How To Get There > Recycling Policies > Universal Recycling: Arlington County, Virginia, USA

Universal Recycling: Arlington County, Virginia, USA

Arlington County, Virginia

Multi-family dwellings and commercial establishments must provide recycling services to residents and tenants.

Action(s) Taken

  • Recycling Policies



Overview of Recycling Requirements

The county estimated nearly 70% of its waste comes from these sectors and created the program to help meet state recycling goals. All multi-family dwellings and commercial establishments must provide recycling services for residents and tenants for the following materials:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Cardboard
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal household items (large household appliances, bicycles, cabinets, doors, grills, iron, furniture, etc.)
  • Metal cans
  • Mixed paper
  • Plastics

Multi-family units (MFUs) must establish service within 30 days of renewing their recycling contracts, and all new multi-family and commercial establishments must establish a collection system within 90 days of the first day of occupancy.

County residents have curbside recycling, but MFUs and businesses must contract with their own hauler.


Virginia state law requires counties to meet recycling goals and create recycling programs to meet those goals, but the state law makes no provisions around commercial waste.


Multi-family and commercial establishments must provide tenants with written or electronic instructions on recycling program participation. This can include newsletters, flyers, and/or the property website. Instructions must be given at least once each year.


Multi-family and commercial properties are required to submit a recycling plan to the county and updated plans every three years. Each recycling plan must include the contact information of the establishment, the responsible party, the collector, the disposal site, as well as the container size, collection frequency, service and recycling costs, and a description of the educational and outreach materials, and methods.

Every recycling collector in Arlington County must submit an annual report with the tonnages collected from multi-family and commercial establishments.


The County will inspect properties when a complaint is received or as part of a random sample conducted quarterly to monitor compliance. Fines for violations may not exceed $300. If the violation has not been corrected within 15 days, an additional $300 will be issued every day the violation continues.

Temporary exemptions are provided if the requirements are incompatible with other county ordinances or laws, collectors or acceptors are unavailable for one or more of the required recyclable materials, if there is an extreme disparity between the cost of recycling and the cost of disposal of the same material, or if the establishment does not produce a significant amount of the required recyclable material.


Recycling Code, Arlington, VA

Recycling Plan Form, Arlington, VA

Recycling Guide for Multi-Family Units, Arlington, VA

Recycling Guide for Commercial Property Managers, Arlington, VA

Multi-Family Unit Recycling Rules Tenant Letter

More Information

Arlington Environmental Services – Trash and Recycling

Recycling Toolkit for Educational Resources

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