Prince William to celebrate America Recycles Day
By Roger LeBlanc
Prince William Recycles Day will be held at the Prince William County Landfill on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For over a decade, Prince William County Solid Waste Division has been hosting Prince William Recycles Day in conjunction with America Recycles Day. The annual event has grown to attract over 1,000 residents who come out every year to learn about the county’s recycling program, enjoy entertainment, play recycling themed games, get their face painted, tour the County Landfill, and more.
This year’s celebration theme is “Recycling Matters”, and the event aims to reinforce the importance of waste reduction, recycling, and buying recycled products to the local community. Local organizations are encouraged to attend to learn how they can support recycling and community outreach efforts.
Featured performers will include “The Recycling Pirates of the Good Life Theater”, a puppet show created entirely from recycled trash materials. Characters such as Captain Jack Sparetire teach children about recycling through song and storytelling.
“Recycling is a dynamic program,” says Deborah Campbell, Communications Specialist for the Solid Waste Division. “Things are always changing. The array of materials that can be recycled increases and the convenience of recycling opportunities improve. Recycles Day is a one on one, fun way to educate residents.”
Prince William County achieved a recycle rate of 36.8 percent in 2016. This was an increase from the 2015 rate of 33.7 percent. More than 82 thousand tons of material were diverted from the landfill. Although the recycling rate appears to be moving in the right direction, Scott MacDonald, the County’s recycling manager, cautions against becoming too complacent. There is still work to do because currently, 62 percent of the County’s waste goes into the landfill.
In addition to its recycling program, Prince William County has won several accolades and awards for its strong, environmental practices. The Solid Waste Division also provides unique opportunities for education through its designated nature trails and forthcoming Eco Park facility.
The landfill also produces clean, renewable energy for county residents by capturing the methane gas that is produced from organic waste and converting it to usable electricity. As landfill waste decomposes, gas is produced, which includes around 50 percent methane. Upwards of 100 underground extraction wells across the landfill capture the gas.
The landfill gas is cleaned and compressed, and used as fuel in engines to produce power, which is sold to Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s electricity grid. Landfill gas is also used at nearby facilities such as the animal shelter, school bus garage and fleet maintenance shop.
The landfill’s methane gas electricity program is just one of many things that amaze and interest Prince William Recycles Day attendees when they take the landfill tour and participate in the numerous activities available. For more information about Prince William Recycles Day and other Solid Waste programs, visit pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling.