Peters Township fire station

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Peters Township residents can recycle glass and cardboard behind the main fire station on East McMurray Road.

Peters Township residents have been picking up the pace when it comes to recycling.

During Monday’s township council meeting, Peters project coordinator Tom Gromek provided a report that shows an upswing during 2020 in the various recycling methods that are available.

Overall, Waste Management took away 1,558 tons by curbside pickup, an increase of more than 1,386 in 2019. The tonnage had been dropping since items including glass were removed from the hauler’s list of recyclable materials.

“I think the difference is during COVID, you have all these people who are home, and as a result, there’s a lot more waste,” township manager Paul Lauer said.

Through a partnership between the municipality and the Pennsylvania Resources Council, a bin for recycling glass is located behind the main Peters Township Fire Department station on East McMurray Road.

“Residents recycled 190 tons of glass in 2020,” Gromek reported, at a cost to the township of $16,415.

He said the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection informed the township of the awarding of a grant to purchase receiver boxes for glass and cardboard, for which a compactor also is located at the fire station.

“We anticipate better hauling prices as a result of that, because we would have the ability to work directly with a hauling company,” he said. “We also would be purchasing an electronic monitoring system to detect when the cardboard reaches a certain level, to notify the township.”

The amount of recycled cardboard weighed in at 70.32 tons for 2020, double the previous year, Gromek said. The township spent about $6,500 for hauling.

“We do get calls when it’s out of service, full or they have any issues with it,” he told council. “So we know there’s quite a demand for it, especially on the weekend.”

He said cardboard still can be collected curbside with other recyclable items.

Also collected at homes are electronics and household hazardous waste, through a program built into Waste Management’s contract at a cost per residence of $9.24 annually, Gromek said. Overall, residences are billed $67 quarterly for garbage and recycling collection.

“We’re still in the process of educating residents that you can no longer drop off a TV or electronic device at public works,” Gromek reported. “They’re a little disappointed at that, but once you tell them that it will be picked up at your front door and there is no extra charge, they seem to be very happy with that.”

Residents scheduled 1,687 pickups, with 91.9 tons collected, in 2020, compared with 1,605 pickups and 90.7 tons the previous year.

Peters officials emphasized that local recycling services are provided solely for residents of the township.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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