In The Loop

Welcome to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's Blog

LCSWMA Looks to Add Satellite Transfer Station

October 19, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

LCSWMA announces its consideration of adding a satellite transfer station in Northeast Lancaster County.

At their October 19th public meeting, LCSWMA’s Board of Directors approved the $1.06 million purchase of a 13-acre parcel of land on Muddy Creek Road (near the Reading/Lancaster Interchange of the PA Turnpike) in East Cocalico Township, where the proposed satellite transfer station would be located. 


The future facility would consolidate the delivery and transfer of waste from several municipalities, in a rapidly-growing area in Lancaster County, with the goal of diverting 7-10% of current inbound transactions from LCSWMA’s main transfer station on Harrisburg Pike.  LCSWMA estimates the satellite transfer station could be permitted to receive approximately 400 tons of waste per day.

The location of the property provides numerous benefits, including its proximity to the PA Turnpike Interchange for convenient transfer of waste to LCSWMA’s Susquehanna Resource Management Complex in Harrisburg.  Additionally, the parcel of land is located within an industrial zone, where the roads are designed for truck-related businesses.  Finally, there are no residential houses near the site.

“This future facility would help LCSWMA better manage waste consolidation in a growing market,” says Bob Zorbaugh, LCSWMA’s Co-CEO.  “As we continue to see record waste tonnage growth in Lancaster County, it’s important we’re positioned to handle this waste safely and efficiently.”

Advantages of the potential satellite transfer station include: reduced bottlenecks at the Harrisburg Pike transfer station; reduced travel time for waste haulers that serve customers in northern Lancaster County; reduced traffic from northern Lancaster County on local highways (Routes 222, 272, and 30); and benefits to East Cocalico Township through host municipality fees, convenient waste disposal for homeowners, and creation of new high-quality jobs.


“East Cocalico Township is excited to partner with LCSWMA and see their project come to fruition,” says Scott Russell, Manager for East Cocalico Township. “Having a local transfer station at a strategic location at the Denver Interchange will greatly benefit all of the residents and businesses in Norther Lancaster County with improved convenience and service.”

LCSWMA is in the initial planning stages of this project.  Next steps are to complete site design, along with securing permits from East Cocalico Township, PA Department of Environmental Protection, and PennDOT.  While there is no definitive operational start date, LCSWMA anticipates this project could take upwards of 5-years to complete.

LCSWMA’s main transfer station on Harrisburg Pike receives about 1,400 tons per day from over 450 vehicles and would continue serving the rest of Lancaster County.

The purpose of a transfer station is to offer convenient delivery of waste for commercial haulers, residents, and businesses.  Additionally, a transfer station also reduces the congestion of waste collection vehicles on local roads and highways.

Tags: Authority Projects

The Recycling Crisis: How Did We Get Here?

September 24, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Hopefully by now, you’ve heard that recycling has changed in Lancaster County. Residents should place only the “Big 4” in their recycling bins: 1) corrugated cardboard, 2) plastic bottles and jugs with a neck, 3) metal food and beverage cans, and 4) glass bottles and jars.

But you may not have heard that Lancaster County is not the only community impacted by recent recycling changes. The “recycling crisis” has created significant challenges for recycling programs across the United States. So, how did we get here?

For many years, well-meaning “wishful recyclers” have incorrectly believed that most things are recyclable. In part, this misconception grew from the waste industry’s desire to facilitate a convenient process for recyclers. The message was: “Put it all in your bin. We’ll sort it later.” Unfortunately, this convenience turned problematic when contamination levels increased. Contamination happens when people place materials in the recycling bin that do not belong. And the largest importer of recyclable materials from the U.S. said “no more.”

Previously, China was the largest consumer of recyclable materials generated in the United States. Growing frustrated by high contamination in imported recycling bales, China announced their “National Sword” campaign in summer 2017. This initiative enforced a crackdown on imported waste and communicated China’s intent to ban most recyclable materials, including post-consumer plastic and mixed paper. Among the changes was also the announcement of a new quality standard prohibiting contamination to .5%, which was significantly more stringent than the previously acceptable rate of 5%. And the hits kept coming. In July 2018, China announced their plan to ban all imported recycled commodities by the end of 2018.

So where does this leave us? Unfortunately, the United States does not have enough domestic demand for recyclable materials to replace the volume China previously bought. Meaning, the market is saturated with more recyclable material than our country can use. An important point to remember is that something can only be recycled if there is a demand for that material, by a manufacturer, to be turned into a new product for consumers to buy.

This big shift in the market caused significant ripple effects, including lost revenues, higher processing and capital costs for material recovery facilities (MRFs), higher transportation costs, fewer outlets for materials and increased stockpiling issues. MRFs (re: facilities that separate, bale and market the recyclables you put in your bin) are now in a financial crisis.  A reset is imperative to fix the contamination problem and help make recycling sustainable.

In Lancaster County, we believe the solution is three-fold: 1) simplicity, 2) consistency, 3) and awareness. We’re simplifying the recycling process by asking people to only place the “Big 4” in their recycling bin. We’re standardizing the message by working with municipalities, haulers and business partners to all follow the same guidelines across the county. And we’re raising awareness by publicizing the need to Recycle Right through an integrated PSA campaign, so people can learn to recycle right.

We know this is a huge shift for our community, and change will not come overnight. But if we work together, perhaps recycling can be better than it was before. Let’s Recycle Right Lancaster!

Tags: In The News · Recycling

Keystone SWANA's Fall Conference: Waste Management in PA Presentation

September 05, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Keystone SWANA's Fall Conference attendees may access Jim Warner's presentation here, and presentation data here.



In the News: Lancaster County Residents Struggling with Recycling 'Reset'

August 08, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Ad Crable, LancasterOnline
Orginally published August 8, 2018

Three weeks after Lancaster County waste officials announced they were scaling back curbside recycling, many residents are still putting banned items in their bins.

“We have a huge hurdle in front of us,” said Katie Sandoe of the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. “People are still confused and working through the emotions of it. Many are saying, ‘It just feels wrong.’ ”

About 20 to 40 percent of the material being set out in curbside recycling containers should instead be placed in the trash, according to Sandoe.

The newly banned items include newspaper, magazines and many types of plastics, among other things.

Lancaster County was one of the first areas in Pennsylvania to react to a market collapse of recycling materials in the United States.

Here is a breakdown of some of the questions and concerns of county residents as they react to the recycling reset.

Why do we have to stop curbside recycling of newly banned items?

The recycling logjam was brought on by an unforeseen decision by China to stop taking many recyclables altogether and insist on uncontaminated material for other.

A rapidly developing China had been gobbling up half the world’s recycled paper and plastic. Now that it’s using many of its own resources, it doesn’t need the material, and the unwanted trash mixed in with recyclables from the U.S. has created a waste disposal problem.

Faced with no market or uncertain markets for some materials, the Lancaster County waste authority chose to cut out some recycling staples that residents had long thrown in their green recycling bins and hauled to the curb each week.

(These items include newspaper, office paper, magazines, yogurt cups, plastic food containers, bottle caps and cereal boxes.)

Instead, accepted recyclables have been trimmed to the “Big Four”: flattened corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs with necks, metal food and beverage cans, and glass jars and bottles. All containers must be empty, rinsed and caps removed.

Isn't this a step backward for recycling in Lancaster County?

The authority says materials now being recycled have long been in strong demand for making new products and are likely to have a strong market in the future.

The transition has been tough on avid recyclers who have long been mixing in nonrecyclable items in a behavior known as “wishful recycling,” said Sandoe.

“This is what led to the whole issue with China to begin with,” she said. “People aren’t sure what is truly recyclable so they are putting everything into their recycling bins.”

Also, curbside recycling only amounts to 14 percent of the 255,000 tons of recyclables collected in Lancaster County last year.

Recycling from businesses and institutions is largely unaffected, as they sell their material directly to recycling processors. The main problem has arisen in the processing phase of recyclables from areas where curbside collection has introduced contaminated items.

Can some items banned from curbside recycling bins still be recycled somewhere?

Yes. The authority urges residents to separate items such as newspapers, office paper, Styrofoam and other material and take it to recycling drop-off centers around the county.

For example, Lancaster city’s recycling center at 850 New Holland Ave. accepts newspapers, magazines and office paper. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

“I’m hoping we have a big uptick because I’d much rather see it brought to the recycling center than it be dumped into trash, even though I know it would be made into electricity,” said Charlotte Katzenmoyer, the city’s public works director.

She said the city still has buyers for the material, even though revenue for it has declined. She said city workers do a good job of processing the material and removing items that would contaminate it.

Another place that accepts newspapers, magazines and office paper from the public on a drop-off basis is Mennonite Central Committee’s Material Resources Center at 517 W. Trout Run Road, Ephrata.

The website has a database where you can plug in your address and item you want to recycle to find the nearest outlets. LNP has found, however, that some of the places listed are no longer in operation.

Won't items no longer being recycled just be taken to the County landfill and fill up sooner?

No, Sandoe said. Unlike most communities in the United States, where materials no longer recycled are being taken to landfills, in Lancaster County the material is taken to the trash-to-energy incinerator and converted into electricity.

The increase in incinerator ash taken to the landfill will be minimal, she said.

But doesn’t that mean more air pollution to already poor air quality in Lancaster County?

The waste-to-energy facility incinerator has an extensive emissions control system and emissions are significantly under limits set by state and federal agencies, Sandoe said.

Why does Penn Waste still collect newspaper and plastics banned in Lancaster County?

Penn Waste is the contracted hauler of curbside recyclables and trash for Lancaster city, and Lancaster, West Lampeter, Mount Joy and Rapho townships.

It also is a recycling processor and continues to take some materials now banned in Lancaster County. Penn Waste’s website advises Lancaster County customers to follow the waste authority’s new guidelines.

Tags: In The News · Recycling

3/24/2018: Extended Hours for Transfer Station and SRMC

March 23, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Resulting from the recent snow storm, the Transfer Station and Susquehanna Resource Management Complex will have extended hours Saturday, March 24 as follows:

  • The Transfer Station will be open 6 am to 12 noon

  • The Susquehanna Resource Management Complex will be open 5 am to 1pm

All other facilities will operate normal hours. For more info, visit

Tags: SRMC · Transfer Station · Weather

3/22/2018: LCSWMA Facility Hours

March 21, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

With the exception of the Main Office, which will open at 9am, LCSWMA’s facilities will have normal operating hours Thursday, March 22. For facility hours visit:

Tags: In The News · Weather

LCSWMA Facilities Closed Due to Weather Conditions

March 21, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Due to weather conditions, LCSWMA's facilities will close early Wednesday, March 21: 

  • Main Office now closed

  • ​Transfer Station closes at 1pm

  • Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility closes at 12 noon

  • ​Frey Farm Landfill closes at 12 noon

  • Susquehanna Resource Management Complex closes at 12 noon

  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility closes at 12 noon

The main office will reopen at 9am Thursday, March 22. Please stay tuned for details on facility hours.

Tags: In The News

Bob Zorbaugh to Become LCSWMA's Next CEO

March 16, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) announces the internal succession of Robert “Bob” Zorbaugh as the next CEO, starting January 1, 2019.  The decision was ratified by LCSWMA’s Board of Directors at their March 16th public meeting.

“The Board has great confidence in Bob’s diverse leadership experience and unique abilities,” says Steve Dzurik, LCSWMA’s Board Chair.  “He brings a considerable knowledge base, deep industry respect, and great energy to this role.  We believe Bob is well-positioned to lead LCSWMA to continue its long history of excellence and service to our community.”

Zorbaugh is a 28-year veteran of the solid waste industry, with expertise in facilities management, operational efficiency and safety, capital project management, environmental compliance, and technical services.

His career with LCSWMA began in 1990 as a Construction Inspector at the Frey Farm Landfill.  Zorbaugh then served in progressing management roles for LCSWMA, including Landfill Manager (1993 – 2001), Operations Manager (2001 – 2010), and Chief Operating Officer (2010 – 2018). 

During his tenure with LCSWMA, Zorbaugh directed several, critical projects and initiatives that positioned the organization as a nationally-recognized operation within the solid waste industry, as well as a respected, valued, and trusted community partner in Lancaster and Dauphin Counties.  Highlights from Zorbaugh’s career include:

  • Directing a 400,000-ton reclamation project at the Frey Farm Landfill (1991 – 1996), which involved the excavation, processing, and transportation of landfilled waste for waste-to-energy processing—the first project if its kind in Pennsylvania.

  • Launching an enhanced, comprehensive Safety Program (2002), with LCSWMA receiving numerous safety awards that recognized its stellar record of safe operations for employees, customers, and the community.

  • Directing the design, construction, and operations of a $34 million revitalization of LCSWMA’s Transfer Station Complex (2005 – 2007), including the first (and only) drive-through Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Pennsylvania.

  • Directing the operations of a $23 million revitalization of the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex (SRMC) in Harrisburg (2014), including transforming the aesthetics of the site, improving operational efficiencies, and enhancing customer service.

  • Achieving an outstanding environmental compliance history at all LCSWMA permitted facilities, including over 25-years of zero DEP violations at the Frey Farm Landfill.

  • Fostering a culture of excellent customer service at LCSWMA, including a focus on offering a quality experience for waste hauling customers and the community.

Zorbaugh says, “I’m honored the Board selected me as the next CEO for this great organization, of which I’ve been a part for almost three decades.  I’m also excited about LCSWMA’s future and look forward to continue working with our outstanding employees to fulfill the organization’s mission.” 

Starting this August, Zorbaugh will serve as co-CEO with LCSWMA’s current leader, Jim Warner, as Zorbaugh transitions in to the CEO role on January 1, 2019.  He conveys gratitude for Warner’s leadership, saying, “Jim has been a wonderful Mentor during my career at LCSWMA, and I appreciate all that he has given to not only myself, but the organization, and community as well.” 

Warner, who is retiring at the end of the year, reflects that “Bob has been critical to our success as an organization.  He offers a unique combination of knowledge, experience, and skills that strongly positions him to lead LCSWMA into the future.  I believe our Board made a wise decision, and I look forward to assisting Bob’s transition into his new role as CEO.”

Beyond LCSWMA, Zorbaugh is a respected leader within the local community and the solid waste industry.  He most recently served as Board President (2015 – 2016) for the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), LCSWMA’s industry association.

He holds a B.S. in Geo-Environmental Science from Shippensburg University, as well as several operational certifications from SWANA.

Tags: Faces of LCSWMA · In The News

FREE Home Compost Workshops

March 09, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

LCSWMA is partnering with municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct home compost workshops where residents will learn how to recycle organic waste from their kitchens and gardens instead of putting it in the trash. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials and turn them into a useful and valuable soil amendment.

Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs. Each household in attendance will be eligible to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket and enter a raffle for a home compost bin courtesy of LCSWMA.

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend any one of the home compost workshops scheduled for this year. If required, residents should pre-register by no later than Friday at noon prior to the workshop they’ll be attending.

  • April 25 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Facility located at 850 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster. The workshop is from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste and Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email

  • ​​May 19 at the West Earl Township Municipal Building located at 157 West Metzler Road, Brownstown. The workshop is from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the West Earl Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 859-3201 or email

  • ​June 6 at the Chiques Creek Watershed Expo located at Manheim Farm Show Complex, 502 East Adele Avenue, Manheim. The workshop is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. No fee is required nor is pre-registration is not necessary. For more information, please contact Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance at  This family event includes presenters from Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, the Lancaster Environmental Center, Lancaster County Conservation District, native plant nurseries, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Lancaster Conservancy and others.

  • ​June 23 at the West Donegal Township Municipal Building located 1 Municipal Drive, Elizabethtown. The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the West Donegal Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 367-7178 or email

Tags: Community Events · Recycling

LCSWMA CEO to Retire by End of Year

February 21, 2018 · By LCSWMA Admin ·

Jim Warner, CEO for the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA), announced this week his plan to retire from the organization by end of year.

Warner is a 32-year veteran of the solid waste industry, with 22 years at the helm for LCSWMA, guiding the organization through many crucial and strategic moves to position LCSWMA as an industry leader.  Under his direction, LCSWMA has grown to an $85 million organization, managing close to 1 million tons of waste annually.  LCSWMA has also invested in resources, projects and initiatives that not only fulfill its core mission, but also enhance the livability of the community it serves.

For LCSWMA’s Board of Directors, hiring a successor for Warner will be no easy task, with Steve Dzurik, Board Chair, saying, “During his tenure as CEO, Jim’s vision and entrepreneurial leadership has had a profoundly positive impact on LCSWMA.  His strategic decisions have helped shape the organization’s growth and development, transforming it into an innovative industry leader.”

A sub-committee of LCSWMA’s Board is working diligently to find the right person to lead LCSWMA into its next chapter.  Dzurik notes that Warner’s retirement has been planned for some time, which afforded the search committee the ability to engage in a thorough process to find his successor.  Further announcements on CEO succession will be forthcoming in future months.

As for Warner, his transition at the end of the year marks a new beginning.  He says, “I’m proud of the great work we accomplished at LCSWMA over these few last decades.  And I now look forward to the next great adventure.”

To read more, visit:

Tags: Faces of LCSWMA · In The News