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Saturday, February 4, 2023
ArlingtonLetter: Niche recycling effort not needed in Arlington

Letter: Niche recycling effort not needed in Arlington

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Editor: The Arlington County Board soon will consider adding food-scrap collection to its solid waste services.

County reports state that a majority of respondents to a November-December poll of 27,575 households on the trash/recycling email list supports the proposed initiative. Food scraps would be collected weekly in the large green yard-waste container, at a preliminary cost estimate of $12 per year added to the residential solid-waste rate, plus the cost of purchasing special compostable bags into which scraps must be placed.

The county government’s assertion of broad resident interest is exaggerated. Although 79 percent of approximately 4,000 poll respondents did indicate support, this constitutes a mere 11 percent of total residential households.

Even during peak spring-fall seasons, there is only modest use of residential-yard-waste containers. During winter months, usage is virtually non-existent. It is unrealistic to anticipate yard-waste-container usage patterns to increase dramatically for food-scrap collection. For the minority of residents who are interested in composting, food-scrap dropoff is already available Monday through Saturday at the Trades Center in Shirlington.


The fact is that food-scrap collection is a niche recycling desire. Why should all residential trash customers be forced to pay for a service they do not want and will not use?

If the county government wants to accommodate actual community recycling demand, it should reinstate weekly glass-recycling collection. That’s a program all would support.

Deirdre Dessingue, Arlington

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