Beer bottles

Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council

Recycling glass is poised to become easier in Peters Township.

On Tuesday, township council voted to enter into an agreement with Pennsylvania Resources Council to split the cost of a collection receptacle for discarded glass items, which were eliminated from curbside pickup of recyclables at the start of the year in Peters and other municipalities under new contracts with Waste Management.

Plans call for the receptacle to be placed near the cardboard compactor for use by local residents behind Peters Township Fire Department headquarters on East McMurray Road.

The Pennsylvania Resources Council, an 80-year-old nonprofit environmental organization, has organized a series of “pop-up” glass recycling events in the wake of the elimination of curbside pickup, with one held May 4 at Peters Township Middle School. Nearly 44,000 tons of glass was collected at the first eight events, according to Justin Stockdale, PRC Western Regional director.

Sponsoring the events are the host municipalities three contributing partners Owens-Illinois Inc., the world’s leading glass bottle manufacturer; CAP Glass, the glass recycling division of Carry All Products and Straub Brewery Inc.

“In conversations with those corporate partners, there is some interest to support the development of permanent collection sites, but they’re not able to 100 percent fund the costs associated,” Stockdale said.

He has been talking with representatives from municipalities about possibly footing half the bill, and Peters Township is the first to take official action. Stockdale hopes others will follow suit.

“It’s now back on my plate as I start to assemble a couple of these communities together to put them back out to our other partners to say, ‘OK, so we have a core group here. What do you think? Are you willing to come to the table with additional resources?’” he said. “I’m hopeful that by midsummer we would have all the funding in place and ideally have something rolled out by the end of summer.”

Stockdale pointed out it once was common for municipalities and other entities to host sites for dropping off recyclable materials, prior to the widespread practice of curbside collection.

“I would say they probably pretty gratefully handed over the keys to recycling to the waste haulers 30 years and were quite content with that, so it’s a bit of a culture shift to get people to think back,” he said.

Peters Township Council’s vote was 6-1, with Frank Arcuri opposing. He expressed concerns about who would be using a municipally financed recycling container.

“How are we going to assure that people from outside of the township aren’t going to fill it up, and then it’s going to cost taxpayers more money every month?” he said.

Township manager Paul Lauer said there is no guarantee, but he gave the opinion, based on what has occurred in similar situations:

“The majority of that is going to be township residents.”

Further “pop-up” glass recycling events are scheduled in the South Hills from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • June 8 – Mt. Lebanon Main Park Commissioners Lot, sponsored by Mt. Lebanon;
  • June 22 – South Fayette Municipal Complex, sponsored by South Fayette Township;
  • July 20 – Village Square Mall, sponsored by Upper St. Clair Township;
  • Aug. 10– Village Square Mall, sponsored by Bethel Park.

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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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