Arlington, VA

(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

0 Comments

Arlington County will be sending its yard waste and food scraps to Prince William County.

At Saturday’s County Board meeting, the board approved a new agreement to send organic compost to a new state-of-the-art composting facility in Prince William County.

Until November last year, the county was sending compost to a Loudoun County facility but that facility has since ceased operations.

Back in 2016, Arlington County began year-round residential curbside collection of organic material like grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings.

Arlington County provides year-round residential curbside collection of organic material, such as grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings. Through the winter — November to March — the material is composted at the Earth Products Recycling Yard (EPRY) at the Arlington County Trades Center in Shirlington.

However, that changes in the spring due to EPRY’s inability to compost grass clippings as well as space limitations related to residents mowing their lawn more often in the spring and summer.

As a result, from April to October the county sends its organic material to a third-party outside of the county for processing.

And starting this year, that material will be going to Freestate Farms in nearby Prince William County. The facility is run via a public-private partnership between Prince William County and the private corporation.

Beyond yard waste, the Prince William County facility also has the ability to compost “mixed organics,” i.e. food waste. County Manager Mark Schwarz’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes about $300,000 to add food scraps to the list of items that can be placed in the green organics bin.

If approved, the food scrap collection would begin in September, according to Schwartz’s budget.

In the meantime, the county’s current organics collection is set to start being trucked to Prince William County on April 1. The agreement does come with a price, however.

The Prince William facility is charging more than the Loudoun County facility, from $32 a ton for yard waste to the new rate of $36 a ton. For mixed organics, the rate is even higher, at $38 a ton. The staff report says these rate increases should be “almost or entirely offset” by other savings in the waste collection budget and will not result in Arlington households having to absorb the rate increase.

In fact, according to the proposed budget, there actually would be a slight rate decrease in the solid waste rate for households. Currently, households are paying an annual rate of $319.03. If the budget passes as is, even with the addition of mixed organics collection, residents will pay $318.61.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Board Advertises Property Tax Rates — “The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to advertise no increase in the Calendar Year 2021 base real estate property tax rate, citing the toll the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is taking on residents. The Board also voted to advertise a proposed Stormwater tax rate of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed real property value to fund the full cost of operations and planned capital improvements to the County’s stormwater infrastructure and flood mitigation… The estimated annual impact for the average household with an assessed home value of $724,400 is $123.” [Arlington County]

Snow Falling in ArlingtonUpdated at 9:10 a.m. — Snow is falling in Arlington, which is just outside of a newly-expanded expanded Winter Weather Advisory. Be careful out there! [Twitter]

Business Owners Talk About Burglaries — “Metry describes the Bluemont neighborhood where his business was burglarized as safe. He doesn’t understand why his business was targeted. ‘The whole register, the iPad, the square scan, all of this was missing,’ Metry said. Surveillance footage captured at neighboring restaurant La Union shows the burglars wearing dark clothing, hoodies, masks and gloves. Jose Zelaya has owned the Mexican restaurant La Union for 21 years. Aside from a random car break-in, he said he’s never experienced any crime like this.” [WUSA 9]

St. Patrick’s Pie at Clarendon Pizzeria — “Colony Grill, Clarendon’s new family-friendly tavern, known for its gracious hospitality and famous ‘hot oil’ bar-style pizzas, will serve a special corned beef & cabbage “Bar Pie”… [f]rom Friday, March 12 through Wednesday, March 17.” [Press Release]

Reminder: Trash Collection Delayed a Day — Due to ice and snow last week, Friday’s residential waste collection will be completed today, shifting this week’s collection schedule by one day. [ARLnow]

0 Comments

Ice and snow has prompted another day without residential waste collection in Arlington, and that will have a ripple effect for residents next week.

“Due to icy road conditions and crew safety concerns, there will be no trash/recycling/yard waste curbside collection today,” Arlington County said this morning.

As a result of the delays, the trash collection schedule for next week will shift back by a day.

“Thursday’s route will now be completed on Saturday, 2/20,” the county said. “Friday’s route will be completed on Monday, 2/22, which will shift next week’s collection schedule by one day next week… Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

The county’s collection service serves mostly single-family homes; apartments and condos are served by private haulers.

Table via Arlington County

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation overnight has made for slippery conditions around Arlington Monday morning.

With many locals working from home already, traffic around Arlington is light. Thanks to the efforts of snow crews, main roads are mostly wet and side streets have been treated. Few crashes have been reported since sunrise, but that might also be attributable to people staying at home.

Still, caution is being urged.

“Overnight crews have been treating known slick areas but caution is advised for those who must drive this morning. Go slow,” wrote Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services this morning.

County crews are currently in Phase 4 of the snow removal effort, “following up on problem areas, schools and other county facilities.” Many sidewalks, including those maintained by the county, are icy and treacherous.

Both Arlington Transit and Metro buses are operating on modified schedules.

Due to the wintry conditions, residential trash and recycling collection has been cancelled today. Collection will resume tomorrow and take place a day after one’s normal waste collection day.

Another cancellation today: vaccine appointments. While the county worked throughout the weekend to reschedule the appointments of those formerly set to receive vaccines from Virginia Hospital Center, another round of cancellations is taking place today due to the weather.

“Due to the impending winter weather, the Arlington vaccine clinics scheduled for Monday, February 1 have been cancelled in the interest of client and staff safety,” says the county’s website. “ALL individuals who have scheduled times for Monday WILL be rescheduled as early as possible.”

That prompted the following Twitter exchange with County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti this morning.

Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, has been mostly operating remotely, but even virtual students are not attending classes today as a result of a pre-scheduled grade preparation day. APS buildings, nonetheless, are closed for sports and other activities due to the weather.

While the bulk of the precipitation fell on Sunday, Arlington may see a bit more later today. A Winter Weather Advisory has been extended until 9 a.m. Tuesday, with forecasters warning of continued slippery conditions outside.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…MIXED PRECIPITATION. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO TWO INCHES AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…UNTIL 9 AM EST TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING COMMUTE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

SLOW DOWN AND USE CAUTION WHILE TRAVELING.

WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL AND INJURY.

Yesterday’s snowfall was Arlington’s biggest in two years, despite clocking in at a disappointing two inches of accumulation. It did, however, lead to plenty of outdoor fun for cooped-up kids, and some beautiful scenes across the county, like the one below.

0 Comments

(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.

0 Comments

If you have a Christmas tree in your house — a real one, like 44% of respondents to a recent ARLnow poll — you’ll need to keep it watered for at least the next week.

Arlington County is not beginning its annual Christmas tree collection until Monday, Jan. 4. The two-week curbside collection will run through Friday, Jan. 15.

Residential waste collection customers — primarily those in single-family homes — will have trees collected on their regular trash collection day. Residents of apartments, condos and townhomes can drop trees off at the county’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington.

Collected trees will be turned into mulch and reused throughout the county.

More from the county website:

Trees collected by the County the first two full weeks of January are turned into mulch available from County facilities.

From Jan. 4 through Jan. 15, place trees at curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day after removing ALL decorations, nails, stands. Do not place trees in plastic bags.

After Jan. 15, Christmas trees are handled at curbside as part of regular year-round yard waste collection. Make sure the tree is bare and ready for composting. Trees over 8-feet long will need to be dismantled.

Tree Drop-Off

Residents without regular curbside pickup, including those living in townhomes, apartments and condominiums, can bring Christmas trees to the Solid Waste Bureau’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington. For safe dropoff, call 703-228-5000 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. to schedule a weekday appointment. You will need proof of residence in Arlington to drop off.

Photo via Arlington County

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Arlington Again Named Top Digital County — “Arlington today was named the No. 1 Digital County in the U.S. by the Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2020 awards. This marks the fourth time Arlington has received the top spot for its 150,000-249,999 population category.” [Arlington County]

County Swamped With Would-Be Poll Workers — “Earlier this summer, some Washington-area election officials were warning of a possible shortage of volunteers to work the polls come November. But a recent surge in interest has left those same officials with a good problem to have… ‘We have too many right now, to be honest,’ says Eric Olsen, the deputy director of Arlington County’s Board of Elections.” [DCist]

Yard Waste Collection Resumes With Delays — “Due to heavy yard waste volumes associated with the resumption of curbside yard waste collection, some customers may see their yard waste carts delayed until the following day.” [Arlington County]

Turkey Trot 5K Goes Virtual — “Organizers of the annual Arlington Turkey Trot have opted for a ‘virtual’ format for 2020. Instead of running as a group on Thanksgiving morning, the hundreds of Turkey Trot participants are being asked to run on their own the weekend of Thanksgiving.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: D.C. Getting New Area Code — “D.C. has had one single area code — 202 — for more than 70 years. But it will soon be joined by a second area code… The nation’s capital is expected to run out of 202 phone numbers in the third quarter of 2022.” [WTOP]

0 Comments

Yard waste collection is set to resume next week in Arlington, after a four-month hiatus.

Residential waste collection customers have had to do without the weekly collection of organic material since early May, when the county suspended it on account of increased trash volumes during the pandemic over-stretching collection crews.

Arlington County announced this morning that the service is set to resume this coming Monday, Aug. 31.

“During the first week of service restoration, limit yard waste to the green cart and up to five paper organics bags. This will help ensure collection crews are not overwhelmed and can complete routes on schedule,” the county urged.

Overall, the volume of trash collected from residential waste customers — mostly those living in single-family homes — has increased by more than 30% during the pandemic, as people stay home from work, school and other activities. Arlington’s waste collection contractor “continues to experience staffing issues” and delays as a result of the increased workload and other pandemic-related challenges, according to the county.

Arlington opened two drop-off sites for organic waste during the collection suspension, which were utilized both by homeowners and a cottage industry of enterprising students hauling yard waste for a fee. The drop-off sites will be closing next Friday at noon.

To compensate for the lack of yard waste collection, the county says it will be crediting $10.77 back to those who pay the household solid waste fee.

The full county press release is below.

Read More

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list