Starting Monday, Sept. 6, Arlington County will begin taking food waste for composting as a part of its regular weekly trash/recycling/yard waste collection routes.
The new program makes Arlington one of the first localities in the nation to gather residential food waste as a part of standard curbside services.
Food scraps will be collected from the same green carts that have been used until now only for yard waste, with the organics co-mingled for delivery to a professional composting facility in Prince William County.
Countertop food caddies, along with a starter set of compostable bags and educational materials, were distributed to residential customers last month for the purpose of storing and transporting discards to the green cart.
The initiative marks another milestone in Arlington’s commitment to sustainability, diverting organic waste from incineration with regular trash. The compost generated will find its way into Arlington parks and community gardens and eventually individual yards, just as residents can pick up and order mulch for delivery from the County.
A wide range of materials qualify as food scraps, from apple and banana peels to meats, bones, coffee grounds and even greasy pizza boxes and used paper napkins. The user’s guide distributed with the countertop caddy is also posted on the County website.
Residents who don’t receive weekly curbside collection are encouraged to drop off food scraps at the County Trades Center and local farmers markets, as well as discuss other options with neighbors and landlords. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for tips.
Food scrap collection represents years of planning and organization by County staff and members of the community, guided by the Solid Waste Bureau. Arlington’s current goal is to divert 90% of waste from landfills and incinerators by 2038, as put forth by the County Board’s Zero Waste Resolution in 2015.