Glass Recycling Pilot Program

Glass No Longer Accepted in Curbside Carts

Starting Wednesday, February 19, 2020, the City of Falls Church is asking residents to stop placing glass bottles and jars in their green curbside recycling carts. Residents should reuse glass containers or - as part of a new pilot program - bring them to a purple, glass-only recycling container located at the Recycling Center (217 Gordon Rd.) If neither of these options is possible, glass should be placed in the trash. 

While this change specifically for City of Falls Church residents who receive curbside solid waste services, residents who live in condos or apartments with private trash and recycling services should check with their property management group to see if their haulers have stopped collecting glass materials as well. 

Purple Can Club Pilot Program

The City of Falls Church is joining other Northern Virginia jurisdictions in the "Purple Can Club", a pilot glass recycling program featuring glass only collection points using large purple containers. As part of the pilot program, the City has borrowed a purple can from Fairfax County which can be found at the Recycling Center (217 Gordon Rd.) Glass collected in the purple containers will be used locally in Fairfax County, where it will be crushed and turned into sand and gravel for use in paving, construction, and landscaping projects.

purple-can-recycling-center-feb-2020

Depending on how well the pilot program does, the purple can may become a permanent option for recycling glass in the City of Falls Church. 

Glass containers deposited in the purple can should be empty and rinsed out. Labels and lids can be left on. All glass colors are accepted. Please do not put any miscellaneous glass items in the purple can, such as ceramics, porcelain, windows, Pyrex, or light-bulbs. 

purple-can-yes-no-sign-feb-2020

Why the Change?

Glass is no longer economically or environmentally sustainable in a single-stream recycling system. Glass is heavy, which increases the cost of transporting recyclables to and from recycling centers. Glass containers placed in single-stream curbside bins tend to break during collection and transport to Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), which can then damage machinery and contaminate bales of other more valuable items. 

By taking glass out of the single-stream recycling mix, more valuable recyclable materials - such as paper, cardboard, and metals - will become easier and more affordable to transport and be a higher-quality for market end-users. As a result, the City’s overall recycling stream will increase in value, which will help make the curbside recycling program financially sustainable. 

Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Using Glass

  • Buy fewer products in glass containers: If a similar product is offered in recyclable metal (or even plastic), consider purchasing that item so you can continue to recycle it in your curbside recycling bin. 
  • Reuse glass containers: Glass jars with reusable lids can be used for storage. Glass jelly or jam jars make great juice cups. 
  • Drop off glass recyclables at the Recycling Center: The purple container at the Recycling Center (217 Gordon Rd.) is for presorted, glass-only consumer items (e.g. bottles and jars; no windows or commercial use glass items allowed). Glass collected in the purple containers will be used locally in Fairfax County, where it will be crushed and turned into sand and gravel for use in paving, construction, and landscaping projects.

If residents still have glass containers to dispose of, they should put them in the gray trash cart for curbside pick-up, not in the recycling cart. 

More Information

Find and search for additional Purple Can glass-only drop-off containers in the Northern Virginia area by using the map below. 

Read one example of how Fairfax County is using crushed glass in local transportation and construction projects.