Challenges of the IRC Recycling System

Better Understanding of our Current Collection System

Changes in the IRC community recycling programs have been considered because the municipalities have struggled to reach the level of success enjoyed in other communities across the state. Research related to the discussions also showed prices were much higher than similar communities and programs. Most recently, Hollidaysburg Borough Council voted in late Spring 2017 to continue the current private subscription collection system, putting the issue aside for the immediate future. 

Resources for IRC Collection Discussions

Waste and recycling collection is a much more complicated topic than it may seem.  With that in mind, we continue to offer these links to other resources and studies from Pennsylvania and across the country.

  • A Summary of IRC Collection Challenges - This summary presents the programatic, logistic and financial challenges of the current system.
  • National Analysis Confirms Local Struggles - Resource Recycling magazine recently published the results of a national analysis of curbside recycling programs.  The IRC program performs more poorly than any other program on the list.
  • DEP Studies Single Collector Options - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has done a series of studies on the benefits of single collectors in communities throughout the Commonwealth.  This page gives a list of links to the individual studies.
  • Another Community Looks for Change - Upper Merion Township in Eastern Pennsylvania had a similar discussion several years ago.  This is their presentation discussing the pros and cons of switching to contracted collection.
  • Refining Collection to Improve Recycling - Building the best recycling program requires us to pay attention to the details.  Though this piece from Resource Recycling is more than a decade old, its basic advice is still sound.
  • Low Volume Pricing - This is a study done by Skumatz Economic Research Associates for the City of Asheville, SC and cites other case studies of the pricing option used in many communities that rewards good recyclers and those that make less trash.

Latest IRC Blog

Holiday Routines, Recycling, and Role Models

Christmas and Hanukkah are both, among other things, times of hope and anticipation. New Years is seen as a time of renewal or resolution.

The season often brings a hope for peace and happiness.  Beyond the anticipation of gifts, we are also eager to share time with friends and family.  Our resolutions are most often directed at self-improvement.

We might also think of these themes of hope, anticipation and resolution to do better in terms of environmental stewardship.  But just like the more traditional holiday spirit, these acts of stewardship should not be solitary actions.  Part of what we do has to be directed toward spreading the good things, the noble thoughts, the beneficial actions.

Not everyone reads the Earth Matters columns or thinks that environmental concerns should be a priority.  Life’s complications (especially during the always hectic holiday season), can push environmental concerns very low on our priority lists.

So we should do all we can to bring these acts of stewardship into our everyday lives.  Make them routine.  Make them part of every day and every place.  And do what you can to spread the word and the enthusiasm.  More than a quarter of most communities are enthusiastic environmental advocates.  We have to find a way to spread that word and zeal to a broader portion of our neighbors.

Recycling – For the first time, a large portion of Blair County has access to widespread and convenient recycling for all kinds of boxes and paper gift wrap .  Curbside collection programs will accept wrapping paper with your newspapers, magazines and mixed paper, as well as cardboard and paperboard (including gift boxes). 

If someone doesn’t seem to be recycling over the holidays, politely ask them where their recycling bin might be, that you’ll be happy to get it for them.  If they live outside the curbside recycling communities, remind them that a Christmas wrapping drop-off will be at the Logan Valley Mall the two days right after Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Energy – Turn the heat back a few degrees when you head off for those holiday visits.  Flick the light off when you leave the room, not just at home but at work and on the road, too.  Don’t let the car idle for long periods and because of you that friend or coworker that hasn’t been paying attention to such matters might just start.

Conversation – When folks get together over the holidays, it gives them a chance to talk and enjoy each other’s company.  Conversations often turn to the state of the world or the place where we live.  The environment can often be one of the topics that arises.  When stodgy Uncle Bertram starts complaining that environmental protection efforts are a luxury we can’t afford, let him know that energy conservation and waste reduction have actually been good for business.

So this is a time to act.  Just as importantly it is a time to get others to act.  The holidays should not just be about presents, it should be about spreading good will and doing what we can to make our spot on the planet a better place in every way.

The IRC’s annual holiday wrapping recycling event is December 26-27 at the Logan Valley Mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Live Christmas trees can recycled at the Altoona and Logan Township highway yards, Antis Compost Facility, the IRC Composting Facilities in Duncansville and Buckhorn. Hollidaysburg, Tyrone, and Martinsburg all offer curbside tree collection.  

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Recycling News

For recycling info on the go, download the IRC My-Waste App!!

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