Fairfax County launches survey to gauge state of recycling services for residents

Recycling bin (via Sigmund on Unsplash)

Fairfax County wants to know what trash collectors are telling residents about recycling.

In anticipation of Fairfax Recycles Day, which will fall on Nov. 15, the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services is surveying residents throughout October about whether their hauler is sharing educational materials on recycling.

“The survey takes about two minutes to complete and includes inquiries such as the type of information received and how often,” DPWES said in a news release yesterday. “The goal is to receive data that will provide a clearer picture of the overall countywide recycling services of County and private collectors.”

The survey is available online and will remain open until Oct. 30. Participants will receive “a cool gift” and, if they want, a mention on the county’s website, according to DPWES.

The department developed the survey as part of a Four Touch Points (FTP) initiative, which took effect on Jan. 1 and requires trash collectors to provide information about waste reduction and recycling to their customers in order to be licensed to operate in Fairfax County.

According to DPWES, about 90% of county residents and businesses get waste collection services through private companies, which must get the certificate permitting them to operate in the county renewed every year. Participation in FTP is now being considered as part of that renewal process.

The county’s reliance on private haulers has become a challenge in recent years, as staff shortages led to service disruptions and the closure of one operator.

While county leaders have explored getting more authority from the state to manage trash pick-ups, public services have encountered staffing and operational issues as well. DPWES has proposed eliminating fall leaf collection services, starting with the 2024-2025 season.

According to the county, materials universally accepted in curbside recycling bins include plastic bottles and jugs, mixed paper and cardboard, metal food and drink cans, and paper cartons. Glass can be recycled in the purple containers that have popped up around the county and at the I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex.

Photo via Sigmund/Unsplash

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