Allegheny County Council has given preliminary approval to a waste management plan that will serve the county through 2028. This is a regular 10-year update of the plan, but this time around recycling is taking center stage.
Pennsylvania has a goal for the entire state to recycle 35 percent of its municipal waste. In 2016, the county reached that goal, recycling just more than 35 percent of its 1.4 million tons of waste.
But the county thinks it can do better. Of 130 municipalities, 31 don't have a way for residents to recycle. These communities will be encouraged to establish either curbside recycling collection or provide drop-off locations.
According to the plan, tracking how much waste the universities and sports complexes recycle will also go far in terms of reaching the statewide goal.
"Allegheny County has a significant number of professional teams and universities, all of which have a constant attendance of in and out of County residents," the plan explains. "Establishing successful source reducation and recycling programs at the athletic complexes and universities will aid in increasing the recycling rate of the County."
The plan acknowleges existing recycling plans at PNC Park, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
The county will also look into establishing a centrally located, year-round household hazardous waste and electronic waste drop-off facility. The plan estimates each person in Pennsylvania produces 4 pounds of household hazardous waste per year. These items, such as paint or chemicals, shouldn't be thrown out in the garbage, and must be disposed of properly.
Even if Allegheny County doesn't meet these reycling goals, Health Department deputy director Jim Kelly said the main point of the plan will be met.
"The basis of the plan is to ensure that all municipalities have the capacity and infrastructure to deal with solid waste for 10 years," he said.