Recycling efforts on the rise in Sewickley Valley communities

Bobby Cherry
| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

As Leetsdale Borough continues to grow its less than one-year-old recycling program, officials in two other Sewickley Valley communities say recycling efforts are picking up.

Nearly 6,500 pounds of recycled material is collected once every two weeks in Leetsdale, council President Joe McGurk said.

The amount collected per week is about half of what McGurk said he hoped borough residents would be recycling.

“There's a lot of room for improvement, but we're heartened by the fact that some members of the community (are recycling),” he said.

Edgeworth residents must take their recycled goods to a drop-off site along Route 65.

While it might not be convenient to drive items across the borough to a recycling drop-off site, borough manager Marty McDaniel said the program is paying off.

Edgeworth residents recycle about 200 tons in a year, according to data collected by the Allegheny County Health Department, McDaniel said.

“We're not required to recycle because we're too small,” he said.

“But people wanted to recycle. The more you can recycle, the less you have to go to the landfill.”

State law requires municipalities of more than 5,000 residents to recycle.

With a population of 3,827, according to 2010 census data, Sewickley is the largest of the three communities, and has offered voluntary bi-weekly curbside pickup for years, borough manager Kevin Flannery said.

Borough leaders began expanding recycling efforts to the business district by offering various recycling containers along sidewalks, he said.

“We're willing to get more if there's an interest,” Flannery said.

Items from those containers are placed into the borough's weekly recycling pickup through a contract with the Quaker Valley Council of Governments, he said.

“The more you can recycle the items, the better off we all are,” Flannery said.

Edgeworth leaders have considered curbside pickup, but smaller, private roads could make driving a recycling truck difficult, McDaniel said.

While McDaniel said he encourages all residents to recycle, occasionally borough workers and police dispatchers will find nonresidents using Edgeworth's recycling site — which is restricted to borough resident use only, McDaniel said.

“People will bring recycling from other towns (and) think they're helping us,” he said. “They're not because we're paying to have it hauled out. People will come with their containers and drop their stuff in when it's full. They don't see the signs.”

Signs posted at the site alert would-be recyclers that the facility is for borough residents only.

And if the signs don't stop those individuals, cameras located at the site offer a live feed from inside the borough's police dispatch office. Dispatchers can run a license plate check and send an officer to the site if needed, McDaniel said.

Edgeworth offers recycling as a service, which can be costly, he said.

“There's no rebate (to recycle) anymore,” McDaniel said.

Each time a container is removed from the site, it costs $175.

In Leetsdale, council President McGurk said the borough needs to educate more residents on how to recycle.

To help, the borough's trash collecting crew, at times, searches garbage left for a Tuesday pickup and keeps it curbside for recycling collection, he said.

“People call us and say, ‘Why didn't you pick up my trash?'” McGurk said. “We tell them it was recycling. We find those people then begin recycling.”

Recycling is collected every other Thursday in Leetsdale.

The voluntary recycling program in Leetsdale requires residents to place see-through plastic bags along the curb with recycled goods.

McGurk estimates he and his wife, Judy Fulton, place 80 percent of discarded items into recycling.

“I have neighbors who have never recycled before, and now, because of the program, they recycle,” he said. “They used to have four or five trash bags out on Tuesday. They have one and a half bags now.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or

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