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Parkout FAQs

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.


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! 



What if I have a lot of stuff?


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.



What if I don’t have a pickup truck?


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. 



I heard it was free?


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. 



How do I pay?


The Parkout accepts online credit card payments via PayPal or you can send a check (via USPS or your bank's check-writing service).


New members can join anytime during the membership year, which runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Payment for new members is prorated, based on the quarter in which you join.


Existing/renewing members pay for the entire year. Renewal notices are sent in late May via email (or U.S. mail, if no email address is available) and payment is due by August 1. A $20 late fee applies to the yearly membership fee if paid after August 1.


How do you know I’m a paying member?


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.



What does the garbage truck take?


The Parkout trash truck takes just about everything! Keep your trash and recyclables separate, as we have a truck for each at the Parkout.

As with any commercial curbside service, however, 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. 

What does the recycling truck take? Can I bag recyclables like I do my trash?

Like commercial curbside service, the Parkout follows Fairfax County's recycling practices and thus recycles paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and scrap metals. See the recycling page for more information about recycling. 

If you store and bring your recyclables in bags, you must empty the recyclables themselves into the truck -- do NOT toss bagged recyclables into the recycling truck. The county's recycle processing facility rejects recyclables that are contained in plastic bags. So, please store your recycle items in bins or boxes and toss the loose items in the truck, or empty your bag of items loosely into the truck. 

The county uses a separate processing facility for glass, so please do not add glass with your recyclables. Read on about what to do with glass!

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 and jars to the purple collection bins at several locations in the county, including the Great Falls Library parking lot.


There are other glass items that are not accepted in the purple bins, however, and should just be thrown away in the trash. "Glass" items that go in your trash bags include: light bulbs, glass lamps, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, windows and sheet glass. Read our recycling page for more information.



When can I drop off my trash and recyclables?


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.



What about bad weather and holidays?


he 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.) 

My trash gets stinky in the summer. Can you add a second drop-off?

The Parkout doesn't have the demand to make an additional drop-off day viable (and FCPS would not allow it as it would impinge on GFES operations) but here are a couple tips to help! To combat garbage smells and not attract rodents, two suggested practices are: 1) rinsing out containers before placing them in your trash or recycling bins at home; and 2) storing odor-causing food scraps in a small bag in your freezer until trash day, particularly in the warmer months (e.g., banana peels, fish and poultry skin, spoiled produce, etc). 

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