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Garbage, Recycling Overhaul Under Consideration At City Council

Katie Blackley
A garbage truck picks up waste in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s trash and recycling policies could soon get a face-lift.

Pittsburgh City Council is considering legislation that would formally adopt some common waste practices. For example, the measure spells out what times trash and trash bins can be placed on the curb -- no earlier than 6 p.m. the day before collection, and they must be gone by 7 p.m. the day waste is picked up. The legislation also states that city trash collectors will not pick up garbage from apartment complexes with more than five units. Those property owners must arrange for private collection.

The legislation covers some new ground, including adopting standards for composting set by the Department of Environmental Protection.

“You can’t do it within a foot of your property line, you can’t create odors that drift into your neighbors’ backyard,” Councilor Erika Strassburger said.

It also puts more teeth behind enforcing proper trash handling at rental properties, she said. Now tenants can be cited when they do not follow the city’s waste rules, rather than just landlords.

Strassburger introduced the measure Tuesday, and said it has been in the works for over a year.

“This legislation puts into law common sense policies and practices the Bureau of Environmental Services is already implementing, and sets the stage for more sweeping changes to our waste and recycling program in the future,” Pittsburgh assistant director of public works Bill Klimovich said in a statement.

Strassburger said the ultimate goal is to reduce trash and boost recycling.

“We would love to get to the point where there’s enough need for recycling pickup once a week rather than every other week, and there’s only the need for trash pickup once every other week,” she said.

One issue on the horizon, she said, is what to do about plastic shopping bags that currently cannot be recycled.