Tag Archives: waste management pittsburgh

Urban Recycling: Steel Valley

1 Jun

Growing up in the ‘burbs left me kind of ignorant to the idea of waste management.

Yes, I know I talk about waste, poop, and compost a lot.  Move on.

I had grown up with curbside garbage and recycling and didn’t realize that other people don’t just walk their yuckies to the end of the driveway and never think about it again.

As an educated adult, I no longer have that option.  I know too well that what goes out, goes someplace else – someone else’s place sometimes.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is the U.S.’s larger importer of waste?  According to ActionPA, we import waste from 28 friggin other states.  Only 23% of the garbage in PA landfills comes from Pennsylvanians.  Why?  Because Pennsylvania has extremely low tipping fees compared to other states.  Pennsylvania averages around $20-$30 per ton to dump, whereas neighboring states average about $80-$100 per ton to dump (source).  Yes, we are making money off of other people’s garbage.  But we are also becoming a dumping ground.

This is an image of a landfill near my hometown.

I live in a small borough that borders the city of Pittsburgh.  We do not have curbside recycling.  But what am I supposed to do?  Not recycle?  Yeah, right.

So about every week or every other week, depending on how much crap we generate, she♥ and I pack up our car with recyclables and drive:

And dump:

Trust me, 5 miles away isn’t that serious and we normally swing by when we already have plans to be in that neighborhood.  But why?  Why doesn’t my borough make it easier for its citizens to recycle?  Why wouldn’t they want to do something that would lessen vehicular traffic which would result in lesser pollution and less dependence on fossil fuel?  I intend to find out.

That’s enough ranting from me, I suppose.

Do you recycle? 

Does you community make it easy or hard?

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