- Developing long-term strategy to reduce disposal costs, increase recycling
- Seeking balanced, fiscally responsible strategies that support the environment
- First community in Commonwealth to adopt Zero Waste Resolution
The Arlington County Board today resolved to explore developing a Zero Waste Goal that if implemented could divert 90 percent of the community’s waste away from landfills or waste to energy facilities by 2038.
When funded, the County’s Department of Environmental Services Solid Waste Bureau would develop a Zero Waste Plan for Board consideration, which would include an analysis of existing practices and opportunities to achieve the goals identified, and an assessment of the plan’s long-term environmental, operational and fiscal impacts.
Citing long-term increases in disposal costs and the desire to increase recycling, the Board instructed the Acting County Manager to collaborate with the community and the County’s Solid Waste Committee to develop the Zero Waste Plan.
The plan, the Board said, “could serve as a revised Solid Waste Management Plan” for Arlington. The County is required by State law to have a Solid Waste Management Plan, and adopted its current plan in 2004.
Arlington’s Zero Waste Resolution is the first in the Commonwealth. Should the County adopt a Zero Waste policy, it would be one of only a few dozen communities in the United States to do so.
“This resolution is the first step in what will need to be a broad community discussion about how to develop a long-term waste reduction strategy that is environmentally and economically sound,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “Arlington has a great track record for setting and exceeding ambitious recycling goals. In 2004, we set a voluntary goal of achieving a recycling rate of 47.2 percent by 2024 – and surpassed that goal in 2014. It’s time to consider setting a new goal.”
The Board voted 5 to 0 to adopt the resolution.
How to get to Zero Waste
There are many paths to achieving Zero Waste. Among them:
- New waste reduction initiatives
- Expanded organics composting including food waste
- Expanded recycling programs
- Construction and demolition recycling and reuse
To read the staff report and the Zero Waste Resolution, visit the County Website. Scroll down to Item #39C on the Agenda for the November 14, 2015 Regular County Board Meeting.