Fairfax County removes glass from curbside recycling program


Purple can club used to recycle glass in Fairfax County

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Due to the reduced demand for recycled glass, Fairfax County is making some changes to its recycling program.

You use your glass, sort it, and throw it in a recycling bin thinking that it’ll be recycled, but with the ongoing problems of integrated recycling that’s not always the case.

“The changes in recycling have been rather challenging for all jurisdictions. Fairfax County has found a way to fix that and it’s with big blue,” said Supervisor Penny Gross, Vice Chair for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Big blue is what they’re calling the county’s massive glass-crushing machine. According to officials in Fairfax County, contamination has become a problem in the recycling industry, so instead of collecting glass in the curbside recycling program, they’ll use big blue to crush it for better use.

“The glass is processed into two types of materials. One is a pea gravel sized colette and the other is sand and we can use these in our public works project to help offset the use of blue stone, gravel and sand,” said Eric Forbes, Director of Recycling, Engineering and Environmental Compliance for Fairfax County.

“If we can get everybody doing the 4 basic recyclables, plastic bottles and jugs, aluminum and tin can food cans, cardboard paper…we’re going to have a better program, more successful,” Forbes said.

The new preferred option for glass disposal is to drop it off at one of the purple glass-only bins that are placed throughout the county.

There are 10 glass drop-off locations cross Fairfax County and 9 others across Northern Virginia.

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