Fairfax County ends curbside glass recycling

Don’t put glass bottles out at the curb for recycling anymore in Fairfax County.

“Glass will no longer be part of the curbside collection program,” said Eric Forbes, director of recycling, engineering and environmental compliance for the county government.

“Glass has been a challenge for a number of years,” Forbes said. “It can contaminate the other valuable materials,” including plastic bottles and jugs, cartons, metal food and beverage cans, and mixed paper and cardboard.

Forbes said part of the problem is that glass often breaks during handling, which made it difficult to keep separated from other recyclables, and too heavy to transport cost-effectively.

In addition, the market for glass wasn’t as strong as anticipated.

Fairfax Country joins other counties, including Arlington and Prince William, as well as the city of Alexandria in the Northern Virginia Glass Recovery Program — known as The Purple Can Club.

“Glass wasn’t getting recycled at the level we wanted in Fairfax,” said Forbes. “So we built a processing facility [in Lorton] that does 20 tons an hour.”

So as of Tuesday, residents have two options for getting rid of their glass bottles in Fairfax County: They can bring them to one of 21 regional purple glass-only recycling containers, or they can toss them in the trash.

“Right now, there are 10 cans in Fairfax County, and we have one more that will be delivered to Dolley Madison Library,” said Forbes.

A map of the regional glass-only recycling drop-off sites is shown below.

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