Temporary Change to Separate Yard Waste Collection Requirements

The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program advises residents and collectors that the requirement for separate collection of yard waste on a weekly basis is temporarily modified for approximately two months, effective Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

As of the effective date, collectors may collect yard waste with refuse (mixed collections) without enforcement consequences. The temporary change is in response to national labor shortages adversely affecting the region. This shortage has had an impact on municipal and private-sector solid waste collectors, who provide the critical services necessary to promote clean streets and good sanitation.

During this temporary change, recyclables must continue to be collected separately every week. The requirement to separately collect yard waste for recycling will be reassessed in mid-October.

Questions or concerns regarding this temporary change may be directed to Charles Forbes, chief, Recycling, Compliance and Planning, Solid Waste Management Program at 703-324-5226, TTY 711 or email Charles.Forbes@FairfaxCounty.gov.

Will my yard waste be collected after August 31, 2021?

Yes, your yard waste should be collected. It may be collected with the trash if your service provider is experiencing a resource shortage. If your yard waste is not collected, please provide your contact information and a compliance specialist will contact you.

Why was this decision made?

This change is intended to ensure that trash, recyclables, and yard waste are collected in a timely manner. Ongoing labor shortages have hampered municipal and private-sector solid waste collectors who are providing the critical services necessary to promote clean streets and good sanitation.

How will yard waste be collected?

Beginning August 31, collectors will be permitted to collect yard waste with refuse (i.e. mixed collections) without enforcement action. During this temporary allowance, refuse and recycling must be collected separately.

Is my collector going to mix yard waste and trash?

If your collection provider is experiencing a labor shortage, they may mix trash and yard waste beginning August 31.

Does this change apply to private haulers or just county collection customers?

This temporary allowance can be used by both private haulers and county collection service providers if they choose based on their staff resources.

Will recyclables be mixed with trash?

No, there are currently no plans to allow trash and recyclables to be collected together.

Will this change in collection methods be revisited?

The Solid Waste Management Program will reevaluate this operational change in mid-October to evaluate any other changes that may be needed to support timely collection of residential waste.

Does this change only apply to residential yard waste?

Yes, the temporary change is only for residential yard waste collection.

Can residents self-haul yard waste to the I-95 landfill complex and the I-66 transfer station?

Yes, residents can bring their yard waste to county facilities. Normal fees apply.

How can I manage my yard waste?

Residents have several options, including:

  • Managing yard waste on-site. Leave grass clippings on your lawn to fertilize grass and conserve water.
  • Mulch leaves and add to compost.
  • Backyard composting is a good option.
  • Defer landscaping until service resumes.
  • Place yard waste at the curb with your trash. It will be collected as trash.

What is mulching?

Mulching (or grass cycling) means leaving grass clippings on the lawn to promote a greener, healthier lawn. Any lawnmower can be used, but mulching lawnmowers cut the grass into smaller pieces and filter them back into the lawn, reducing clippings from clumping together or being tracked into a home or business. For details, see Composting Organic Waste.

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