In The Loop

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

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. 


Wind Tours Weather Announcement

May 13, 2016 ·

LCSWMA is excited to welcome you to our 6th Annual Spring Wind Tours event, tomorrow, Saturday, May 14. 

The weather looks lovely for the morning, however there is a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. 

While this event is rain or shine, should the weather turn severe, we may need to cancel an individual tour time. We will make the decision an hour before the start of each tour time (for example, if you are registered for the 2 p.m. tour time, we would decide by 1 p.m. whether to cancel the tour). 

The safety of our visitors, staff and event partners is of utmost importance to us. We thank you for your flexibility and understanding. 

Tomorrow, to find out if your tour is still scheduled:
Call 717-553-5863 (Listen to the voice message)
Keep checking our blog for updates


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

Join the Earth Day Fun

April 11, 2016 ·

During the month of April, LCSWMA will be participating in a number of Earth Day celebrations – come join us!

Saturday, April 16: Dauphin County Recycling Center Earth Day
Visit us from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Dauphin County Recycling Center in Harrisburg for free food, live entertainment and a car show. Dauphin County residents are encouraged to bring along an e-waste item to recycle.

Thursday, April 21: Penn State Harrisburg Earth Day
More than 450 students are expected to gather to celebrate the environment from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the main lawn of the campus. LCSWMA will be hosting FREE home compost workshops at our booth, as well as handing out a variety of earth-friendly goodies.

Saturday, April 23: Sahd Metal Recycling Earth Day
This tenth annual Earth Day celebration features more than 25 exhibitors sharing information on green products and services. Other activities include scrap yard tours, food vendors and more, happening from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Sahd Metal Recycling in Columbia.


Tags: Community Events

FREE Home Compost Workshops

March 17, 2016 ·

LCSWMA is partnering with municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners to conduct FREE home compost workshops, where residents 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 in attendance will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket courtesy of LCSWMA. 

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend any one 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.

Below are dates and specific details for each workshop:

April 16 at the East Donegal Township Municipal Building located at 190 Rock Point Road, Marietta. The workshop is from 10 - 11 a.m. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the East Donegal Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 426-3167 or email

April 20 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Facility located at 850 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster. The workshop is from 6 - 7 p.m. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste and Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email

May 7 at the East Cocalico Township Municipal Building located at 100 Hill Road, Denver. The workshop is from 10 - 11 a.m. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the East Cocalico Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 336-1720 or email

May 21 at Mount Joy Borough's Little Chiques Park located at 229 Park Avenue, Mount Joy. The workshop is from 10 - 11 a.m. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the Mount Joy Borough Recycling Coordinator at (717) 653-2300 or email

June 4 at the East Petersburg Community Center during the Community Yard Sale. The park is located along Pine Street, East Petersburg. The workshop is from 10 - 11 a.m. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the East Petersburg Borough Recycling Coordinator at (717) 569-9282 or email

June 22 at the Chiques Watershed Alliance Watershed Expo at the Lancaster Liederkranz located at 722 South Chiques Road, Manheim. The event is from 6 - 8 p.m. No fee or registration is required. 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.

October 29 at the Providence Township Municipal Office located at 200 Mt. Airy Road, New Providence. The workshop is from 10 - 11 a.m. A brief presentation on rain barrels will follow until 11:15 am. No fee for either workshop is required and residents are encouraged to attend both, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the Providence Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 786-6775 or email

Tags: Community Events · Green Tips

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