Christmas offers opportunity for recycling
Wendy DeOre and her teenage daughter, Kaitie, left a Target store in McCandless with rolls of wrapping paper on Friday.
Though many wrapping papers can't be recycled, the resident of Dunbar in Fayette County said her family tries to recycle when possible.
“I just don't like the idea of using something once and then throwing it away,” said DeOre, 43, who said trash haulers don't offer curbside recycling pickup in her community.
Nationwide, curbs in residential neighborhoods will be piled high with discarded packaging, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper and other remnants of the winter holiday season during the next few weeks. Though Americans recycle more than ever, they waste incredible amounts of resources, environmental experts said.
From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, the amount of household waste in the United States can increase by 25 percent, from 4 million tons to 5 million tons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
About 5 million tons of food will be wasted between Thanksgiving and the end of 2013, according to Food Tank, a Chicago-based policy group.
“Waste generally is seasonal … both in terms of quantity and composition,” said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist and director of the solid waste program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York.
Recycling benefits the environment by reducing what goes into landfills — and it benefits trash haulers who sell aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass.
Houston-based Waste Management Inc. and Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc., parent company of Allied Waste, are the largest and second-largest hauling companies in the country, respectively.
Republic Services provides trash and recycling collection service to 28 municipalities in Western Pennsylvania, covering about 100,000 homes each week, spokesman Russ Knocke said. The company has four landfills in the state, including one in Imperial.
During this season, “as much as 80 percent of what is thrown out could be recycled or reused,” Knocke said.
Tom Runzo, 56, of Franklin Park is adamant that no one in his household waste food. “Anything that's in the refrigerator gets chopped up and put in soups. That's the Italian way.”
A 1988 state law mandated that towns with more than 5,000 residents offer curbside recycling by September 1991. Participation is growing as more communities offer single-stream recycling, which allows people to put all recyclables in the same bin without sorting, said Lisa Kasianowitz, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
From 2009 to 2011, annual recycling in Pennsylvania increased 9.7 percent to 5.85 million tons, the DEP said.
“Most people want to recycle,” said Ed Vogel, vice president of Vogel Disposal Service Inc., a Mars-based waste hauler that owns Seneca Landfill in Jackson. In rural communities that don't require curbside recycling, Vogel offers it anyway, and customer participation ranges between 75 and 80 percent, he said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Car wash explosion, fire injures 2 in McDonald
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Police investigate alleged institutional sexual assault at Pine youth treatment center
- Banged-up Steelers can clinch with win over Chiefs
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Warning about cop-killer came moments too late
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Kids treated to gifts, peaceful holiday party at Lincoln-Lemington church