Recycling and Spring Cleaning

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Hotline, Spring 2002

by Emily Grisolia, GASP intern

Before you start throwing everything away in a rush to get your spring cleaning done, think about how those items could be recycled. Some materials you throw out could actually be harmful to our environment if you do not dispose of them correctly. Here are a few helpful hints to make your spring cleaning a little easier on the environment.

Many neighborhoods in Southwestern Pennsylvania have some form of curbside recycling. The city of Pittsburgh will pick up newspapers, aluminum and tin cans, glass and plastic containers. Remember to put the newspaper in a brown paper bag and the containers in a blue plastic bag. If you live outside the city and your neighborhood has limited recycling, there are recycling centers in Allegheny County that accept a range of materials.

Wondering where to take your old phone books? Agents of Change in Glenshaw accepts all types of paper (including phone books), aluminum cans, cardboard, plastic bottles, and glass containers. You can also take paper to Pittsburgh Recycling in Hazelwood or Unipaper Recycling Co. in Carnegie.

Have any containers of used motor oil sitting in your garage? Certain service stations in and around Pittsburgh do accept used oil and anti-freeze, but it varies with location. Call a service station near you to find out what they accept. Tristate Petroleum Recovery in McKees Rocks is another good place to take your oil. They accept most types of automobile fluid.

Don’t know what to do with your used household batteries? E House in the South Side is one of the few places that collects them, and they do take most household batteries. If disposal is your only option, protect against leakage by placing the batteries in a sturdy plastic bag and container. To cut down on battery waste, try using rechargeable batteries.

What are the best ways to dispose of pesticides? Although there are very few places that will accept them, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set up a program called Chem Sweep that deals with disposing of pesticides. This program is held once a year in different counties. This year, drop off sites will be in Fayette, Greene, and Washington County in the month of August. Since dates and locations have not yet been determined, you can call Dennis Culley from the USDA at (724) 443-1585 and make an appointment to drop off your pesticides at their Gibsonia location. Make sure to keep the pesticides in identifiable bottles and do not mix them with other chemicals. If you have to get rid of your pesticides in the garbage, the USDA recommends that you absorb it with kitty litter first, then wrap it in newspaper and double bag it.

If you would like more information about recycling in Allegheny County, call the Recycling Department at 412-578-8390 or visit: for a listing of recycling companies.