Countywide

County invites residents to drop off food and yard waste for composting at I-66 facility

Fairfax County will kick off a two-year Compost Outpost pilot at the I-66 Transfer Station on Wednesday (courtesy DPWES)

Fairfax County wants your food scraps and yard waste.

The county will officially launch its new compost outpost at the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

Part of a two-year-long pilot program, the facility consists of two 20-foot-long shipping containers modified so that visitors can drop off organic waste in the dirt-filled receptacles.

“It is designed to create optimal conditions for composting and is a test facility to demonstrate small-scale, decentralized, organics processing,” the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) said in a media advisory.

The pilot will expand the county’s efforts to promote composting, which makes soil healthier by returning nutrients to the earth, reducing erosion and improving its ability to hold water, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The county has also been accepting food scraps for composting at the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) in Lorton and at some farmers markets, though the 2023 season isn’t set to begin until later this month.

The I-66 outpost will process food scraps and yard waste from residents and county facilities, though residents must drop off their collections directly.

“We will not be picking them up for this program,” DPWES spokesperson Sharon North said.

The resulting compost is expected to be initially used at county parks, according to North.

The pilot will help the county determine the facility’s effectiveness and provide a visible demonstration of “the ability…to take a waste product and turn it into a locally sourced and readily available resource that can be used to enhance the community,” said Matt Adams, director of the Solid Waste Management Program in the DPWES Engineering and Environmental Compliance Division.

“The Compost Outpost pilot demonstrates this by utilizing sustainable materials, such as plant material and food scraps that are currently treated as a waste products to be removed from the community, and transforming them into compost that can be used locally,” Adams said in a statement to FFXnow. “This greatly benefits the environment and the county’s overall sustainability goals by lowering emissions through the reduction [of] transportation/processing practices and adds to the resources available within a community.”

Here’s more on the pilot from DPWES:

The two-year pilot was approved by the Department of Environmental Quality and aligns with the county’s Zero Waste Policy by diverting food waste and other organics from municipal waste streams.

Over the course, the operational impacts, as well as the production of the finished compost will be assessed to determine the project’s feasibility and efficacy.

The Compost Outpost pilot will cost approximately $100,000. It is funded by the county’s Zero Waste Team and hosted by the Solid Waste Management Program and its partner, Compost Crew.

More information on the materials accepted for composting can be found on the DPWES website.