Resource Recovery Service Changes Due to COVID-19

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Page updated on Oct 29, 2020 at 4:33 PM

Reopening Phases for Resource Recovery

The City of Alexandria has announced reopening phases for resource recovery/waste management services offered by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES). The City's refuse collectors continue to face the challenge of a historic increase in trash and recycling volume; residents are asked to help protect our workers by continuing to reduce the amount of waste they produce as much as possible.

  • Press release on reopening phases for resource recovery services
  • Chart for reopening phases of resource recovery services

Resource Recovery Service Changes Due to COVID-19

Trash Goes in Plastic Bags; Recycling Does Not

Materials allowed outside of trash/recycling carts beginning June 15              
Beginning June 15, the City will resume collecting properly prepared trash and recycling placed outside of City-issued bins and carts. Residents receiving City collection should still make sure that trash that does not fit inside of their cart is tied or sealed in plastic bags. Recycling should be placed loose, with no plastic bag, inside the blue bins or carts. Recycling that does not fit inside of a City-issued cart can be placed in paper bags or, in the case of cardboard boxes and other oversize materials, broken down and placed next to your recycling cart. For additional guidance, see

Reduce Waste Generation

The City encourages residents to help us by reducing the amount of waste they produce as much as possible. Workers are facing the challenge of historic trash and recycling volume — this, coupled with additional cleaning and safety protocols related to COVID-19, makes for a much longer, more difficult workday. Please consider ways to reduce excess waste generated at home. For example, prevent food waste with these Save the Food tips to shop wisely, use the food you have, and keep food fresh longer. Consider ways to prevent excess packaging waste. Please hold off on generating large volumes of waste at once from cleaning out garages, attics, closets, and/or basements.   

Trash & Recycling Preparations Guidelines to Ensure Worker Safety

Schedules for  curbside trash and  recycling collection have not changed. However, as a reminder, we ask that all trash, whether it is placed in a can/cart or not, be secured within a tied or sealed plastic bag. Items placed curbside for recycling should not be placed in plastic bags, but please ensure that all materials are contained within bins or carts provided by the City. If you do not have a blue recycling bin or cart, please place your recyclables in paper bags for curbside pickup—do not leave the items loose. 

Absolutely no soiled paper (tissues, napkins, paper towels, or wipes) should be recycled or flushed down the toilet. Put these materials in your trash bags.   

Yard Waste, Bulk Metals, Bulk Trash Collection 

  • Starting Monday, November 2 customers receiving City yard waste collection services will resume its regular collection schedule, which is the same day as trash and recycling collection.
  • October 30 will be the last Friday yard waste collection.
  • Bulky yard waste must be scheduled through Alex311. Please visit the website for preparation instructions.

City of Alexandria Yard Waste Drop-Off Site - Open Through June 12

The City's temporary drop-off site for yard waste will close when curbside collection resumes. The last day of operations for the drop-off site will be Friday, June 12. 

Mulch Delivery - Begins Week of June 15; Ordering Now Open

The City’s mulch delivery program will resume the week of June 15; online ordering opened on June 1. The City will contact customers who have placed orders earlier in the season to reschedule their deliveries. Both leaf and wood mulch continue to be available for pickup, free of charge, at our self-serve mulch facility, located at 4215 Eisenhower Ave. 

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) & Electronics Center - Normal Operations Resume June 8

The Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Center will resume its regular schedule (Mondays and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) on Monday, June 8. The center will continue its limited Saturday-only service through Saturday, June 6. The center will continue to adhere to the special  operating procedures put in place for the safety of staff and residents. 

Farmers Market Food Waste Composting Stations - Reopening August 1

The City of Alexandria’s food waste composting stations will reopen at the Del Ray and Old Town farmers’ markets on Saturday, August 1, and at the Four Mile Run and West End markets on Sunday, August 2. Service will resume during the normal operating hours, which are available at  

To protect staff and members of the public, new COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The City asks residents to wear a facial covering or mask and maintain 6 feet of physical distance from staff and other users of the food waste drop-off program. Shared items such as cloth towels, spoons, and pens will not be available for customer use. To help users and staff maintain distance, the City will temporarily suspend selling kitchen-top compost buckets and giving away compost samples at the markets. Visitors are encouraged to wash their compost bins with soap and hot water after drop off, as an extra precaution.  

The City’s compost set-up crews continue to focus their efforts on COVID-19 response and dealing with a historic increase in refuse and recycling volume. The City has hired Agricity, a small, local sustainability company with experience managing and building composting programs across the region. Residents are also encouraged to consider ways to  reduce food waste or   backyard composting if possible.