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Single-stream recycling begins in McKeesport

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 11:11 a.m.
With single-stream recycling beginning this week in McKeesport, John and Annamae Kunicky place plastics, cans and newspapers in one bin at the curb of their Haler Heights residence. Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News

Following through with plans made in 2012, the new year has brought single-stream recycling to McKeesport's garbage collection services.

The city's contracted trash hauling company, Nickolich Sanitation, began recycling pickup with the first collection cycle in 2013. The Clairton-based company provides services that allow residents to collect and place at their curb on a bi-weekly basis an expanded list of recyclable materials.

“I think residents will be pleased to see all of the things that can be recycled now,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “We've expanded it, and you do not need to separate anything.”

McKeesport households now are able to recycle clear and colored glass. Items should be rinsed and labels may remain. Window glass, light bulbs, Pyrex and ceramics are not permitted.

Acceptable paper products include white, colored and computer paper; junk mail, including brown and windowed envelopes; newspaper; phone books; grocery bags; magazines, catalogs and pamphlets; greeting cards; posters; hard- and soft-cover books; corrugated cardboard; and file folders. Tissues, napkins, food wastes, carbon paper, blueprints and wallpaper are not permitted.

Aluminum and bi-metal cans are acceptable, with ends included. They should be rinsed.

All plastic products will be accepted, including milk jugs, laundry soap containers, soda bottles and shopping bags. These items also should be rinsed.

“It's so easy now,” said John Kunicky, whose household has recycled for as long as the service has been available in McKeesport. “All you have to do is put everything in the same container. Why doesn't everyone do it?”

Annamae Kunicky said it's not a difficult task to take recyclables from the kitchen or laundry room to the garage and take collected items to the curb twice a month.

“It's good for the environment,” she said. “It's a good thing for the city and for the world.”

City administrator Matt Gergely, a neighbor of the Kunickys, explained that greater recycling participation among city residents will ease McKeesport's burden on regional landfills.

“It's an improvement for the environment as well as the city budget,” Gergely said. “It saves the city a lot of money in tonnage, based on what will be taken to a landfill.”

Cherepko agreed, saying, “It's the right thing to do.”

Recycling calendars, featuring a schedule and acceptable items, were distributed during Wednesday's council meeting. They are available at the treasurer's office (where bills are paid) at city hall, 500 Fifth Ave., during business hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Councilman A.J. Tedesco asked if the 2012 plan to acquire larger bins to accommodate the expanded list of recyclables still is in the works.

“You're still using your old bins for now. You just don't have to separate anything,” Cherepko answered. “We're looking to come up with a grant or funding to get larger bins on wheels.”

For more information, McKeesport residents may call city hall at 412-675-5020 or Nickolich Sanitation at 412-233-3569. Appliance disposal services, including air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers and water coolers can be arranged by calling 888-463-7366.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or