Recycling Program History

Key Dates 

  • Sept. 6, 2021: Arlington begins weekly collecting of food scraps for composting from the green curbside organics cart, which had previously been used solely for yard waste. In August 2021, the Solid Waste Bureau delivered countertop caddies and a starter kit of biodegradable bags and instructions to all residential customers. 
  • Effective Aug. 1, 2019: Arlington officially removed glass from the list of items accepted in its curbside recycling program. This change was made due to a lack of economically viable regional markets for recycled glass, which prevented glass collected in the blue bins from being recycled.  
  • April 2019: In an effort to end placement of glass in the single-stream blue recycling curbside carts, the County debuted its first glass-only collection bins at recycling drop-off centers located at Quincy Park (Washington Boulevard and North Quincy Street) and the Trades Center (2700 S. Taylor St.). Three additional locations were added in September to ensure that all Arlington residents were within 2.5 miles of a drop-off location. New locations include: Aurora Hills Community Center/Branch Library, Cherrydale Branch Library, and Lee Community Center.  
  • Effective July 1, 2018: The County Board amended Article IV to require businesses to provide at least one-half of the weekly service levels of recycling to trash services, thus allowing for at least one-third of the Waste Stream to be recycled or reused.
  • Effective July 1, 2018: The County Board approved a code amendment to restructure the annual fee of $66 to a new fee structure, establishing a range of $16.25 and $260. Factors such as business type, solid waste generation, number of employees, and number of dwelling units (for multi-family properties) were considered in establishing the new fee structure.
  • 2016: The County Board amended Article IV to require an adjacent recycling container next to any trash container, if the trash can is provided for use by tenants, customers, and visitors, and it is reasonably expected that recyclable materials would be disposed at that location.
  • 2011: The Code was also amended to clarify that educational materials have to be distributed to tenants and employees through written or electronic means within 14 days of occupancy and at least annually thereafter.
  • 2011: The Code was amended to require the collection of the following recyclable materials: mixed paper, cardboard, metal and aluminum cans, plastic beverage and food containers, and glass bottles and jars.
  • 2009: The County Board approved a code amendment to establish an annual fee of $66 to be paid by multi-family and commercial property owners to fund annual compliance visits by Recycling Outreach Specialists.
  • 1993: Arlington County adopted a recycling ordinance, Article IV of Chapter 10, which required multi-family and commercial properties to recycle two principle recyclable materials.
  • 1991: Arlington County developed its first Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) along with a recycling implementation plan.
  • 1983: Chapter 10 of Arlington County Code, “Garbage, Refuse and Weeds,” was established as a result of a mandate from the state and federal governments to manage trash in a safe and effective manner.