Recycling Frequently Asked Questions

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Recycle FAQ

Click on any of the questions below to learn more.


Does LCSWMA accept my recycling?

LCSWMA does not provide your curbside recycling pick-up. However, we do provide drop-off recycling centers at our Transfer Station Complex, Waste-to-Energy Facility and Frey Farm Landfill. Residents may put plastic bottles/jugs (anything with a neck), aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles/jars and newspapers in the containers at their convenience.

Additionally, ash from the Waste-to-Energy Facility passes by a magnet to recover ferrous (steel) and non-ferrous metal. LCSWMA also accepts for recycling: white goods (large appliances), tires, batteries, computers and fluorescent lamps.


What happens to my recyclables once they leave the curb?

Recyclables put out at curbside in your recycling bin and those delivered to drop-off locations are taken to privately owned processors for sorting into their various components and to remove contaminants. After sorting, the various materials are normally compacted or baled and transported to a market to be used as raw material for manufacturing other products. Most of the organic materials go to private and municipal compost sites to make mulch and compost, which are beneficial to the soil and the environment.


What kinds of products are made out of my recyclable materials?

Below are just a few examples of the uses of recycled materials. As new technologies develop, more uses and products emerge. Many products we use everyday contain recycled materials. Recycled products have been around
for generations.

  • Cardboard, office paper and newspaper are used to make new boxes, tissue products, greeting
    cards and newspapers.

  • Glass bottles and jars can become new bottles and jars, glass tiles or fiberglass insulation.

  • #1 (PETE) plastic can be used to make fleece jackets, carpet, shower curtains and fiberfill for stuffed animals.

  • #2 (HDPE) plastic is used for making new bottles, toys and lumber for decks, benches and fences.

  • Aluminum cans are used to make more aluminum cans and other products like siding, window frames,
    car parts or even airplanes.

  • Steel/tin cans are used to make more steel.

  • Tires can become flooring, gym mats and athletic tracks.

  • Leaves, fruits and vegetables are used to make compost to help grow new gardens.


All plastic containers have a recycle symbol on them. So why aren't all plastic containers recycled?

The number inside the chasing arrows recycling symbol found on plastic containers identifies the type of resin used to make the container. The majority of plastics are labeled with a #1 (polyethylene terephthalate or "PET") and #2
"HDPE"). Of these, the most prevalent are bottles, jars and jugs that have available and steady markets. The quantities generated and market demands are not strong enough to justify collection of the other types of plastics. In Lancaster County, the non-recyclable plastics are processed as trash at the Waste-to-Energy Facility where electricity is
generated from waste.


What are my options for getting rid of yard waste?

Yard waste recycling opportunities are increasing. Many municipalities that have curbside recycling programs also offer yard waste collection programs. Several drop-off locations are open to residents as well. Contact the municipality that you live in for more information about options available in your community. Home or backyard composting is also an alternative for recycling yard waste.


Why aren't magazines, cereal boxes and "junk" mail recycled along with newspapers?

Newspapers are usually the most abundant paper type generated in households. Newsprint is a particular grade of paper that has specific uses. Other paper types are made from many different paper grades with varied recyclability and market demand. Mixing paper grades can require extra sorting which can increase recycling costs and/or lower the value of the paper. To maximize any recycling process, only the items asked for should be source-separated. Adding other paper types can jeopardize the recyclability of the newspaper and actually hurt the recycling program. In Lancaster County, non-recyclable paper types are processed as waste at the WTE Facility to generate electricity.

Corrugated cardboard is another type of paper that is normally recycled by businesses. Some municipalities provide drop-off opportunities for small local businesses and residents. Please contact your municipality for the nearest drop-off facility you may use.


Does everyone in Lancaster County need to recycle?

Act 101 of 1998, the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, was enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. This act mandates that municipalities with a population higher than 5,000 residents must adopt an ordinance requiring curbside recycling by residents and recycling by businesses, institutions, governments and at community events. Benefits of recycling include: controlling disposal costs, saving energy and conserving natural resources. If your community does not have a curbside recycling program, there are several drop-off locations in Lancaster County.


Why do I have to pay to recycle? Should I be paid for my materials?

Although recyclables are raw materials used by industry, the costs to collect, sort and prepare recyclables for uses by markets generally outweigh the value of the materials. However, in most cases, the overall cost to recycle is less than
the cost of disposal.