Q: What’s so great about bringing my trash and recyclables to the parking lot of the Great Falls Elementary School on Saturday mornings? I live a busy life.
A: For $330 a year you pay half the cost of curbside pickup, in a community that has vexed big commercial outfits. Most trash hauling companies charge premium prices in Great Falls because of the difficulty of navigating our narrow, semirural and private roads.
As a nonprofit, the Parkout offers a reliable, friendly neighborhood drop off service, rain or shine, every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. Bring as many loads as you like!
Q: What if I have a lot of stuff?
A: Attendants do the heavy lifting for you. Using the Parkout not only saves you money, it cuts down on big trucks tearing up our rural roads and helps make our community cleaner, quieter and greener. The Parkout has been a community tradition since the 1930s. It’s all about our community serving you best, as a resident of this beautiful, unique place.
Q: What if I don’t have a pickup truck?
A: No worries. Most members fit a week’s worth of trash in their SUVs or in the trunks or back seats of their cars. Make it a Saturday morning ritual, like generations of Great Falls residents.
Q: I heard it was free?
A: No. That ended in 2004, when Fairfax County handed off operation of the Parkout to a community group of nonpaid volunteers. There are no county subsidies for the Parkout. But, it’s still way cheaper than curbside pickup, and a great bargain for Great Falls residents.
Q: How do I pay?
A: The Parkout accepts online credit card payments via PayPal or you can send a check (via USPS or your bank's check-writing service). Join anytime during the membership year, which runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Payment is prorated, based on the quarter in which you join.
Q: How do you know I’m a paying member?
A: Parkout members are issued up to 3 hang tags (for 3 different vehicles) to display on your dashboard or rearview mirror when you pull up to the Parkout.
Volunteer monitors are onsite at random times to enforce compliance. Please display your tag! It helps us serve you better. Those without a tag and in a vehicle not on file are turned away but encouraged to join the Parkout.
Q: What do the garbage and recycling trucks take?
A: The Parkout takes just about everything! As with curbside service, items such as yard waste (leaves, etc), tires, paint, construction debris and hazardous materials need to be taken directly to the county’s I-66 Transfer Station, located just west of Fair Oaks Mall.
Like curbside service, the Parkout recycles paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and scrap metals, so separate your trash and recyclables before you load your vehicle. There are always two trucks onsite, one for trash and one for recyclables. However, please don't put glass with your recyclables.
Q: What about glass recycling?
Fairfax County no longer accepts any glass in its recycling program with trash haulers (whether curbside companies or the Parkout). Instead, county residents are asked to bring glass bottles/jars to the purple collection bins at several locations in the county, including the Great Falls Library parking lot. "Glass" items that go in your trash bags for the Parkout include: light bulbs, glass lamps, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, windows and sheet glass. Read our Glass Recycling page for more info.
Q: When can I drop off?
A: On Saturdays between the hours of 8 am and noon. If you arrive before 8 am, please wait until the American Disposal Service trucks are onsite and operating. Please DO NOT leave your trash at the elementary school either before or after hours. That is a violation of the Fairfax County dumping code and violators will face consequences.
Q: What about bad weather and holidays?
A: The Parkout is open every Saturday of the year. If closure is necessary due to severe weather, the Parkout will email members ASAP. To ensure you receive this important communication, please make sure that the Parkout has your current email address (and add the Parkout to your contacts so that the email does not go into your junk folder).
If a major holiday falls on a Saturday, the Parkout will arrange for service on a week day. (For example, Christmas Day 2021 and New Years Day 2022 fell on Saturdays, so no service was available on those days but service was provided on the Wednesday mornings before those Saturdays.)
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