In The Loop

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

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

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:

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

Sustainable Living Tips for On and Off Campus

August 15, 2016 ·

Every year college students exit residence halls and enter campus communities across the country. Although adjusting to college life can be difficult, continuing sustainable living practices doesn't have to be.

Whether you are a student or know someone who is, here's a look at a typical school routine. These environmental tips can be practiced on and off campus:

  • A morning cup of coffee is crucial for many people. Places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable coffee cups. To reduce waste while making coffee at home or in a dorm, try a reusable K-cup coffee filter for your Keurig. The filter uses ground coffee instead of individual pods.

  • Whenever you can, save paper by taking electronic notes. Also, avoid printing the syllabi or assignment sheets when possible, as they are usually accessible online. Other paper-saving tips include: printing double-sided and reducing margins to fit more text per page.

  • A great way to reduce energy consumption on campus is to head outside and utilize natural light. Grab a blanket and study outdoors or read next to a window instead of under a lamp. Consider turning the lights off in your dorm room whenever you aren't there.

  • Combat the mid-afternoon slump with a snack. Pack yours in reusable containers and buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste. At mealtime, help offset the estimated 70 billion pounds of food waste generated in the U.S. annually by only taking food you will eat.

  • Before bed, unplug electronic devices to decrease energy usage, as many appliances/electronics use a small amount of energy even when powered off. Use a power strip for your electronics, so you only have one thing to unplug each night.

For information on green initiatives happening on your campus, contact your college's Office of Sustainability.

Tags: Green Tips

Eco-Friendly College Prep

August 05, 2016 ·

This post was written by LCSWMA’s summer communications intern, Karissa. She will be a sophomore at Emory University this fall.

By this point in the summer, many high school grads are thinking about their move to college. Transitioning to university life can be intimidating and scary. One aspect on students’ minds is how to adjust to dorm living, and how to make a 12x12 foot room feel like home. It’s comforting to know, however, amidst the unknowns of moving to college, how to decorate your dorm room is something you have absolute control over.

The first piece of advice I share with incoming students is to pack light. You may find five matching throw pillows that flawlessly compliment your comforter, but most of the time those pillows will end up on the floor. Pack the essentials first and wait until you arrive in your new space to buy the rest.

If you find yourself in desperate need of something, find a ride (most likely your university will provide shuttles) to a store and stock up after you know what you need.

Designing a space that is all yours is exciting. Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks and secrets to designing a cozy and eco-friendly space:

1.Organize for Sanity
I’ve found being organized helps keep my sanity during exam weeks. Desk organizers are easy to make and inexpensive, plus you probably have all the materials. Eco Bonus: Reuse honey jars, cans and other containers for this project. Check it out here.

2.Decorate for Inspiration
Dorm walls are notoriously ugly and plain. Fortunately, Pinterest is a great resource for creative inspiration including a multitude of ideas for personalizing those four walls. One of my favorite Pinterest finds is decorating with tissue-paper garland. Eco Bonus: I made one of these for my dorm last year using left-over tissue paper from the holidays. I saved extra wrapping and transformed it into a free, eco-friendly and adorable decoration instead of throwing it away.

3.Get Crafty
Fall in love with mason jars. They are versatile and can hold snacks, drinks, pens, plants, candles, or just about anything you’d like. Eco Bonus: Mason jars easily replace plastic or paper cups and bowls, reducing unnecessary waste. Also, there are countless ways to paint or decorate mason jars if you’re planning to display them. Check out this article for great crafting ideas.

4.Create a Living Space
Plants add an organic element to spaces, which makes a big difference in lifeless dorms. I personally love succulents. Although they do need sunlight, they hardly need to be watered and can survive in any container, like this adorable coffee pot terrarium. Eco Bonus: I know you’ve got your eye on a new Keurig, so why not upcycle that old coffee pot instead of trashing it? “Upcycling” is when you transform items that would otherwise be garbage into something new. It’s a great way to reuse items not otherwise “recyclable.”

5.Look Up
Dorms have limited floor space for dressers and organizers, so consider ways you can use vertical space in your room for decoration or storage. Eco Bonus: If you’re feeling handy, check out this DIY rope shelf. It’s chic and can be made out of materials you have at home.

6.Make it Social
Instead of purchasing new items, host a clothing swap party to trade items you don’t wear anymore. Eco Bonus: According to the EPA, approximately 11 million tons of old clothing and textiles end up in U.S. landfills each year — nearly all of which can be reused or recycled. If you still have items left over, donate instead of trashing them.

I hope these tips inspire you to incorporate stylish yet sustainable ideas into your dorm décor. If your college days are in the past, these tips work well for offices or other small spaces too.

Tags: Green Tips

Your Top Disposal Questions Answered

July 12, 2016 ·

Summer signifies the end of spring cleaning, meaning items purged from cabinets, closets and cupboards need to go somewhere. However, it can be tricky to know if an item should be recycled, thrown out with regular trash or taken to a special location for disposal. 

Read on for the answers to the top five disposal questions LCSWMA receives, and find out how to properly dispose of common household items.

Where can I dispose of my television?

Lancaster County residents can dispose of televisions for free at LCSWMA’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility located at 1299 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. Customers can bring a total of 10 televisions to the facility per day.

What should I do with my box spring and mattress?

If the item is six feet or longer, it must go to the Frey Farm Landfill for disposal. Otherwise, any LCSWMA facility will take a box spring and mattress for a cost of $15 per item.

Is my microwave considered household hazardous waste?

Microwaves are not considered household hazardous waste and can be disposed of for $10 at any LCSWMA facility.

How do I dispose of a propane tank?

Small propane tanks like those used for camp stoves or lanterns, can be placed in your regular trash for disposal. Large propane tanks, empty or full, are accepted for free disposal at LCSWMA’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility located at 1299 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster.  

What should I do with leftover paint?

Lancaster County residents can dispose of leftover latex or oil-based paint at LCSWMA’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility located at 1299 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. If the paint can is empty or the paint has dried out, the can is considered trash and can be placed out for collection. 

For more information or specfic quesitons about waste disposal, contact your hauler.



Tags: Green Tips · HHW

Turn the Tide on Trash

July 08, 2016 ·

A trip to the beach is a great way to relax, rejuvenate and surround yourself with the beauty of nature.

Unfortunately, the natural beauty of the beach is often disturbed by the presence of litter. In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash ends up in our oceans each year. This also impacts the health of aquatic ecosystems, including marine animals.

Help keep the sand and surf at your favorite beach clean by utilizing these tips:

Snack the Smart Way

Instead of reaching for a plastic bottle from the snack stand when you get thirsty, consider packing a stainless steel bottle. Not only will this type of container keep your drink extra cold, but it’s reusable too.  Speaking of keeping cool, trade in your Styrofoam cooler for a reusable one to prevent pieces of Styrofoam from breaking off and ending up in the water.

When packing snacks, buy in bulk from the grocery store to avoid packaging waste and store in reusable containers such as mason jars or reusable snack bags. Another option is to make your own snacks that don’t require any type of wrapping or packaging like fruit leather, popsicles or granola bars.

Choose a Safer Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential for outdoor summer fun, but when sunscreen washes off in the ocean, it can leave chemical residue behind that is harmful to marine life, especially coral reefs. Find the best sunscreen options here and don’t forget to recycle your empty sunscreen bottle.

Leave the Beach in the Same Condition You Found it or Better

A large portion of marine trash is created by beachgoers. Some of the most commonly littered items at the beach include cigarettes, food wrappers/containers and plastic beverage bottles.

Any items left on the beach can be blown into the ocean, picked up by waves or washed into the water when it rains. Make sure to not leave anything behind. Pack up all beach toys and use designated receptacles to dispose of trash and recyclables. If you fish, be sure to properly dispose of fishing line and nets, which can entangle, injure and drown marine wildlife.

Have fun this summer and help protect our precious oceans and waterways. For information on how you can help our local gateway to the ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, click here

Tags: Green Tips · Litter Abatement

3pm Wind Tour Cancelled

May 14, 2016 ·

Due to a fast-tracking storm, the 3:00pm tour for the Spring Wind Tours on Saturday, May 14th is CANCELLED. Safety of our visitors, staff, and project partners is of the utmost importance. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.