Overview of Solid Waste Management Plan
The Arlington County Board adopted the Solid Waste Management Plan on June 12, 2004. The plan was based on the recommendations of the Solid Waste Committee of the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission and includes important solid waste goals to help achieve environmental sustainability.
The SWMP was developed in response to regulations adopted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in 2001 that require all local Virginia jurisdictions to submit updated 20-year plans by July 1, 2004. The plan meets the state requirements and lays the groundwork for the future expansion of the County’s solid waste programs.
The SWMP establishes Arlington’s policies for solid waste management. The SWMP also serves as a guide for the future growth of the County’s solid waste management system, which includes:
- Energy-from-Waste facility that converts waste collected in Arlington and the City of Alexandria into electricity.
- Recycling requirements for businesses and multi-family dwellings in the County.
- Refuse and recycling collection services for all single-family and duplex residences.
- Waste reduction programs (yard composting, etc.).
Arlington’s Environmental Goals for Solid Waste
The SWMP describes a strategy to help achieve environmental sustainability. To do so, Arlington is focusing on moving the County toward waste reduction, specifically:
- Reduce. The most desirable behavior. Reduction of solid waste is the most efficient way to keep materials out of the landfill, reduce costs of collection and reduce air pollution from collection trucks.
- Reuse. Reusing materials is an excellent way to reduce solid waste.
- Recycle. When the first two steps cannot be avoided, recycling of all possible materials reduces materials going to the landfill.
- Energy-from-Waste. All materials left over from steps 1, 2, and 3 should be taken to the County’s Energy-from-Waste facility, where waste is converted to electricity that supplies power to 23,000 homes. This reduces the waste in volume by 90 percent thus decreasing the amount sent to the landfill.
- Landfill. The solution of last resort where waste is buried in the ground.