Arlington County (VA) launched a new residential food scraps collection program in early September, providing weekly service as a standard offering. All food scraps, including meat, fish and dairy, soiled paper, pizza boxes, coffee filters and more can be added to households’ yard trimmings cart. “Households that currently have a 32-gallon green organics cart will be able to upgrade to a 64-gallon cart,” explains the county’s website. “However, we don’t expect significant increases in the volume of materials going in the green cart. Tonnages will increase, but because food waste is very dense, the volume of organics collected should stay pretty level.”
Residents with curbside service were given a 2.5-gallon container to collect food scraps in the kitchen. The food scraps can be placed into the carts loose or in paper or other certified compostable bags (e.g., 3-gallon bags) that have been approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute or the Compost Manufacturing Alliance. Arlington County provides residential solid waste services to all county residents. In 2016, it transitioned to year-round yard trimmings collection, which helps facilitate food scraps collection.
The annual cost to add food scraps collection is an increase of less than $12/year to the Household Solid Waste Rate (HSWR). This covers the costs of collection and processing of the organic materials at Freestate Farms in Manassas, Virginia. Freestate Farms opened in August 2020, and is designed to process 80,000 tons/year of source separated organics. The facility has a 14-bunker aerated static pile composting system designed by Engineered Compost Systems.