website. The recycling “MVP” that is in high demand, according to the county, is aluminum products like cans, foil and trays.

Arlington’s residential recycling collection mostly serves single-family homes in the county. Those in condos and apartments are served by private haulers who may have different rules about what can and cannot be recycled.

Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash

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Arlington County is looking at ways to make composting easier for residents.

County staff are considering a collection service that would allow residents to mix their food scraps with their yard trimmings for collection. They are asking residents to share their thoughts in a survey available through Friday, Dec. 4.

Quarterly trash audits reveal that food scraps make up more than 20% of the residential waste stream. Staff said collecting food scraps would support the County’s goal of diverting up to 90% of waste from incineration by 2038.

According to the County’s website, the weekly service would cost less than $12 annually, far less than the City of Falls Church, which charges $66, and the rates of private haulers, which charge up to $360.

“Many communities have successfully implemented food scraps collection programs in the manner proposed by the County,” the website said. “By implementing a food scrap collection program, residents would increase the County’s recycling rate, reduce the amount of County trash incinerated, create soil amendments and depending on individual actions, save money, reduce food waste, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

During the week, residents would collect their fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy in a countertop pail. Once the pail fills up, residents would place the scraps — bagged in paper or compostable bags — in their green organics cart and take it to the curb on trash pickup day.

To limit odors, staff recommend lining the pail with a bag, emptying it regularly and rinsing it occasionally. Freezing the scraps also reduces odors. Like the yard trimmings, food scraps will be brought to a ” Virginia-permitted composting facility certified by the U.S. Composting Council.”

The County has collected grass clippings, cut flowers, brush, hedge trimmings and leaves year-round since 2016.

(The service is available to those who receive residential waste collection from the county — mostly those in single-family homes. Apartment and condo residents are typically served by private waste collection haulers.)

“The year-round program has been very successful — so much so that the County is now considering the addition of leftover food scraps including fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy,” the county said.

Currently, all Arlingtonians can bring scraps to the Earth Recycling Yard at the Arlington County Trades Center from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Some farmers markets also recycle food scraps.

The County sees a food scrap collection service as a chance to educate people about reducing food waste and improving the environment.

In addition to saving households money, the County website on food scrap collection said there are other benefits to preventing food waste, including “learning to make better use of leftovers, minimizing spoilage by storing refrigerated and perishable items properly, and most importantly, that each of us has a direct role in reducing food waste both inside and outside the home.”

It listed several environmental benefits: reducing methane emissions from landfills, conserving energy, and reducing pollution.

Compost pail photo by The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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Have some pumpkins that you want to become compost? Paper that you want shredded? Rocks that you want out of your yard?

You’ll be able to do all three of those things at a single county-run event next month.

Arlington County is planning a free “Pumpkin Drop-Off, Free Paper Shredding & Inert Material Drop-Off” event on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. It’s being held at the county’s Earth Products Yard near Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.).

“Unload that moldering pumpkin and have it become compost – just be sure to remove decorations, paint, etc.” says the county website.

The paper shredding is available for county residents only, with a limit of two boxes (up to 18″ by 11″ by 10″)  or paper bags per person. You can bring your paper with staples and paper clips, but magazines, catalogs, and phone book-sized material will not be accepted.

Inert material — asphalt, ceramic tiles, concrete, dirt, masonry blocks, rocks, and sand — will also be collected. Up to 3 cubic yards, or a small pickup truck load, will be accepted per person.

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

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