FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — As of October 1, Fairfax County residents can no longer recycle glass bottles and containers in curbside bins. The decision comes after learning that broken glass can contaminate more valuable recyclables such as cardboard and metals, or damage the machinery at the material recovery facilities. In addition, the heavier weight of the glass adds to transportation costs.
Fairfax residents now have two options for glass disposal: drop them off at a glass recycling center, or put them in the trash.
There are currently 21 purple containers throughout Northern Virginia where glass containers can be dropped off for recycling. The glass is transferred to a processing plant in Lorton where it is crushed and reused. New sites are being evaluated to make dropping glass off more convenient.
Residents are also encouraged to reuse glass containers when possible, or seek out non-glass, recyclable containers when shopping.
If none of the alternatives are a viable option, glass should be placed in trashcans instead of recycling bins.
Certain glass items are not accepted at the purple bins, including lamps, light bulbs, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, windows, and sheet glass.
Fairfax County is not the only Virginia county to discontinue curbside glass recycling. Fairfax County, the City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Prince William County all joined forces to create the "purple can club" to make regional glass recycling more efficient.