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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Special bins set up for glass-only recycling

A glass-only recycling bin operated by the City of Alexandria.
Fairfax County doesn’t want people to put class bottles or jars in their curbside recycling bins any more (although you can still do that.)

The market for recycled glass has declined, mainly due to tighter controls imposed by China on the quality of materials it accepts. Also, broken glass is difficult to sort when it’s mixed in with other materials. As a result, most glass containers placed in curbside bins are not recycled and end up in landfills. 
Big Blue crushes glass.
Instead, Fairfax County urges people to haul used glass bottles to the new purple dumpsters at the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 W. Ox Road, Fairfax) or the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road, Lorton).

The City of Alexandria has four glass recycling drop-off sites and Arlington County has two, including some closer to Annandale/Mason residents than the two operated by Fairfax County.

For example, there are purple glass-only recycling containers in the Landmark area at Tower Court and S. Whiting Street in Alexandria, 4251 Eisenhower Ave. in Alexandria; and 2800 S. Taylor St. in Arlington.

Food residue should be removed and jars should be rinsed before putting them in the purple bins. Items that are not acceptable include lamps, light bulbs, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, windows, and glass sheets.

As part of a regional partnership with Alexandria and Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William counties, glass dropped off at any of the purple bins will be brought to the I-95 landfill complex and crushed into sand and gravel-sized pieces by a processing plant called “Big Blue.” 

Fairfax County uses the crushed glass as construction fill and bedding material for road repairs, supporting pipes, and drainage projects. Big Blue can crush 20 tons of glass an hour.


  1. The County should place a purple bin next to the ABC store on Little River Turnpike. There were a number of bins there for years and people used them.- Sparky

    1. So true. Fairfax County used to have lots of locations - besides the ABC one, there was another near the skate park. Now if we want to recycle, we have to drive 20 miles in traffic to Lorton. Not exactly good for the environment.

  2. Sheesh! I guess I have to start buying boxed wine!