A drop-off site for hard-to-recycle electronics and hazardous waste opens Wednesday in the Strip District. The city of Pittsburgh initiative will be located at 3001 Railroad Street near the 31st Street Bridge.
There are special regulations for how electronics and things like chemicals must be recycled, and disposal options have been limited in Pittsburgh for a long time. As part of the contract with Environmental Coordination Services and Recycling, Pittsburgh residents will have to make an appointment to drop off waste, either online or by calling 814-425-7773.
"That's for a couple reasons," said Alicia Carberry, operations manager in the office of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. "To manage capacity, to receive special instructions and to give a run through of what people can expect."
Carberry said she doesn't think that will keep people from recycling.
"I think that as people get used to this it will become kind of commonplace," Carberry said. "You make the appointment, it's a ten minute chunk that you'll sign up for, you go drop your stuff off and be on your way."
But Justin Stockdale, managing director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, thinks it will pose more of a challenge for residents. He said the price point will also likely deter some people: most materials will have some fee for drop-off, such as 40 cents per pound for a computer monitor.
"Any barrier we place out there between the customer and the final disposition is going to cause some inconvenience, and there will be some in the community that will see that as a step too far and will not utilize the service," Stockdale said.
However, he said this is a great first step for recycling these items in the city.
"It does demonstrate a real commitment on the city's part to finding better solutions for some of these challenging materials," Stockdale said.
Hazardous and e-waste recycling for Pittsburghers was announced in December, with a proposed start in January.
The city plans to expand the program this fall to include at home pick-up by appointment, as well as recycling events in some neighborhoods.
The drop-off site will be open Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.