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Recycling

See also: BLAST Elementary Thematic Program: Recycling and SuperScience: Recycling.

Pittsburgh Region

Web resources in recycling for Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.

General Resources

 

Appliances

  • Appliance Warehouse: Disposal
    Appliance Warehouse is a company specializing in the recycling and resale of used appliances on the South Side (523 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203).
 

Bicycles

 

Books and Magazines

  • Pittsburgh Used Books
    This is a list of public libraries and organizations that hold annual and ongoing booksales. Contact them for drop-off locations. Compiled by Margie Spenser.
  • Allegheny County Libraries
    Drop off or pick up some used books at library booksales.
  • Caliban Bookshop
    A used book store on South Craig Street in Oakland that specializes in Literary First Editions, Fine Arts, Poetry, Exploration & Travel, Americana, Philosophy, General Scholarly, Fine Press, and Leatherbound Editions
  • BetterWorldBooks
    You can donate your books to BetterWorldBooks and they will pay for the shipping. You can also buy used books online.
 

Building Supplies

 

Clothing and Household Items

  • Designer Days Sale
  • Dress for Success Pittsburgh
    Accepts donations of women's professional clothing to provide the appropriate clothing for disadvantaged women looking for jobs. Works with over 120 organizations.
  • Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Information on donating items to Goodwill, what they will accept, including automobiles.
  • Light of Life Ministries
    Check their "Ways to Help" and "Special Projects" for great ideas about how you can help others. Holds an annual coat drive each September to collect gently used coats for the needy. Coats can be dropped off at participating dry cleaners. They also run a thrift store which offers pick up service for donations.
  • National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section
    The NCJW runs consignment and thrift stores and hosts an annual Designer Days sale in November.
  • Pick Up Please
    Fill out the online form, choose a date for your donation pickup, leave your clearly labeled donations outside on the day you choose and Vietnam Veterans of America will pick up your donation.
  • Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
    Looking for materials for a creative project, a classroom activity, or just for fun? CRP (located at Construction Junction) sells a wide assortment of interesting materials for your creative and practical needs, including leather, linen, cotton and silk.
  • Red White and Blue Thrift Store - Saw Mill Run
    Red White and Blue Thrift Store - Ohio River Boulevard
  • Redd Up Thread Up
    Read about this community clothing swap to benefit the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh in PopCity.
  • Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania
    You may donate clothing and household items to the Salvation Army. Included on their website is a Valuation Guide for Donated Items.
  • Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary Fabric Fair
    Each April the SA Women's Auxiliary collects and sorts donated fabric, yarn, patterns, kits, craft items, notions and how to books, to sell them at their annual Fabric Fair in the South Park Home Economics Building on Brownsville Road. If you have unused fabric or sewing materials you want to get rid of, contact Leah Horcholic at 412-446-1534 for a list of drop off locations.
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Pittsburgh
    Accepts donations of vehicles, furniture, clothing, and household items. St. Vincent de Paul has stores in Monroeville, Sharpsburg, Penn Hills, Coraopolis and Butler.
  • Snuggle Bugs Consignment
    Snuggle Bugs & Company is a children's consignment event that takes place each year in the Spring and Fall (March and September) offering high quality, gently used children's clothing sizes Newborn to Youth Size 12 and children's furniture and equipment.
  • Who's Your Brother?: Furnish for Free
    At Furnish for Free, WYB promotes the re-use of gently used items by giving these items to a neighbor or a friend who is in need.
 

Computers, Televisions, & Electronics

  • Pittsburgh Tribune Review: New law makes it easier to ditch used electronics
    Pennsylvania's Covered Device Recycling Act as of January 1, 2012 removes the recycling fee for computers and other devices at approved recycling locations, like A Greenspan and eLoop. In 2013 the law will make it illegal to dispose of such "covered devices," such as TVs or computers, in landfills. Consumers must dispose of such devices at recycling collection sites, starting in January 2013.
  • Commonwealth Computer Recycling
    Accepts computer and electronics drop-offs at no charge at their warehouse in Greensburg or at any of their weekly recycling events in Allegheny County and the surrounding area.
  • A greenSpan Computer Recycling, Inc.
    A Monroeville company with a processing plant for recycling analog TVs and computer equipment in Turtle Creek. For drop-offs, call 412-628-2824 for updated hours of operation.
  • Best Buy: Recycling
    Consumers can bring up to two (2) units per day, per household, for recycling at any U.S. Best Buy store.
  • Best Buy Trade-in
    You can TRADE-IN select gently used electronics, including iPods, digital cameras and digital camcorders, for a Best Buy gift card to use towards any purchase at Best Buy.
  • eLoop Centers
    eLoop, a Pittsburgh electronics recycling company, has partnered with Construction Junction and other locations to provide a permanent electronic equipment collection site in the City of Pittsburgh. Drop off your old analog TV here for a fee.
  • Goodwill Computer Works
    The Computer Recycling Center, now in Lawrenceville, solicits donations of PCs and related equipment from corporations, small businesses, educational institutions, health care facilities, government agencies and individuals. They test, refurbish what is usable, disassemble nonfunctioning computers for recycling, and sell refurbished computers to the public and to nonprofit groups.
  • Second Life Computer Remanufacturing
    Second Life picks up your discarded computers and monitors and re-manufactures them for use in local non-profits and developing nations.
  • Staples Recycling
    You can take your used computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all–in–ones to any U.S. Staples store and they will accept it for recycling, regardless of whether or not the equipment was purchased at Staples.
 

Flea Markets, Yard and Garage Sales

 

Food and Yard Wastes

Some forward-looking municipalities like Edgewood and Oakmont pick up grass, leaf and yard waste year-round for composting. Check your municipality's website.

  • AgRecycle
    Headquartered in Pittsburgh, AgRecycle is Pennsylvania’s largest source-separated composting operation. AgRecycle provides collection service for commercial food scraps, as well as providing drop-off options.
  • Allegheny County Parks: Christmas Tree Recycling
    Residents of the county can drop off their Christmas trees beginning the day after Christmas through mid-January at all nine regional parks during regular hours of operation (dawn to dusk).
  • City of Pittsburgh Public Works: Yard Debris
    Pittsburgh doesn't pick up yard waste but city residents can drop it off at 3 locations in Homewood, Hazelwood and the West End.
  • Composting for the Home Gardener
    Resources for turning your food and yard wastes into black gold.
 

Hazardous Wastes

  • Call2Recycle®
    The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) can help you recycle your portable rechargeable batteries. These batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys. RBRC recycles the following battery chemistries: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb). Search for a drop off site by zip code.
  • Pennsylvania Waste Oil Program
    Don't throw your motor oil down a storm drain.
  • Drop Off Sites
    Put in your zip code to find a drop off site for various hazardous wastes, including motor oil.
  • Zero Waste Pittsburgh: Household Chemical Collections
    Learn what Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is and how to dispose of it at hazardous waste collection events. Check here for a date and location for disposing of oil-based paints and paint related products, pesticides, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, and de-greasers and other car care products.
 

Medical Equipment

  • Global Links
    Global Links is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Pittsburgh, that works with facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio to recover still-useful medical supplies, furnishings and equipment.
 

Metals

Of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County, 80 of them have a curbside collection program and 19 have a drop-off program for glass, metals, and plastics. Contact your municipality.

  • Cans for Pets
    The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), Animal Rescue League, Petco and the City of Pittsburgh encourage you to support local homeless pets by recycling your clean, empty aluminum pet food cans. For every aluminum pet food can collected, 5 cents will be donated to the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center. Read more in PopCity.
  • West Penn Burn Center: Aluminum Cans for Burned Children
    Aluminum Cans for Burned Children (ACBC) program sends children with burns to camp, helps children with burns return to school and helps fund outreach programs through aluminum can recycling proceeds. Don't toss those aluminum cans! Call 412.578.4427.
 

Paper, Newspaper, Junk Mail

  • Construction Junction
    Located in Point Breeze, Construction Junction takes paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal.
  • PaperRetreiver
    Perhaps you have seen many of the recycling bins that are part of the Abitibi Paper Retriever® Community Recycling Program. They take all kinds of paper, not just newspaper and magazines. Abitibi-Consolidated, a Canadian company, is among the largest recyclers of newspapers and magazines in North America.
 

Plastic Bags and Plastic

Instead of plastic bags, bring your own reusable bag to the supermarket. Most grocery stores now sell reusable bags (East End Food Co-Op, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Giant Eagle) for about $1. Even the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will sell you a reusable bag for your library books!

  • A Bag's Life
    Not only can you recycle plastic grocery bags but also dry-cleaning bags, bread bags and wraps from paper towels, bathroom tissue, napkins, diapers and newspaper bags.
  • Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project
    And when you find yourself accumulating too many of those reusable tote bags, you can donate your extra ones to needy families that pick up groceries at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
  • Plastic Loose Fill Council
    The Plastic Loose Fill Council was founded in 1991 to promote the reuse of polystyrene loose fill, commonly known as "packing peanuts". UPS Stores in many communities will accept your packing peanuts.
  • PlasticBagReycycling
    An informational site from the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) about reusing and recycling plastic bags. There is more information at Plastics Resource. Check out their recycled plastic products directory.
  • ReUseIt! (formerly ReusableBags)
    ReUseIt sells reusable grocery and other types of bags from a variety of vendors. Also check out their plastic bag dryer for those of you who wash and reuse zippered storage bags...(yes, some of us actually do!).
 

Rainwater

Help rainwater go into the ground, not into storm drains where it can make water and sewage overflow into our rivers. Disconnect your house's downspouts from storm/sewage drains.

Tires

  • Liberty Tire
    This Braddock company recycles tires into rubber mulch.
 

Pennsylvania Recycling Resources

 

United States Recycling Resources

Included are sites that will give you some ideas for recycling.

  • America Recycles Day
    Celebrate November 15th.
  • Basel Action Network (BAN)
    BAN works in opposition to toxic trade in toxic wastes, toxic products and toxic technologies, that are exported from rich to poorer countries. Alternatively, it works to ensure national self-sufficiency in waste management through clean production and toxics use reductions.
  • Container Recycling Institute
    A non-profit organization with a mission to make North America a global model for the collection and quality recycling of packaging materials. Look here for studies, data and advocacy.
  • Donate Car USA
    Choose a charity from more than 400 non-profit organizations to donate your car to.
  • EPA: Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction in Multi-Family Dwellings
    This is a brochure from the Environmental Protection Agency encouraging recycling in apartment complexes by pointing out the real cost-savings to the management by decreasing waste-disposal costs.
  • Daily Danny
    In this blog, environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo shows how to take everyday items and transform them into something new.
  • Garbage: How can my community reduce waste?
    An Annenberg/CPB Project Exhibit. "If your habits resemble those of average Americans, you generate about 4.6 pounds of solid trash per day. This adds up to big trouble for the environment."
  • Green Burial Council
    Instead of embalming and burial in expensive caskets and vaults, consider a green burial in a wood or cardboard box in a natural area. Read more in "Eternally green: Woodland burials are a natural alternative to an embalmed afterlife", a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from January 30, 2008.
  • ReCORK
    ReCORK is a natural wine cork recycling program, sponsored by Amorim of Portugal, the world's largest producer of natural cork wine closures, SOLE, a leading manufacturer of footwear products, and Amorim Cork America and Portocork America. The goal is to recycle corks and to educate and inform our audiences about the crucial role cork forests play in curbing climate change. There are no dropoff locations in Pennsylvania but they will pay shipping for a 15 lb. box.
  • Reuse Development Organization (ReDO)
    Maintains a national directory of used building material centers (Find a Reuse Center).
  • Scoop It: Recycled Crafts
    Interested in buying some unique items from recycled metal, rubber and clothing?
 

Selected Books

Baird, Lori
Don't Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew, and Reuse to Make Things Last
TX303.B345 2007x
This book is particularly good at giving instructions on how to take care of things so that your appliances, furniture, etc. do not wear out.
 
Hoffman, John
The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving
q TX303.H64 2007x
Illustrated with cartoons by Ace Backwards, this guided tour of America's back alleys will make you think twice about what you throw away and might even inspire you to dumpster dive!
 
Jenkins, Joseph C.
The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure
S657.J46 1999
By not disposing of feces and urine through the typical use of a flush toilet, nutrients can be returned to the soil as fertilizer. Eventually we'll have to deal with all the sewage that we produce. See Sewage As Fertilizer.
 
Levesque, Matthew
The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting, and More
SB473.5.L48 2010
A master of using reclaimed and salvaged items, expert Matthew Levesque covers the basics of hardscaping, garden construction, and outdoor decor using local materials.
 
The McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook
r TD794.5.M397 2001x
Providing a bridge between recycling experts and the officials charged with developing and running recycling programs and operations, this practical reference offers an overview of recycling, including the current laws that govern recycling, the strategic goals of recycling programs, and the need to boost public awareness of the value of recycling.
 
Rogers, Heather
Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
HD4483.R64 2005
Americans produce the most waste of any people on Earth, says Rogers, but few of us ever think about where all that trash goes. In this book, Rogers tracks its path from the garbage truck to the landfill, incinerator or beyond. She also blames American corporations for creating this mountain of garbage.
 
Royte, Elizabeth
Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash
HD4484.N7 R68 2005
Into our trash cans go dead batteries, dirty diapers, bygone burritos, broken toys, tattered socks, eight-track cassettes, scratched CDs, banana peels... But where do these things go next? In a country that consumes and then casts off more and more, what actually happens to the things we throw away?
 
 

Browse the Catalog

For additional titles, browse the library catalog under the topics: