In The Loop

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

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 tbreneisen@cityoflancasterpa.com.

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 vicki@eastdonegaltwp.com.

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 manager@raphotownship.com.  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

3/18/17: Extended Hours

March 16, 2017 ·

On Saturday, March 18th, LCSWMA will offer extended operating hours at the following facilities:

  • Transfer Station:  6:30am - 2:30pm
  • Lancaster WTE Facility:  7:00am - 1:00pm
  • SRMC:  5:00am - 2:30pm

The Household Hazardous Waste Facility and Frey Farm Landfill will operate under normal hours.

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3/15/2017: LCSWMA Operations Resume

March 14, 2017 ·

All LCSWMA facilities will resume normal operations Wednesday, March 15. The Transfer Station Complex, Household Hazardous Waste Facility, Frey Farm Landfill, Lancaster WTE Facility and the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex will open at 7am. LCSWMA's main office will open at 9am.

For a list of facility operating hours, click here

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3/14/2017: LCSWMA Closed

March 13, 2017 ·

Due to the impending snow storm, all LCSWMA facilities will be CLOSED on Tuesday, March 14. This includes the Transfer Station Complex, Household Hazardous Waste Facility, Frey Farm Landfill, Lancaster WTE Facility and the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex. Please check back for updates regarding the storm's impact on Wednesday's operations.

For a list of facility operating hours, click here

Tags: Frey Farm Landfill · HHW · SRMC · Waste-to-Energy

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 info@lcswma.org.

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 www.Earth911.com 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

Giving Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

There is nothing like the special moment when a loved one finally opens the gift you’ve thoughtfully picked just for them. This year, why not give them a gift that will make a lasting and sustainable impact?

Here are some tips for giving green this holiday season:

Sustainable Wrapping.
Did you know if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields? Unwrapping gifts is an important part of the gift-giving experience, but it often results in a significant amount of waste. Instead of purchasing new wrapping materials, consider more sustainable and creative ways to surprise your loved ones. Upcycle old maps, newspapers and other print products to wrap gifts.

Natural and Homemade Gifts.
From a plant to something edible, natural gifts are easily recycled or consumed, and have a much smaller carbon footprint.

If you want your gift to be extra special, make it! Handmade items can be more meaningful and cost-effective. Check out these easy handmade gift ideas for inspiration.

The Gift of Experience.
The holidays don’t have to be all about physical gifts. Give loved ones the gift of your time with an experience – volunteer, take a cooking class or see a movie together. Need some ideas? Here are fun ways to give experiences instead of stuff.


Tags: Green Tips · Waste Matters

Decorating Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

Did you know, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans throw away one million extra tons of garbage each week?

Many celebrate the holidays as a season of giving, and one of the most important gifts we can give is to make choices that help ensure a sustainable future for our community and environment. “Going Green” is easier than you think, and small changes can make a big difference.

Here are a few eco-friendly decorating tips to get you in the spirit of “going green” this holiday season:

Lighting.
A favorite holiday activity is the tour of beautiful lights adorning homes and businesses in our community. While lovely to look at, holiday lighting can increase energy consumption.

When decorating with lights, consider more efficient LED bulbs. Though more costly up front, they last longer and use less electricity. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost about $18, while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

Christmas Trees: Live or Fake?
For some, the Christmas tree is a focal point of holiday decorations. Artificial trees are a first choice for many because they can be displayed for several years, and seemingly reduce the number of trees being cut down.

Surprisingly though, live Christmas trees may actually be the most sustainable choice. Most are grown on tree farms where, in many cases, represent the only crop the soil can support. They also provide shelter for native animal and bird species.

Many artificial trees, however, are made with petroleum-based plastics and have a much larger carbon footprint than live trees. This is largely due to their manufacturing origin, which is often international countries like China.

Buying a live tree from a local tree farm or stand, also supports local businesses, and in turn, the community.

TIP: If you’re planning to go with a live tree, remember to recycle it when the season ends. You can mulch the tree or process it into firewood. Penn Waste will collect live trees from Lancaster Township residents January 9-12. For more information about tree recycling in Lancaster County click here.

Decorating “Green”.
While bright shiny tinsel and plastic snowflakes look very nice around the house, they contribute to a significant amount of annual holiday waste. Using organic material for holiday decorations is a great way to decorate in a sustainable manner. Many stores sell live wreaths, holiday arrangements or ornaments. Don’t forget! Organic decorations can be composted. Check out these tips for composting.

Looking for a holiday activity you can do with friends and family? Make your own decorations! Here are some fun green DIY holiday decoration ideas.

Tags: Green Tips · Waste Matters

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

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

September 27, 2016 ·

An astonishing 30-40 percent of food supplied in the United States goes to waste,[i] and up to 95 percent of that food waste across the country ends up in the landfill[ii]. Food waste is costly, and a burden on our environment, but it’s largely preventable.

Here are five easy ways to reduce food waste and help contribute to a more sustainable future:

TAKE LEFTOVERS. Our favorite restaurants provide much-needed relief for the sometimes cumbersome task of cooking. However, we’re often left full before finishing the heaping plate of pasta, and the rest is tossed. Next time, consider asking your waiter or waitress for a box, and taking your leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Or better yet, bring a reusable container with you on your evening out to pack those leftovers. This not only reduces waste, but saves you from rushing to pack your lunch.

SHARE FOOD. As the old adage goes, “sharing is caring.” Some individuals, who care deeply about the environment and eliminating food waste, have taken this saying to the next level. OLIO, a free food-sharing app, connects neighbors to each other so that surplus food can be shared instead of thrown away. This innovative approach to food sharing hasn’t made its way to the U.S., but the concept can be applied at the local level. Form a network of friends or neighbors to connect with via social media networks or in person. Start a food sharing group for the next time you need a cup of sugar or an egg for your famous chocolate cake. You can deliver a slice of cake later to say thank you.

GET CREATIVE. In a hurry, you picked up the family-size can of diced tomatoes instead of the 14.5-ounce can the recipe calls for. Rather than tossing the unused tomatoes, use them for a scrumptious soup the next day. Here are dozens of recipes for more food-saving ideas.

CUT DOWN RECIPES. Recipes are wonderful, often saving us time and the headache of trial and error. But many recipes are seemingly designed for large families, and knowing how to pair the ingredients down for your table of one or two can be overwhelming. Check out this helpful chart for cutting down recipes and food waste.

BUY AS YOU GO. Fresh produce is great for your health, but spoils easily. The best way to cut down on perishable food waste, is to buy as you go. On your weekly shopping trip, only purchase the items you need. Read on for some more tips on reducing produce spoilage.

For more tips on reducing food waste, click here.  

[i] United States Department of Agriculture 
[ii] Environmental Protection Agency


Tags: Green Tips