(February 11, 2021) In early 2020, many municipal trash haulers suspended recycling programs and large or bulky item pick-up citing worker safety and other limitations due to novel coronavirus (Covid 19). Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates and its partners also postponed spring and summer special collections to ensure the health and safety of workers and county residents. At the same time, countless Pennsylvanian’s were cleaning out basements and garages, leaving them with scrap tires, appliances and electronics and few options for where to take them.
As the economy began to open up, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates worked with partners, sponsors and other like-minded organizations to determine the best way to continue offering services while at the same time keeping everyone safe. Following all local, state and federal guidelines, including asking anyone bringing recyclables to a drop-off facility or one-day event to pre-register, remain in their vehicle, wear a facemask and have exact change, collection events resumed in late summer and early fall.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates, which are county and municipal based, collected a combined total of over 1,119,573 pounds of electronics, 11,851 tires, 119,041 appliances and 56,341 pounds of household hazardous waste.
The recyclables were collected through a combination of one-day special collections events and permanent drop-off recycling centers. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates who offered one-day collections for their residents include: Keep Cambria County Beautiful, PA CleanWays of Mifflin County, Keep Perry County Beautiful, Tri-County CleanWays, serving Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties. PA CleanWays of Elk County, PA CleanWays of Venango County and Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling operate permanent drop-off recycling centers.
“Even with the amount of obstacles organizers had to overcome due to the novel coronavirus, our affiliates were able to adjust their protocols to hold safe and successful collections events. These convenient, low cost options for disposing of tires, old appliances, electronics and other recyclables are crucial to making certain that these items end up where they should and not over the hillside. I want to thank our affiliates for providing this valuable service to their communities and the residents for holding on to their things until services became available again,” states Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Many affiliate groups are able to keep their costs to their residents low by participating in the Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) Household and Small Business Hazardous Waste Collection Program that provides partial funding for the responsible recycling of all items collected. The items collected are sent to DEP approved facilities for recycling. Tires are processed into rubber mulch, play turf, rubber asphalt roads and other items. The metal, plastic and glass are separated from the electronics and appliances and sold for reuse in items such as metal rebar, glass aggregate and plastic cell phones, laptops, and other equipment.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works to increase the availability of convenient, affordable disposal for certain items, such as tires, electronics, household hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, and appliances. The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Affiliate Network often works with local solid waste and recycling offices to identify local disposal needs and implement special collections. For more information, visit keeppabeautiful.org and choose Calendar of Events for 2021 collection events. Contact your local county affiliate for more information about proper disposal by going to keeppabeautiful.org and choosing Get Involved/Find an Affiliate.
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About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 147 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.