FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2022
DEP Visits Old Lycoming Township Recycling Center to Discuss Grant Award, Highlight ‘Guidelines for Recycling in Your Community’ Booklet
Williamsport, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) visited the Old Lycoming Township Recycling Center today in Lycoming County to view physical improvements made in part using DEP recycling grant funds, including electronic gates, lighting, and surveillance cameras, and discussed how these improvements have successfully addressed an illegal dumping issue.
“Old Lycoming Township was in danger of closing its recycling center due to persistent and very costly illegal dumping of non-recyclable materials at our recycling drop-off bins,” said Matt Aikey, township manager. “The grant funds provided by DEP in three recent funding rounds have helped the township successfully address this problem by installing features that have allowed us to identify illegal dumpers and deter unwanted activity, making it feasible to continue our recycling program at this site.”
Representatives from Lycoming County Resource Management Services (LCRMS) explained that the county recycling program also utilizes DEP’s Section 902 recycling grant funds for equipment such as recycling trucks and containers needed to service the township’s site and for the central recycling facility at the county’s landfill.
“DEP is pleased to offer Recycling Performance and Implementation Grant funds to assist municipal and county recycling programs to make targeted investments that solve real-world problems to sustain recycling opportunities across our communities,” said Patrick Brennan, Waste Management Program manager for DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office. “Municipalities like Old Lycoming Township are demonstrating how to make recycling work in Pennsylvania through proactive and innovative projects to meet their communities’ needs.”
During the tour, representatives from DEP, LCRMS, and Old Lycoming Township discussed some of the current challenges in recycling. While recycling programs in Pennsylvania are locally controlled at the county and municipal levels, they are influenced by national and global trends. The sustainability of recycling in Pennsylvania requires regular adjustments to local recycling programs, including the rules for recycling and the materials that are accepted, in order to meet the ever-changing needs of recycling markets.
“It’s been a struggle to maintain free recycling services at municipal drop-off sites due to fluctuating recycling markets and gas prices, so it’s even more important that consumers help us collect only clean, acceptable recyclable materials,” said Lauren Strausser, Lycoming County recycling coordinator. “In recent years, the County has updated all recycling containers with smaller openings, which has helped reduce unwanted waste and cut down transportation trips by 40%, among other practical steps.”
Strausser identified illegal dumping at drop off centers, wishful recycling (trying to recycle items that are not locally accepted), the incompatibility of automated sorting equipment with single-use plastic bags, and lack of outlets to recycle materials such as lithium batteries and single stream glass as some of the current challenges facing local recycling programs.
To help address such issues, DEP highlighted its recently published “Guidelines for Recycling in Your Community” booklet, a simple guide to help residents and businesses understand how to recycle properly by finding recycling programs in their local area, learning their local rules, and following them to maximize the social, environmental, and economic benefits of recycling. It explains how to handle commonly-recycled materials, answers frequently asked questions, and addresses common misconceptions about recycling.
“DEP is committed to supporting successful recycling programs in local communities through grantmaking and public education,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We encourage everyone to find ways to reduce their waste, reuse materials, recycle what they can, and properly dispose of what they must.”
DEP has overseen Pennsylvania’s statewide recycling program since 1988, when the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, known as Act 101, took effect. Among other measures, Act 101 requires larger municipalities to offer curbside recycling programs to residents and businesses and establishes a statewide fee on waste disposal to fund local recycling programs.
About 19 out of 20 Pennsylvanians have access to some form of recycling program in their community, including approximately 1,050 municipal curbside pickup programs and 870 drop-off programs, which extend recycling opportunities to Pennsylvania’s rural areas.
Recycling generates tremendous environmental and financial benefits for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania recycles approximately 7 to 8 million tons of resources each year, cutting 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air (equal to taking 2 million cars off the road) and saving enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes.