Waste Management

Arlington County Government and the Commonwealth of Virginia both have stated goals regarding the diversion from the trash waste stream to the recycling stream. Arlington County also has passed a “zero-waste goal”.  Recycling is part of Goal 4 of the APS School Board’s Strategic Plan, “Provide Optimal Learning Environments”.  Furthermore, recycling has an economic impact because the cost of recycling is approximately 50% of the cost of trash.  All APS employees, students and building users are required to participate in the recycling program.

Trash Collection

Trash is collected from each location based on the Plant Operations Pick-Up Schedule for Waste. Collection at APS sites occur Monday through Friday, with the exception of school holidays.  Service on APS holidays occurs the next day.  Frequency of collection is based on size of building and collection needs. Locations experiencing difficulty with collection should contact Plant Operations immediately at 703-228-7732.


Single stream dumpsters are picked up on Tuesdays/Thursdays based on the Single Stream Dumpster Service Schedule.  Toters are picked up on Thursdays.  Click here to view the pick-up schedule.Arlington Public Schools collects a wide range of mixed paper products, cardboard, metal, plastic, and glass. For a complete list of acceptable products, please see the Recycling Guidelines.

Arlington Public Schools’ recycled materials is collected as a single stream process.  This means that all recyclable materials are placed in the same container. Sensors and other devices sort out the material into various processing streams (metal, cardboard, paper, plastic, glass) at the collection site.  Each location is provided tan dumpsters labeled and placarded in English and Spanish for single stream products.  In addition, elementary schools are provided blue toters for all recyclable products.  Posters indicating types of products which are recycled are provided at each location. Trash and recycling output are weighed at each site at each pick-up.  This information is the basis for comparing the “pounds per person per month” calculation. This calculation is the most equitable means of comparing location output.

Improving Recycling Results

The most effective way to increase participation is through a recycling coordinator at each school coupled with an effective communications and engagement plan.  Coordinators for each site are selected and trained regarding education and outreach efforts, recycling of products and serve as the liaison between their location and the Department of Plant Operations. Coordinators use resources such as school staff to review the opportunities for increasing recycling both within their building as well as among building users.  For a list of coordinators by location, click here.

Publicity and Educational Materials:

Disposal of Hazardous Material

Arlington Public Schools is classified as a small generator of chemical waste.The State of Virginia grants each elementary, middle and high school an EPA number. The EPA certificates are kept on file in the Department of Plant Operations. Please contact Plant Operations to verify if a chemical generated in your building qualifies as hazardous material.  APS provides disposal of hazardous material for middle school and high school science labs. The school is responsible for generating a list of chemical waste to be disposed. The list is forwarded to the Safety Specialist to generate quotes from various vendors. The hazardous waste is lab packed, picked-up and disposed of by an outside certified vendor.

To reach the Plant Operations Department, please call 703-228-7732