Who, What, When, Where and Why?

We have all heard of the Three R’s of the environment: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The last of these, recycling, is the act of converting waste into reusable materials.

It is an extremely important activity that we should all practice everyday in our homes and our jobs to reduce garbage in landfills, save energy, preserve our natural resources, conserve materials, and keep our environment clean.

Recycling in Pittsburgh

In the city of Pittsburgh, you must separate recyclable items from household trash and package them in blue recycling bags or blue bins for bi-weekly curbside collection. Put your recyclables at the curb no earlier than 7:00 pm on the night before collection and no later than 6:00 am on the day of collection.

What can you recycle?

Mixed Paper: This includes office paper, newspaper, magazines, hardcover/softcover books, catalogs, junk mail, phone books, and paperboard

Plastic: This includes beverage bottles, gallon jugs, food bottles, tubs, and jars (3 gallons or less). Make sure to discard of all lids and caps, as they cannot be recycled.

Aluminum/Steel Cans: This includes beer/juice/soda cans, food cans, and completely empty aerosol cans

Glass: This includes food jars, beer/juice/soda bottles, wine/spirit bottles, and growlers

Cardboard: All cardboard must be flattened and not exceed five feet in length or width. The cardboard must be bundled together or placed inside another cardboard box. Dispose of any food or wax paper in pizza boxes in the trash, and flatten those boxes as well.

Make sure your plastics, aluminum/steel cans, and glasses are completely dry and clean!!


What can’t you recycle?

Polystyrene/#6 Plastics: These types of plastics are found in Styrofoam products, disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carryout containers, and some plastic cutlery. #6 Plastics can potentially release toxins, especially when heated up. Check for the number inside of the recycling symbol to see if the product is a #6 Plastic.

Plate Glass and Dinnerware: This includes glasses used for windows or mirrors, which are more difficult to recycle than bottled glasses, and Pyrex containers. In addition, light bulbs typically cannot be recycled.

Certain Paper Products: Napkins, paper towels, and tissues are often considered too contaminated to recycle.  This is also applied to pizza boxes – if they are tainted with a lot of food and grease they cannot be recycled. Paper that is laminated or contains a plastic coating (i.e. wax paper) cannot be recycled as the fibers are unable to be broken down.

For more information about recycling in Pittsburgh, check out their informative website here.