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Fairfax County Uses Crushed Glass in Construction Project for First Time

Sanitary sewer replacement projects rarely make headline news. Digging up, repairing, and Fairfax using crush glass snip.JPGreplacing aging pipes is just part of wastewater infrastructure’s life cycle. It happens all the time, and usually in places well away from public view. But when a project embraces sustainable practices and the idea of a circular economy and finds a constructive use for a waste product, it is worth mentioning.

One example, a project along Flatlick Branch in Fairfax County’s Sully Magisterial District, is currently underway. When the new sewer pipe is placed in the ground, it will rest on a bed of crushed glass instead of the traditional bedding of quarried stone.

The Glass Problem

Some people may ask, “Wait, used glass is a waste product? I thought my glass gets recycled?” Unfortunately, the market for recycled glass in our area has been declining for years, and glass is notoriously difficult to process.  Read more...

Regional Approach to Glass Recycling Leads to Creation of the Purple Can Club

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Big Blue crushes glass into sand and gravel for use in a variety of projects.

Today (4-11-19), Fairfax County, City of Alexandria, Prince William County, and Arlington County announced a new strategic partnership to recover and recycle glass. In Northern Virginia, glass collected in curbside recycling bins is sent to recycling facilities where it eventually ends up in landfills. During the transportation process to the facility glass is broken and becomes mixed with recycling residue (small bits of plastic and paper) as part of the sorting process, making it unrecoverable. To tackle this challenge, these jurisdictions have committed to collecting glass via purple glass-only drop-off containers and bringing it to Fairfax County’s “Big Blue” processing plant, where it will be recycled for use in a variety of projects. More details.

Immediate Changes to Recycling in the CountyRecycling Guide Single Stream Revised 3-2019 snip.JPG

​Recycling is changing around the world, and those changes are impacting recycling in Prince William County. Effective immediately, Prince William County is asking residents and refuse haulers to eliminate glass and some plastic containers from curbside recycling collection.  Read more.

Changes in Recycling impacting local community

Solid Waste Division Note 2-27-19:   List of materials to be recycled in Prince William County are being reviewed, however, no official  changes have  been made at this time.

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Released on:
Friday, 22 February 2019

Significant changes in international recycling markets are trickling down to Prince William County. Countries that once bought material for recycling have tightened their rules and regulations, and those changes are starting to be felt locally.

The first major impact on the recycling industry was in 2017 when China, the largest market that accepted recycled products from the United States, imposed restrictions on plastic and paper waste, specifically excluding glass which contaminates the plastic and paper. China's actions prompted other countries to change their requirements, as well.

As a result of the changes, recycling processing plants are having to find other buyers for the recyclable materials, and recycling processes have slowed due to the higher quality standards, according to Tom Smith, the director of Prince William Public Works Solid Waste Division.  More


"How I Serve"

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Published on Jun 25, 2018

Josh Swank loves his job and is proud to serve the people of Prince William County. Learn more about the PWC Landfill:



Recycling Report Results for Calendar Year 2017

County Recycling Rate for 2017 is 34.6%

Prince William County achieved a recycle rate of 34.6% in 2017.  The Prince William County Public Works, Solid Waste Division Recycling Office is awaiting confirmation from Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) of the County's Recycling Rate.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires each city, county, town or region to maintain a minimum recycling rate.  Based upon the criteria established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Prince William County exceeded its mandated 25% recycling rate again in 2017.  This is a slight decline compare to the 2016 rate.

Calendar YearRecycling Rate


A Bee Movie

Check out this video "Bee Move in Day at the Prince William County Landfill".  Snip of bee frame with bees and  brood.JPGThe beekeeper shares a lot of interesting information about honey bees as she and her "assistant" move in our new tenants.  She even gets stung!  Watch for her reaction. Enjoy the buzz!



County Residents Look to a Better Future at Compost Awareness Day

Prince William County's sixth annual Compost Awareness Day brought together families, community groups, and garden experts to discuss the benefits of at home composting, all in the spirit of this year's theme "Building a Better Future". Attendees enjoyed free compost samples from the Balls Ford Road composting facility, workshops led by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, and a sneak peek at the county's plans to begin large scale composting of food waste through a partnership Doug and compost bags IMG_2307.JPGwith Freestate Farms.

Currently, thirty percent of what goes into the county landfill is food and yard waste, so the county government and community members are taking a serious look at how to make operations more sustainable.

"This country has a huge problem with food waste," says Prince William resident Alexandra, who enjoyed the garden workshops with her mother Claudia, "I believe if more people were aware of how easy composting can be, more people would do it. It helps the environment. We live here - this is our home."

Composting mimics nature's process of decomposing organic waste. Savvy composters create the conditions that are favorable to microorganisms that transform kitchen scraps and yard clippings into nutrient rich soil - ideal for giving your garden and lawn a boost.

"As gardeners, we call compost black gold," explained Ellen Miles, a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener intern, "It has so many benefits. Compost helps your plant roots penetrate into the soil easier, and it holds soil into place. It helps feed earthworms, which add nutritious worm castings into your soil."   Read more and see more photos of the event.


'Boatloads' of Pollinator Plants Installed at Prince William Landfill

When you imagine a flower garden, do you picture planting in canoes and old car tires? That's exactly what several environmental leaders envisioned when they designed the plan to transform a half acre site at the Prince William County Landfill into a beautiful pollinator garden. Repurposed canoes, pallets, and tires were used to create raised garden beds, a native bee hotel, and a walking path through a pollinator-friendly meadow. These upcycled goods will support the health of native bees, honeybees, insects, and other wildlife for years to come.

The project was a joint effort that brought several community organizations together. Keep Prince William Beautiful secured $20,000 from a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe's Community Impact grant to fund the project. The Prince William County Solid Waste Division, Bees in Schools, LLC, the Prince William Conservation Alliance, and George Mason University's Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center all worked together to make the undertaking possible. Volunteer planting days open to the community were held on April 14 and April 21 in celebration of Earth Day.

"Our whole goal is attracting pollinators to a spot where we know there are very few right now," said Dr. Cynthia Smith, Associate Professor at George Mason University, as she thanked the crowd of 101 volunteers on the first work day, "In three hours we took a field with some mulch and now we've got a pollinator garden with seeds installed, before the rain tomorrow. We could not have done this without your help."   Read more and see more photos.


Hampton Middle School Receives Check to Rev Recycling Program

Congratulations George M. Hampton Middle School in Dale City, VA!  Recipient of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' America Recycles Day - I Recycle Pledge Contest, K-12 category 2017.    Prince William County Solid Waste Division Chief Tom Smith presented a check for $500 to Hampton's principal, Ms. Jehovanni Mitchell, along with the contest winning Hampton Middle School student and Ms. Chavonne Thomas, Director of School Counseling.   Thomas and Hampton students have begun an upgrade to the school's recycling program and will introduce the revamped program school wide in the new school year.


2017 America Recycles Day pledge card winner

CongratulatiMaria Gearheart 2017 ARD k-12 winner snip.JPGons Maria!  K-12 Prize Winner for the 2017 "I Recycle" pledge drawing sponsored by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.  Maria won a $300 gift certificate and her school will receive a $500 grant to support a youth environmental or recycling program. Maria took the pledge to increase her recycling in October when she attended the annual Prince William Recycles Day event at the County Landfill with her family.  Maria happens to be wearing the 2015 Prince William Recycles Day t-shirt she won at a previous event.  Tom Smith, Prince William County Solid Waste Division Chief, presented the $300 gift certificate to her just in time for Christmas shopping!  This is the fifth consecutive year that a winner has been selected from Prince William entrants.  Recycling Matters!


County Recycling Rate  for 2016 is 36.8%

County Recycling Rate Increases -- First Time in Three Years

Prince William County achieved a recycle rate of 36.8% in 2016.  The Prince William County Public Works, Solid Waste Division Recycling Office received confirmation from Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) of the County's Recycling Rate in July. (See report ) 

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires each city, county, town or region to maintain a minimum recycling rate.  Based upon the criteria established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Prince William County exceeded its mandated 25% recycling rate again in 2016.  This is slightly more than a 3% increase over the 2015 rate and marks a reversal in the decline of the County's recycling rate for the past several years.

Calendar YearRecycling Rate


Prince William Solid waste division wins chamber business award for innovative partnerships

The Division's partnership with Prince William County Schools, Prince William County Parks and Recreation Department, Prince William area Boy Scouts, George Mason Environmental Science staff, Dominion Virginia Power and PWC Public Works Youth Ambassadors to build the Outdoor Discovery Trail was recognized as award worthy by the Prince William Chamber on February 28, 2017. 


 Additional News & Events - See Archive


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