Changes to Recycling Regulations in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA

Washington, D.C.: Waste management modernization act summary

New provisions are moving D.C. towards increasing composting and electronics recycling, and moving away from the use of styrofoam.

Among the details:

  • Waste: Penalties significantly increase, to a maximum fine of $25,000 or suspension or revocation of registration or license, for failure to annually report total tonnage of solid waste and recycling collected.
  • Electronics: The bill will phase in a citywide, mandatory electronic recycling program. By January 1, 2016, the sale of electronic equipment is prohibited unless it complies with labeling requirements and the manufacturer has registered with the Mayor. By January 1, 2018, covered electronic equipment must be disposed of through a recycling program or other method approved by the Mayor.
  • Styrofoam ban: Effective July 2016, food service businesses shall not sell or provide food or beverage for consumption in disposable food services unless it is compostable or recyclable. For the first violation, the penalty shall not exceed $100.

Arlington, VA: Call for feedback on proposed requirements for additional recycling containers

The Department of Environmental Services, Solid Waste Bureau, wants to hear from the business community in Arlington about proposed changes to the current code that will expand existing recycling at multifamily dwellings and commercial establishments.

If implemented, the code changes will require that by January 2016, recycling containers are located near trash cans to provide equally convenient access for users to recycle.

Under these new proposals, residential buildings that require residents to bring their recycling to a central location may have to add recycling containers next to garbage chute on individual floors. Commercial buildings may also have to start thinking about how to get tenants to comply.

The proposed amendments will be considered this November.

To provide feedback, comments or other recommendations on the changes, or to request a visit from a county recycling compliance specialist, contact or 703-228-6571. 

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