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The recently expanded Balls Ford Compost Facility.

Prince William County increased its recycling rate to 38.2% in 2019, nearly a 5% increase from 2018 and the county’s biggest increase since 2016, county officials said.

Prince William is one of 17 solid waste planning districts in the state required to annually report recycling information to the state Department of Environmental Quality. Prince William has exceeded its mandated 25% recycling rate every year since the mandatory rates took effect in the early 1990s.

The recycling rate is a measure of the materials diverted for reuse, recycling, or composting from the waste stream compared to materials that go into the trash. Regular trash is buried in the county’s landfill on Dumfries Road or combusted at the Fairfax County I-95 Energy/Resource Recovery Facility in Lorton. Items diverted for recycling and composting are sorted, processed, and converted into materials that can be returned to commercial enterprise.

Waste import restrictions imposed by China and other countries in early 2018 had a significant effect on the processing of recyclables worldwide. To reduce the burden on local haulers and processors, the county implemented new recycling guidelines to help reduce contamination and limit collected material to items that are marketable.

In March 2019, Prince William County asked residents to only recycle #1 and #2 plastic bottles, jugs and jars, and to no longer put glass in the regular recycling bin. Residents can bring glass containers to the Prince William County Landfill or Balls Ford Road Compost Facility’s purple bins, which are designated for glass recycling. Glass can also be placed in regular household trash, along with any plastics numbered #3-#7.

Scott MacDonald, the county’s recycling manager noted, “While the recycling rate saw a significant increase, this increase had more to do with declines in the amount of trash received versus increases in actual recycling activity in the county. Recycling has essentially been flat for the past decade.”

One reason, he added, is that Prince William does not require source-separation of yard waste, which makes up about 15% of the material going into the landfill.

“We need to get that yard waste out of our landfill and divert it to the compost facility at Balls Ford Road, where it can be used to make compost and other soil-amendment products,” MacDonald said.

The Balls Ford Road compost facility was recently expanded and now has capacity to compost yard waste. The county hopes to initiate a seasonal yard waste collection program to take effect next fall.

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(6) comments

Stoptheinsanity

This story would be great if it wasn't for the thousands of solid waste trucks blowing stoplights in the Coles District. Coupled with the influx of out of town waste and diesel fumes the 234 corridor has become nothing more than a trash highway. Our county supervisors want to widen the road and put more trash around our neighborhoods and well water. They honestly think they can build 600k houses and restaurants across from a landfill. There is no planning just crooks looking to steal more quality of life from us all. They claim to be saving us but say the glass bottles cost to much to move so they go to waste in the landfill. How is that saving the planet? I feel bad for the people that have to live next to a open air composting facility. Next they will be putting solar farms on the trash heaps and catch them all on fire. When is someone going to do a study on long term effects of methane and other fumes emitted from dumps. It cannot be safe to build a highschool or neighborhoods around a landfill. Maybe they should put it next to the server farms or the county headquarters. They call it a "sanitary" landfill and everyone is fooled. Tripleing the size of the landfill was another Marty Nohe power grab local residents fell for it hook line and sinker. I think PWC might have more landfills than any other county around us because we need revenue to fund all the "social programs" for the non citizens.

Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!

Agreed!

Omarndc72

This is what happens when you have liberals running the county.

Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!

@Omarndc- Well put. Can you imagine (Heaven Forbid) the ramifications of them running the country & implementing their “Green New Deal”? That would probably be the point at which I try to buy my very own island.

WJS

It seems for the last year they've steadily cut back on what they will recycle to the point that we don't even try. We watch trash trucks put both bins in the same truck. When we asked, it was because the recycling center takes so little it's not with the effort. So the cost goes up while service goes down.

Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!

Agreed! I’m very close to the “why bother” stage. My recycling can was recently replaced (by the company) with a much smaller one. And this past week I watched as the recycling men place some of my recycling into my trash can! For those concerned, the items were recyclables (broken down cardboard boxes).

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