Solid Waste Report

NVRC has conducted a report of solid waste services for the Washington Metropolitan area since 1989
Now a biennial report, the report provides trends and data on waste and recycling services, rates, requirements, tonnages, and special waste handling data for the region
2019 Waste Report 2019 Waste Report Cover Opens in new window
Disposal and Recycling Capacity Challenges Loom
2019 Waste Report (16th edition, August 2020)


The NVWMB released the 16th edition of the biennial “2019 Public Solid Waste Services in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. The report includes program details on waste and recycling collection, generation, management, and diversion. Sources for the report include current and historic data reported by localities, demographic and household information, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality facility and jurisdiction reporting, and permitting capacity data from regional waste management facilities.

Purple Can Club: A Glass Solution Outside the Bin

Northern Virginia jurisdictions have piloted a successful and growing glass diversion drop off program. Within a year of piloting the program, glass recovery has improved dramatically.  Outcomes are highlighted on the NVWMB home page.

COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Waste Management

Measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 included the wholesale quarantine of residential populations, closure of most businesses, and the suspension of source-separated yard waste collections and most drop-off and specialty waste management programs. These changes are anticipated to have a significant impact on system metrics for the remainder of the year and may have impacted resident behavior throughout the region on a permanent or lasting basis.

Per Capita Trash Generation Well Above National Average
Trash generation is a negative side effect of an affluent and growing community. Although, individual per capita waste generation rates have decreased from about 11 to 8 lbs. per person per day, the most recent national per capita waste generation rate reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is 4.5 lbs. per person per day.   Most disposal options in the region are almost 50% to 99% capacity.

Construction Debris Capacity Limited to Non-Existent 

No new construction and demolition debris (CDD) disposal facilities have been built in the region for about 40 years.  A CDD landfill in Fairfax County relied upon for years by the construction industry, in the region, closed at the beginning of 2018.  

More Information from the 2019 Report

The Northern Virginia Waste Management Board (NVWMB) released the 16th edition of the biennial “2019 Public Solid Waste Services in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.”  Developed by and for public waste programs, the report includes program details on waste and recycling collection, generation, management, and diversion. Sources for the report include current and historic data reported by localities, demographic and household information, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality facility and jurisdiction reporting, and permitting capacity data from regional waste management facilities. The Waste Report includes maps of facilities used by local waste programs, and graphics outlining the regional flow of  waste and recyclable commodities.

Change expected as a result of Covid-19 Pandemic

2020 has been a unique year for humanity, as it has struggled collectively to combat a global coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19. In order to stem the tide of infections that threatened to overwhelm public health infrastructure, businesses and governments at every level in the region implemented various measures to limit the spread of the disease. Specific to waste management, these measures included the wholesale quarantine of residential populations, closure of most businesses, and the suspension of source-separated yard waste collections and most drop-off and specialty waste management programs. These changes are anticipated to have a significant impact on system metrics for the remainder of the year and may have impacted resident behavior throughout the region on a permanent or lasting basis.

Per Capita trash generation lower, but still well above national average:
 While the regional population has increased by about 300,000 residents over the past decade, individual per capita waste generation rates have decreased from about 11 to 8 lbs. per person per day. The most recent national per capita waste generation rate reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is 4.5 lbs. per person per day.   The rate reflects the commercial, multifamily trash combined with residential waste.  Commercial and multifamily facilities generate between 60 to 75 percent of waste in Northern Virginia, inflating per capita calculations. 


Northern Virginia waste managers represent leadership in best practices and services, no new solid waste disposal facilities have been built in the region for about 40 years.  Currently, Prince William County is expanding and improving its yard waste composting facility and is developing organic waste processing. 

2018 Waste Received vs Annual Permitted Capacity for Northern Virginia Facilities


Northern Virginia and DC Material Processing

Click on the image for more detail.

Facilities Interactive Map

For an interactive map of facilities existing and used for waste and recycling by Northern Virginia entities click on the map image below.

Solid Waste Map Opens in new window

Construction Debris Capacity Limited

No new construction and demolition debris (CDD) disposal facilities have been built in the region for about 40 years.  A CDD landfill in Fairfax County relied upon for years by the construction industry closed at the beginning of 2018.  CDD recycling and disposal in the area is conducted by the private sector.

Remaining Construction Landfill Capacity for Northern Virginia and Statewide

cdd landfill cap 2019 wr


Past Waste Reports

For more information contact Debbie Spiliotopoulos, Senior Environmental Planner and Solid Waste Program Manager, at (703) 642-4631.