EnviroPod: Fairfax County’s Nifty Podcast on All Things Environmental

Adapted from the Public Works and Environmental Services website

The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services helps residents learn how to support the county’s environmental efforts. In 2019, DPWES launched monthly EnviroPod episodes, which air from Apple Podcasts.

Scott Coco of Communications Productions, Fairfax County has now interviewed county leaders on 27 topics of interest to naturalists and gardeners. Here’s a selection of particular relevance to the Fairfax chapter:

Episode 22 – Food-Scraps-to-Compost Program with Christine McCoy

Fairfax County’s EnviroPod

Christine McCoy, Education and Outreach Specialist, Solid Waste Management Program, talks about the new food-scraps-to-compost program. Residents are welcome to bring their food scraps to two locations in the county: the I-66 Transfer Station on West Ox Road; or the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton. More information is available on the county website.

Episode 19 – Stream and Watershed Health with Shannon Curtis

Fairfax County’s EnviroPod

Shannon Curtis, Chief, Watershed Assessment Branch, Public Works and Environmental Services, talking about human activity on the land and how that affects stream and watershed health.

To send topic ideas to the county, email

Synopsis of the Fairfax County Recycling Program presented September 16th

On Monday, September 16th, Erica Carter, the Fairfax County Recycling Coordinator spoke to the Fairfax Master Naturalists at their quarterly meeting. The bottom line: Recycling in Fairfax County is very complicated! One reason it is complicated is that Fairfax County has standards for what can and cannot be recycled in their facilities based on what products its brokers will purchase. However, curbside haulers who use different brokers or buyers for their recycled items may have different standards. A RESIDENT MUST CHECK WITH THEIR OWN CURBSIDE HAULER TO DETERMINE THE STANDARDS FOR THEIR RECYCLING. E.g., American Disposal (call (703) 368-0500) and Republic do not use Fairfax County standards because they have their own buyers for processed recycling.

Glass breaks and contaminates other recycling so it is no longer accepted in County single stream recycling. Large purple containers are located near many County government centers where glass is collected for recycling.  Learn more here.

Any kind of clothes hangers, hoses, cords and plastic bags are huge problems for the recycling facilities because they catch in the machines and must be detangled by hand. In addition, dirty diapers, takeout food containers and shredded paper cause other problems.  PLEASE DON’T RECYCLE THESE ITEMS!

Good news about the receptacles for plastic bags located outside of grocery stores!  Bubble wrap, plastic packing tear off balloons, and zip-lock bags which are clean and dry are also acceptable.

Buyers seek out recycled plastic when oil prices are high because it is less expensive than making new plastic; when oil prices are low recycled plastic is less in demand.

Fairfax County is currently recycling about 50% of the items that come to its two transfer stations. There is no landfill in Fairfax County. Unrecyclable material is incinerated and the resulting energy is used to provide electricity to 80,000 homes.