WasteSmart: Alexandria’s 20-Year Strategic Plan to Sustainably Recover Resources
The Resource Recovery Division has prepared a strategic plan that will guide the City’s solid waste management for the next 20 years. On January 12, 2019, City Council unanimously voted to adopt the WasteSmart Strategic Plan.
The WasteSmart Strategic Plan will ensure that Alexandria continues to be a good steward of its waste by both preparing for emerging environmental concerns and taking advantage of technological advances that are coming.
Read the WasteSmart Strategic Plan.
WasteSmart Highlights and Achievements
- Plastic Bag Tax
The City has adopted an ordinance to impose a five-cent tax for disposable plastic bags offered at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. This tax would be charged for every bag provided at checkout. The tax effective date is January 1, 2022.
- What Goes Where Sorting Tool
The City of Alexandria has launched a new resource that makes sorting items for recycling and trash collection easier. “What Goes Where” is a new web application that enables residents to find information on which items–such as rechargeable batteries, plastic bags, clothing and glass bottles–can be donated, repaired, recycled, composted, disposed of, and more.
- City Joins Region in Removing Glass from Curbside Collection to Ensure Recyclability
Effective January 15, 2020, customers who receive City recycling service must bring glass containers to one of the region’s “purple bin” drop-off locations to ensure the glass will be recycled. Glass collected at the purple bins are hauled to a processing plant in Fairfax County and recycled into new glass bottles or crushed into gravel and sand that can be used in local public works projects.
- Recycle Right Alexandria Sorting Game
The Resource Recovery Division received the Virginia Recycling Association's "Show Me the Way Award" for the Recycle Right sorting game. The award recognizes organizations that have taken actions to have a positive impact on people's understanding of how to recycle. The City's new sorting game teaches children age 7 and up to properly sort recyclables, yard waste, and trash. Visit alexandriava.recycle.game to play!
City of Alexandria's Reuse Directory
Reduce and Reuse comes before Recycle. Reducing waste and reusing is the most effective way to save natural resources, protect the environment, and reduce costs. The City of Alexandria launched an online Reuse Map & Directory. This directory allows the user to find locations to donate, repair, and consign materials through local vendors and businesses. The creation of this Reuse Directory was identified as a short-term action item for the City’s WasteSmart Strategic Plan.
In July 2017, the City retained an independent firm to complete a series of seven memorandums to evaluate the City’s current waste management programs and provide recommendations for future long-term management strategies. The final draft memorandums were completed in July 2018 with a series of recommendations for the City to evaluate. These technical papers were utilized in the development of the strategic plan.
- Task 1 & 2 - Evaluate current services and benchmark with other communities
- Task 3 - Review costs and benefits of collecting solid waste by contract
- Task 4 - Identify opportunities to increase revenue by offering new services
- Task 5 - Evaluate the collection and processing of recyclables separate from regular trash
- Task 6 - Evaluate the environmental benefits of current waste collection and processing practices
- Task 7 - Evaluate feasible alternatives to operating a waste-to-energy facility in Alexandria after 2038 and recommend a general planning schedule for managing Alexandria’s solid waste beyond 2038