Mirroring Fairfax County’s policy change earlier this year, Vienna Town Council members voted 7-0 April 26 to eliminate use of plastic bags for yard-waste collection.
Instead, town residents must place their leaves, weeds, vines and grass clippings into reusable containers or “kraft” paper bags intended to handle yard waste.
Council member Nisha Patel wondered if the paper bags would rip after being rained on, but her colleague Howard Springsteen allayed those fears.
“Mine got soaking wet,” he said. “They don’t fall apart. They’re designed to get wet.”
The new policy is designed to prevent plastic bags from clogging or damaging waste-processing equipment and ensure such bags are not ground up and returned to the environment with the resulting mulch.
County officials told their Vienna counterparts a year ago about the planned move away from plastic bags for yard-waste collection. Vienna officials promptly began recommending that residents not use such bags and in March this year modified the town’s solid-waste rules to restrict the use of plastic bags for yard waste. An article in the town’s April newsletter also highlighted the upcoming change.
Fairfax County in March eliminated the use of plastic bags for such waste and began enforcing the new rules April 19.
Mayor Linda Colbert wondered whether the town could purchase the newly required paper bags at a bulk discount and sell the bags to residents.
“I don’t see why not,” said Vienna Public Works Director Michael Gallagher.