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Sideburn Support Center
5025 Sideburn Road
Fairfax, VA 22032

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours [?]


Recycling all newspapers could save 250,000,000 trees a year! [?]

Recycling in FCPS

FCPS supports recycling! As citizens of the earth and stewards of our environment, we recognize that recycling has many benefits to our community.

Our recycling program serves several purposes:

  • Contribute to a cleaner environment

  • Educate students on the benefits of recycling

  • Divert materials from the waste stream

  • Generate financial savings from reduced waste disposal


FCPS follows a single stream recycling process. Single-stream recycling (also known as “fully commingled” or "single-sort") recycling refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection dumpster, instead of being sorted by the depositor into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single-stream recycling, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated for reuse at a recycling facility.

Recycling at Your School

All Fairfax County Public Schools have been supplied with recycling dumpsters. If your school would like to make the most of this opportunity, here are some easy steps to follow:

Recycling Liaison

*The principal or program manager should appoint a liaison to administer and implement the recycling program within each school (Regulation R8541).
The liaison will identify the persons in the school who will be responsible for emptying the recyclable materials. If the liaison or appointed staff separate or sort the contaminated materials, the custodians can dispose of it in the proper refuse container. NOTE: Sorting contaminated recyclables should not be the responsibility of the custodial staff as this will take needed time from their cleaning duties.

Recycling Bins

As part of the effort to ensure that all schools are able to sufficiently implement a recycling program, The Office of Facilities Management identified and purchased recycling containers for the collection of recycled materials throughout all of the facilities in FCPS. Listed below are a breakdown of container types and the distribution of these containers to each school type. If additional collection containers are needed at your school, they can be purchased through the Guernsey Office Supply catalog in FOCUS (FCPS Employees Only).


23 Gallon Slim Jim Container

23 Gallon Slim Jim Containers with Bottle and Can Slotted Tops:

These containers are to be used for the collection of bottles and cans throughout the facility. 


  • ALL schools received one (1) of these containers for each of their teacher’s lounges 

  • High and Secondary schools received additional Slim Jim containers for the hallway intersections throughout the school 

  • High and Secondary schools received four (4) of these containers for the cafeteria

  • Middle and Elementary schools received two (2) of these containers for the cafeteria

7 Gallon Recycling Container

7 Gallon Recycling Containers:

These containers will be used to collect mixed paper and cardboard from classroom and office areas.


  • ALL schools received one (1) of these containers for each classroom and office area 

7 Gallon Recycling Container

Larger Recycling Bins

Schools can buy larger recycling bins or convert any extra trash bins to recycling bins by painting them, marking them with duct tape, or decorating them in some other fashion.



What can be recycled?

Each school has been issued recycling and waste to energy posters that should be displayed throughout the school.  These posters describe the items that are recyclable as well as the items that are considered refuse and end up at the Covanta Plant where they are burned for energy.


Recycling Poster Waste to Energy Poster Energy Zone Poster


Additional full-size copies of these posters can be ordered through TMPC at these links (must be on the FCPS network or logged into VPN):


Recycling Poster - Full Size Poster
Waste to Energy - Full Size Poster
Energy Zone - Full Size Poster


To summarize, you can recycle the following:

Paper – cardboard trays and other cardboard products, paper bags, newspaper, cereal boxes (without plastic lining), catalogs, magazines, printer and lined paper, colored paper such as construction paper, post-it notes, envelopes, and telephone books.


Plastic – all types of plastic with numbers 1-7 are recyclable.  This includes plastic dishes from the cafeteria, all plastic eating utensils and clam shell containers.


Glass – Bottles and jars only.  It is okay to leave labels on containers.  Metal lids may be recycled.


Aluminum – Aluminum cans and clean aluminum foil.  Empty and rinse cans if possible.  Flatten to save space.


Note: Any item coated in food residue, such as cheese, sauce, or liquid, should be put in the trash bin even if that item is recyclable.  If you can dump any leftover food, such as tater tots, without leaving residue, you can dump the food in the trash and recycle the container.


Recycling Videos

To help your recycling efforts, here are a couple of fun, informational recycling videos – You Can Recycle That! and Lunchtime Recycling Made Easy.

What happens after our waste is collected?

Recycling Data

When a trash or recycling dumpster is picked up from your school, the truck picks up the dumpster with two arms.  As the dumpster is lifted, it is weighed.  This data is collected from each school, sent to FCPS, and shared via the recycling dashboard.

Recycling Process

Diagram of the recycling process at FCPS