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Pittsburgh looks to clean up with mandatory recycling

By Mia Rupani, Point Park News Service:

Kyle Winkler, the current recycling supervisor at Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Environmental Services, works to ensure that recycling in the city runs smoothly.

By law, all Pittsburgh residents and business owners must recycle. Photo by Mia Rupani, Point Park News Service.
By law, all Pittsburgh residents and business owners must recycle. Photo by Mia Rupani, Point Park News Service.

According to Chapter 619 of the city code, recycling is mandatory for every resident, business, institution and office in Pittsburgh.

“From a city perspective, it is cheaper to recycle than to throw something in a landfill,” Winkler said. “There are also huge environmental impacts from our wasteful society, and by recycling, we help mitigate those impacts.”

Any residents and businesses that are caught violating the provisions of Chapter 619 can face fines, but Winkler pointed out that these fines do not apply to residents of apartment buildings.

“We can’t fine people in apartment buildings, but we can fine the apartment building itself for not providing recycling in that building,” Winkler said.

“If residents of apartment buildings find that their building is not offering recycling or not doing a good job of it, they can call us and let us know. We can follow up with that building to find out what the issue is and we can work with them.”

Photo by Mia Rupani, Point Park News Service.
Individuals who do not recycle could be forced to pay hefty fines. Photo by Mia Rupani, Point Park News Service.

As listed in Chapter 619, an individual neglecting to recycle can be fined a minimum of $50 plus court costs and up to $500 plus court costs for additional violations. Owners of multi-family dwellings can be fined a minimum of $100 plus court costs and up to $500 plus court costs for future violations.

“Every day that someone is out of compliance with these regulations is a day we could potentially fine them,” Winkler said.

All residential curbside pickup in the city is single stream, meaning all glass, plastic, mixed paper, metal and cardboard can be put into the same bin or bag to be recycled every other week.

For homeowners who are in charge of recycling, all materials must be placed in a blue trash bag or a closed, blue bin. Bins cannot exceed 35 gallons.

Call Environmental Services at 412-255-2773 for a list of recyclable materials or to find out the collection day in your neighborhood and nearby recycling drop-off locations.

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