Zero Waste Resolution

County Board of Arlington County, Virginia

Adopted November 19, 2015

WHEREAS, the Arlington County Board (Board) is committed to the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility, which serve to protect the quality of life in Arlington County now and for future generations; and

WHEREAS, the Board understands that local government should lead by example and that waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and composting are waste management strategies that conserve our finite natural resources while reducing environmental impacts; and

WHEREAS, Virginia Solid Waste Management Planning Regulations (9 VAC 20-130) require that Arlington County (County) develop and implement a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) to achieve a minimum recycling rate of 25 percent of all municipal solid waste generated; and

WHEREAS, the Board adopted a SWMP in 2004 that addressed the County’s solid waste management needs and set voluntary goals and objectives for the 20-year planning period, including increasing the County’s recycling rate to 47 percent by 2024; and

WHEREAS, the County has already implemented nearly all of the SWMP objectives and surpassed the voluntary 2024 recycling goal of 47 percent with a recycling rate for calendar year 2014 of 47.2 percent; and

WHEREAS, Zero Waste management has been recognized internationally as an economically viable, ethical, and sustainable way to responsibly manage waste to better protect and preserve the environment by viewing discarded materials as a resource for others to use; conserving and recovering natural resources through waste prevention; reusing or recycling 90 percent of discarded materials rather than burning or burial; turning discarded resources into jobs and new products instead of trash; encouraging the production of products that are durable and recyclable; and discouraging products and materials that become trash after their use; and

WHEREAS, while striving to attain higher waste reduction goals, the County acknowledges that a certain amount of residual waste is inevitable, and thus will continue to give preference to waste-to-energy technology as the primary means of disposal rather than landfilling, consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s waste management hierarchy; and

WHEREAS, by adopting a goal of Zero Waste disposal and pursuing Zero Waste principles, the County would be the first among local governments in the Commonwealth and would further demonstrate the County’s commitment to sustainability and environmental protection;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF THE COUNTY OF ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, that the Board directs staff, in cooperation with the community and the citizen-led Solid Waste Committee, to develop a Zero Waste Plan for Board consideration that explores all of the issues related to successful implementation of the Plan – to include an analysis of existing practices and opportunities to achieve the goals identified, and an assessment of the Plan’s environmental, operational, and fiscal impacts. The Zero Waste Plan could serve as a revised SWMP aimed at increasing waste diversion to at least 90 percent by 2038 for County government, and for Arlington County as a whole.