Pittsburgh hosts recycling drop-off days for electronic and chemical waste

Pittsburgh has received criticism for its recycling program over the years, with many believing it does little to actually keep plastic, cardboard, and other materials out of landfills. This seems to align with Pennsylvania as a whole, which has come under fire from environmental advocates for not updating its recycling infrastructure since the late 1980s.

The city has reacted with some marked improvement, including a more robust blue bin distribution program and educational resources informing residents what should and should not be put out for pick up.

The city also provides special programs for residents to dispose of items not accepted in curbside recycling. One such program will take place in partnership with the Pennsylvania Resources Council.

Pittsburgh residents can now register to drop off televisions, computers, pesticides, automotive fluids, and more during designated collection days at the Department of Public Works Environmental Services facility in the Strip District.

“These collections provide a way for local individuals to easily dispose of electronic and chemical materials," says DPW director Chris Hornstein in a press release. "Appropriate recycling of these items prevents potentially hazardous waste from entering our rivers and ground soil and DPW is eager to bring this resource back to Pittsburgh."

The electronics recycling collections will take place weekly throughout the year, while combined household chemical and e-waste collections will occur one weekend per month from March through November.

The E-Waste Recycling Drop Off will take place on Tuesdays from 2-6 p.m. and on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., and accepted items include computers, televisions, phones, and other electronic waste. Items will be disposed of at a cost of 35 cents per pound; however, central processing unit towers and laptops will be accepted at no cost.

Beginning Sat., Aug. 6, Household Chemical Recycling Drop Off will take place from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. one Saturday per month. Accepted materials include household cleaners, automotive fluids, paints, pesticides, and other products containing "potentially hazardous components." The cost of disposal will be charged per pound on a sliding scale. E-waste will also be accepted at these Saturday collections.

On-site payments can be made with cash or check, or with a debit or credit card.

PRC deputy director Sarah Alessio Shea says all electronic scrap collected will be forwarded to eLoop, an electronic waste management company with facilities in Export and State College, Pa. She adds that anyone donating computers, smartphones, or similar devices can "feel confident that their material and data is being safely, ethically, and responsibly recycled when dealing with PRC and eLoop."

Bureau of Environmental Services. 3001 Railroad St., Strip District. Registration required. prc.org/recyclePGH