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

Universal Recycling: Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

Fairfax County, Virginia

Fairfax County requires all residents to source separate recyclables and yard waste. Non-residential and multi-family properties must provide recycling services for mixed paper and cardboard.

Action(s) Taken

  • Recycling Policies



Overview of Recycling Requirements

Recycling is mandatory. Residents receiving curbside trash and recycling collection must separate out these materials to be recycled:

  • Container glass (bottles and jars)
  • Metal food and beverage containers (cans and tins)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Yard waste (on a seasonal basis)
  • Scrap metal
  • Cardboard and mixed paper

Yard waste is collected from March 1 – Dec. 24 every year and must be kept separate for recycling. Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, and brush as well as Christmas trees.

Multi-family units (MFUs) and non-residential properties, including businesses, schools and institutions, must provide recycling services for mixed paper and cardboard at least weekly. Larger properties generating more than 100 tons of waste per year, or with 200 or more people, may also be required to recycle at least one of the following materials (whichever is the largest percentage of their waste stream by weight):

  • Ferrous or nonferrous scrap metal
  • Used motor oil
  • Container glass
  • Aluminum or tin cans
  • Cloth
  • Automobile bodies
  • Plastic
  • Clean wood
  • Yard waste

Owners of MFUs built after July 2007 must provide recycling for the following materials in addition to mixed paper and cardboard:

  • Container glass (bottles and jars)
  • Metal food and beverage containers (cans and tins)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Scrap metal (applies to appliances replaced by the property owners)

Cardboard must be source separated from all construction, renovation and demolition sites.


Fairfax County recognized paper and cardboard as the best opportunity to increase its recycling and preserve disposal capacity due to the strong recycling markets for these materials. The county’s recycling rate in 2010 was 42%.

Implementation, Education, and Enforcement

The county is divided into Solid Waste Collection Areas and residents are serviced by either private haulers or county-run trucks. Businesses can contract with a permitted hauler or self-haul their discards.

Multi-family property owners must educate tenants about the recycling program at least once a year and when a new tenant moves into the property. Owners must also create a solid waste and recycling plan.

Each year haulers must give each property a statement of the recycling services available to them and instructions for proper recycling. Residential customers must also receive a detailed description of yard waste recycling requirements and of single-stream collection. Haulers must submit an annual report to the county on tonnages collected.

Violations of the recycling policies carry a maximum fine of $500.


Fairfax County 2015 Solid Waste Management Plan Update

More Information

Fairfax County Recycling

Fairfax County Recycling Regulations

Fairfax County Recycling Program Requirements

Waste Stream Calculation Worksheet for Nonresidential Users

Recycling Becomes Mandatory

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