Compost Outposts: Fairfax
“We completed our 4th Compost Outpost in Fairfax County! This Outpost is an excellent illustration of how distributed composting can work for communities.  We will be collecting food scraps from the County’s food scrap drop-off program and municipal buildings and making compost right at the I-66 Transfer Station.”
– Ben Parry, Compost Crew CEO

On April 5th, Fairfax County held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Compost Outpost® at the I-66 Transfer Station in Fairfax, VA. Compost Crew has worked in partnership with the County’s Solid Waste Management Program to establish this pilot program as a solution for processing food scraps and other organic materials into high-quality compost. This effort supports the county’s Zero Waste Policy by diverting food waste from the municipal waste stream.

The I-66 Transfer Station is a recycling center that offers high-quality and environmentally-responsive recycling and disposal services to Fairfax County. They recycle and provide the proper disposal of organic and inorganic materials like yard waste, metal, glass, tires, e-waste, cooking oil and more. The addition of our Compost Outpost will expand the County’s sustainability efforts by offering a space to process organic scraps like food and yard waste from their community into high-quality compost.

“This lets us, Fairfax County, test in a small environment a system where we remove food scraps and plant materials from the waste stream and turn them into something that provides a benefit to the community in a decentralized way. This is one of the many efforts that Fairfax County is taking to move towards our new sustainability goals.”
 – Matt Adams, Director of the County’s Solid Waste Management Program in the DPWES Engineering and Environmental Compliance Division

This two-year pilot program is funded by the County’s Zero Waste Team. The mission of the pilot is to illustrate the natural process of converting food waste and other organic matter into finished compost, which can be used as a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

The new Outpost at I-66 Transfer Station has the capacity to process approximately 2,000 pounds (one ton) of food scraps and yard waste each week. These scraps will be collected from County residents – both those who bring food scraps to the drop-off location at the Transfer Station and those who have curbside collection – minimizing the distance it must be transported to turn it into finished compost. The County is planning to use the finished compost for a pollinator garden on the retired landfill!

Creativity and sustainability can easily go hand in hand. This particular system is the first to features barn doors and dividers handcrafted by Compost Crew Composting Operations Supervisor, Julie. Since stained wood acts as a contaminant for our piles, another non-toxic and environmentally friendly sealing method was used to treat and seal the doors. A wood-burning technique known as Yakisugi or “Shou Sugi Ban”, used for centuries in Japan, preserves the wood by making it resistant to sunlight, water, and fire. We are eager to display more artistic elements and compost education at this outpost as the pilot continues.

Julie burns handcrafted barn doors with Yakisugi method.

The gradual expansion of our Fairfax County drop-off program and the opening of the Compost Outpost combined is another step towards enacting environmental change for the county’s future.

Compost Crew continues to partner with Fairfax County to encourage food waste diversion in the community with engagement opportunities like our Fall pumpkin collection during the DPWES Pumpkin Palooza. Keep up with our blog, Quarterly Core newsletter, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for upcoming events and more!