In The Loop

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

Entries Tagged as Recycling

Christmas Tree Recycling

December 14, 2017 ·

Did you know you can recycle real Christmas trees to create beautiful things for the rest of the year? Some townships turn your tree into mulch for community parks! Click here to find a tree recycling location near you.

Tags: Recycling

ACT 101 Update

November 20, 2017 ·

This is the first article in an educational series, highlighting waste industry news.

Language in PA House Bill 118 effectively removed the sunset date from the $2 recycling fee and maintains the Recycling Fund established in Act 101. The bill (now Act 40 of 2017) was signed into law by Governor Wolf on October 30, 2017.

What does this mean and why is it important for our community’s recycling efforts?

Let’s start from the beginning.

Statewide recycling in Pennsylvania began in 1988 with the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (Act 101) that requires larger municipalities (based on population) to recycle. The Act established a $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at municipal waste landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. The fees are placed into a Recycling Fund, from which the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) distributes grant money for local collection programs, public education, materials processing and composting facilities, equipment and technical training.

The Recycling Fund established in Act 101 was due to sunset January 1, 2020.

The hard work is seemingly done, why should community members care if the Recycling Fund ended?

Elimination of the fee, and the associated grant programs it supported, would have significantly impacted recycling programs throughout the Commonwealth.  Here’s how…

Up to 70% of the Recycling Fund provides:

  • development and implementation of county and municipal recycling programs;

  • municipal recycling program performance grants;

  • studies to aid in the development of markets for recyclable materials, and studies to encourage and implement waste reduction strategies;

  • research and demonstration grants for the beneficial use of solid waste;

  • and more.

Up to 30% of the Recycling fund is allotted to DEP for:

  • public information and public education;

  • municipal and county technical assistance programs for litter control, recycling and waste reduction;

  • research and demonstration projects;

  • county municipal waste management planning grants;

  • and more.

Had the Recycling Fund sunset, it would have been felt hard by Lancaster County’s 47 municipal recycling programs. It would have meant no funds for new or existing recycling programs that helped Lancaster County achieve a 44% recycling rate in 2016. But numerous organizations and associations advocated for the Recycling Fund to continue, and those efforts paid off with the passage of House Bill 118.

We hope this information helps you “rethink” waste and its impact on our daily lives including how important programs are funded. As citizens of this earth, we have a responsibility to manage it conscientiously and maximize its potential for a positive impact. 


Tags: In The News · Recycling

FREE Home Compost Workshops

April 07, 2017 ·

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) is partnering with local municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct FREE home compost workshops for residents, where individuals can 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 organics, turning those materials into a useful and valuable product to naturally improve the soil. Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs.  Each household attending a compost workshop can enter a drawing to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket courtesy of LCSWMA.

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend any of the home compost workshops scheduled for this year at no cost.  Residents are asked to pre-register by noon on the Friday prior to the workshop they’ll be attending.  The following lists dates and specific details for each workshop:

April 19 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Facility located at 850 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster.  The workshop is from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  To pre-register or for more information, contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste and Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email

May 20 at the East Donegal Township Municipal Building located at 190 Rock Point Road, Marietta.  The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  To pre-register or for more information, contact the East Donegal Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 426-3167 or email

June 7 at the Chiques Creek Alliance Watershed Expo at the Manheim Farm Show Complex, 502 East Adele Avenue, Manheim.  The workshop is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  For more information, email  Pre-registration is not necessary.  This family event includes presenters from the Lancaster Environmental Center, Lancaster Conservation District, native plant nurseries, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Lancaster Conservancy and others.

Tags: Community Events · Green Tips · Recycling

Going Green in the New Year

January 26, 2017 ·

Each new year comes with a promise of a fresh start, new experiences and for some, resolutions. It’s not too late to resolve to go green in 2017! Here are some simple and easy resolutions that contribute to a healthier planet.

Plastic Water Bottles: Ditch Them!
Buying bottled water not only costs money, but also generates plastic waste. In fact, enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times. Instead, invest in an at-home filtering pitcher or a reusable bottle made from aluminum, glass or recycled plastic.

Reusable Bags: A Must Have
Plastic bags are a huge drain on the environment, taking 15 to 1,000 years to decompose. Only 2% of bags are recycled each year, and the rest are sent to landfills or make their way to pollute our oceans. Next time you make a trip to the grocery story, consider using a reusable bag. Washable and sturdy, reusable bags make shopping trips more convenient and ecofriendly.

Cut Back on Paper Towels
Did you know 13 billion pounds of paper towels end up in landfills every day? Investing in a few cotton cloths and some fabric napkins can help reduce paper waste significantly. When the fabric napkins get dirty, just run them through the laundry. Cloth alternatives are not only less wasteful, but more economical.

Switch to Rechargeable Batteries
According to the EPA, Americans throw away more than 3 billion batteries every year. Many of these batteries will end up in landfills, taking up land as a precious resource. Make the switch to rechargeable batteries. This will decrease your battery consumption to a fraction it was before, saving you money, and producing less waste.

If the holidays have left you with a pile of old batteries you don’t know what to do with, LCSWMA offers free battery bags to Lancaster County residents. Place the bag next to your garbage can, or deliver it to our Household Hazardous Waste Facility on Harrisburg Pike for free disposal. To request bags or for more information, email us at

Proper Disposal of Waste
When it comes to disposal, not all waste is the same. For instance, paint and electronics should not be placed in your trash can. Household hazardous waste (HHW) should be delivered to LCSWMA’s HHW Facility, free to Lancaster County residents. For a complete list of materials accepted at the HHW Facility, view our Resident’s Guide.

Tags: Green Tips · Recycling

Christmas Tree Recycling

December 22, 2016 ·

The following are some suggested Christmas tree drop-off locations for individual residents, haulers, businesses and municipalities. All trees and woody materials must be contaminant-free. No tree stands or plastic (including bags), wire, ornaments, lights, tinsel or other decorations may remain on the trees.

1. Lancaster County Central Park – main entrance located along Chesapeake Street, Lancaster. Call the Park Office at 299-8215 for information and instructions. Trees may be dropped off daily from December 26 through January 31 during regular park hours. Mulch will be available to the public beginning January 4 until January 31. A $1.00/tree donation is requested and appreciated to support park programs. Not for commercial collection.

2. Martin Mulch Products – located at 55 Woodcrest Drive, Ephrata. Call 733-1602 with questions. Trees may be dropped off Monday through Saturday between dawn and dusk. Single trees are $2.00 each; the price varies for larger deliveries.

3. Zeager Brothers – located at 4000 East Harrisburg Pike, Middletown. Call 944-7481 with questions. Trees may be dropped off Monday through Friday between 6 am and 5 pm. No charge. Zeager Brothers will be closed for business on December 25 and January 1

Some municipalities offer curbside collection of trees through their contract program; other municipalities offer drop-off locations for residents. Residents are encouraged to contact their municipal office for specific information about programs in their community.

Check for additional information and locations to recycle Christmas trees.

For a complete list of municipal Christmas tree recycling programs, click here.

Tags: Green Tips · Recycling

Dining Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

​While the holiday season often means splurging, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate without being wasteful. Many of us will spend lots of time with friends and family around the dinner table, where perhaps the most excess waste occurs. Here are some tips to help you enjoy holiday meals with loved ones, and make sustainable choices.

Setting the Table.
Though it’s tempting to go with the convenience of disposable products, they aren’t always eco-friendly. Instead, stick with reusable dinnerware and table linens. Expecting a large crowd and afraid you’ll run out of dinnerware? You don’t have to break the bank - purchase a fun and eclectic mix of plates, cups and silverware at a flea market or garage sale. Going green for the holidays can be fun too. Check out these reusable napkin folding ideas that are sure to impress.

Think Local.
Much of your holiday meal can be purchased locally thanks to local growers. Beans, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, eggplants, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and squash are all produce that can be bought locally during the winter months. Not only does locally grown food put money back into your community, it also reduces your food’s carbon footprint because many grocery stores ship from across the country and overseas. Local farmer’s markets are a good place to start.

Eliminate Food Waste.
Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year, and food waste makes up about 21% of what is discarded.

The first step to reducing holiday food waste is determining how much you’ll need to feed your guests. Keep these “rules of thumb” in mind while planning for your event.

If you still have leftovers despite your efforts, don’t fret. Send them home with guests. Encourage guests to bring reusable containers to dinner so they’re prepared to take food home when the festivities end.

​Composting is another easy way to eliminate holiday food waste. New to composting? Learn more here.

Tags: Green Tips · Recycling · Waste Matters

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2016 ·

The first Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago.

At that time, LCSWMA was known as LARA – the Lancaster Area Refuse Authority. Recycling didn’t yet exist as we know it today and our Integrated System was yet to be established.

We’ve come a long way since that first Earth Day.

Today, LCSWMA serves both Lancaster and Dauphin Counties, managing around 900,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) and recyclable materials in a safe, reliable and efficient manner every year. Our award-winning Integrated System helps to keep 96.5% of Lancaster County’s MSW out of the Frey Farm Landfill, and allows us to turn waste from Lancaster and Dauphin Counties into electricity, powering the equivalent of 45,000 area homes.

On Earth Day and every day, LCSWMA is committed to doing all we can to manage waste in the most environmentally-sound way possible. Driven by our guiding principles, we are dedicated to the establishment of sustainable systems that provide the optimum balance between resource conservation and disposal of waste. 

And while we fulfill an essential public need, LCSWMA is also committed to community sustainability though generating renewable energy for the community and reducing our own energy consumption, in addition to fostering open space through building recreational trails and opening a nature preserve for the public to enjoy.

It is our privilege to serve Lancaster and Dauphin Counties, and together, we can help make our communities a more sustainable place to live, work and play.


Tags: Recycling · Renewable Energy

Let's Cleanup Central PA!

March 04, 2016 ·

Spring is a time for renewal, so this year, help renew the environment by organizing a cleanup or beautification event in your community as part of the Great American Cleanup of PA (GACU), happening March 1 through May 31.

During the GACU, residents from across the state gather together to clean up litter and trash along roadsides, streams, beaches, parks, forests and neighborhoods. In addition to litter pickup, groups can also hold recycling drives or plant trees and flowers.

Groups such as community and civic associations, schools and youth groups, families and friends, business employees, hunting and fishing clubs, conservation organizations, sports teams and more can register a cleanup event online in order to receive supplies and equipment, free of charge.

Registered events can obtain complimentary cleaning supplies such as gloves, bags and vests from the PennDot District Office by calling (717) 299-7621. 

Additionally, event coordinators should reach out to Barb Baker ( who coordinates the Keep Lancaster County Beautiful program (an initiative of LCSWMA), prior to a cleanup event for information on free disposal of litter at any one of LCSWMA’s facilities.

This annual cleanup event is sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, and since its inception in 2004, almost two million volunteers have picked up more than 87,000 million pounds of litter and waste from 160,000 miles of roads, waterways, shorelines and trails.


Tags: Litter Abatement · Recycling

Take the Recycling Pledge!

November 10, 2015 ·

This Sunday, November 15, is America Recycles Day (ARD), a nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.

In celebration of ARD, LCSWMA encourages you to take the pledge to give your garbage another life by recycling what you can.

If you already recycle using a curbside bin, we encourage you to think outside the box (literally!) by recycling items that cannot be placed in your bin. For instance, take your plastic bags and wraps back to the grocery store for recycling (find a recycling location here), bring electronics, paint or other household hazardous waste (HHW) to LCSWMA’s HHW Facility, donate old clothes and compost food scraps instead of throwing them away.

For more information on recycling, visit these helpful websites: – for information on how to recycle HHW, yard waste and more. – to access a list of materials accepted at the City’s Recycling Center. – to find out about your local recycling options.

Keep America Beautiful – for information on litter prevention programs, cleanup programs and recycling initiatives.

Keep Lancaster County Beautiful – to find out about local KAB programs in Lancaster County. – for information on how and why to recycle common items.

Tags: Green Tips · HHW · Recycling

5 Things You Shouldn't Put in Your Trashcan

May 14, 2015 ·

These days, it’s getting harder to distinguish what should and should not be tossed in your trash can. Some items, like tissues or food wrappers, are easily distinguished as garbage while other household items are more of a mystery.

Read on to find out what common items don’t belong in your trashcan and how you can properly dispose of them:

1) Batteries. Many people throw dead batteries in the garbage with the rest of their trash. Batteries are considered household hazardous waste and need to be disposed of properly. In Lancaster County, residents can call our main office at 717-397-9968 to request orange battery bags to use for disposal. Once the bag is full, simply place next to your trashcan and your garbage hauler will bring them to LCSWMA for recycling. You can also bring batteries to our Household Hazardous Waste Facility, free of charge.

2) Food Waste. Did you know that 18% of the national waste stream is made up of food waste? To handle this type of waste, the sustainable disposal option is to compost. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves and other organics, turning those materials into a useful and valuable product to naturally improve the soil.

3) Covered Devices. In 2013, Pennsylvania passed a law called the Covered Devices Recycling Act, which prohibits residents from disposing of covered devices as trash. Covered devices include desktop computers, computer peripherals (keyboard, mouse, printer and speakers), televisions and e-readers that browse the internet. You can recycle a maximum of ten covered devices per day at our Household Hazardous Waste Facility for free or contact your local municipality for information on collection programs.

4) Glass Bottles, Steel and Tin Cans, Plastic Bottles or Newspaper: Give your garbage a second life – recycle these items! Place bottles, cans or newsprint in your curbside recycle bin for collection or bring them to one of our Recycling Drop-Off Centers to dispose of for free.

5) Paint. Excess amounts of paint, either latex or oil-based, can be brought to our Household Hazardous Waste Facility for free. Empty paint cans or dried paint can be disposed of as regular trash. 

Tags: Green Tips · HHW · Recycling