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Local Recycling Program Reports

Act 101 of 1988, "The Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act," mandates recycling in municipalities with populations over 10,000 and those with populations between 5,000 and 10,000 that have population densities greater than 300 persons per square mile. At present, 440 of Pennsylvania's 2,700 municipalities are mandated to recycle and provide curbside collection programs. These municipalities collect leaf waste and at least three materials from a menu of eight materials - steel/tin and aluminum cans, plastics, clear and colored glass, office paper, newspaper and corrugated cardboard from residents. They also provide recycling education and enforce their recycling ordinances.

Pennsylvania has over 1,900 municipalities with access to recycling programs. These programs serve an estimated 94 percent of the state's population. Of the communities not required to recycle, 617 have curbside programs and 873 have access to drop-off programs.

Summary of Municipalities by Recycling Program Type

Type of Recycling Program

# of Municipalities

Mandated Curbside Collection

440 

Voluntary Curbside Collection

617 

Access to Drop-off Collection Only

873 

Total Number of Municipalities in Programs

1,930 

* 424 municipaliities have both curbside and drop-off collection

Approximately 70 percent of the municipalities use private haulers for residential recycling collection; the rest collect their own. The private sector operates 56 of Pennsylvania's 84 materials recycling facilities (MRFs). Most leaf and yard waste composting is handled by municipal, county and authority-owned composting facilities.

Nineteen of the 67 counties had met or exceeded the 35 percent recycling goal by 2001.

By weight, more paper is recycled than any other material, followed by construction/demolition waste from residential do-it-yourself building projects.

Pennsylvania distinguishes between "standard" and "nonstandard" recyclable materials. "Standard" materials refer to those covered by the U.S. standard recycling calculation, which was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Council of State Governments to enable comparisons of recycling results between states. These include all the materials specified in Act 101 plus food wastes, textiles, tires and white goods. Pennsylvania's recycling programs collect "nonstandard" materials, as well - notably construction and demolition wastes, used oil and aluminum scrap.

Generation & Recycling, 2004

Year

Tons MSW Generated Normalized to .87 tons per / person / year

Lb. / Person / Day MSW Generated

Total Tons Recycled

Total Recycling Rate EPA Standard Tons Recycled EPA Standard Recycling Rate
2004   4.77       
           
* Generation for Philadelphia is 1 ton per person per year.
**ISRI - Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

EPA Standard Materials Recycled

Material Breakdown Subtotal Total Tons
Paper      
  Corrugated    
  Newsprint    
  Office Paper    
  Other    
Metals      
  Steel cans    
  Alum. cans    
  Other*    
Glass      
  Clear    
  Mixed    
Plastics      
  HDPE    
  PETE    
  Mixed    
Leaf/Yard      
Commingled      
Wood      
Tires      
Food Waste      
Car Batteries      
Textiles      
Antifreeze      
HHW      
Flurescent Tubes      
Consumer Electronics      
Circuit Boards      
Oil Filters      
Mattresses      
Total      
*Mixed metals and scrap steel, copper, brass, etc...

Nonstandard Materials Recycled, 2003

Material Tons
Construction/Demolition Waste  
Miscellaneous/Other Consumer Items  
Motor Oil  
Aluminum Scrap  
Auto Parts  
Drum Steel  
Furniture  
Nickel Cadmium (or NiCad) Batteries  
Fiber Drums  
Asphalt  
TOTAL
 

Commercial Recycling Programs

Mandated communities are responsible for ensuring that commercial, institutional and municipal establishments recycle aluminum cans, corrugated cardboard, office paper and leaf waste, at minimum. Many businesses in nonmandated communities also recycle, but do not always report their efforts for inclusion in the statewide recycling rate. Private haulers account for nearly 100 percent of collection from commercial, institutional and municipal establishments.​