Challenges of the IRC Recycling System

Written by John Frederick. Posted in Residential

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.

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