SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Environmental advocates say Pennsylvania is in a “growing waste crisis.” They blame a decades-old recycling law, and are recommending a slate of legislative changes. “We live in a much different world than we did in 1988,” said Darren Spielman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, referring to the year PA’s recycling law was signed. “The wastestream has changed, and we have new challenges for the well-being of Pennsylvania, for our environment, for our health, for our economy. We need to do better.”
The advocacy groups Pennsylvania Resources Council and PennEnvironment released a report that charts a new “roadmap” for recycling in PA. It includes over a dozen recommendations that would require new programs, new legislation or amendments to state law. It also concludes that the state is failing to meet the goals set in its recycling law, with ballooning waste, dwindling education efforts, and inadequate data collection.
The report finds that under current law, fewer than 500 Pa. municipalities are required to offer recycling. Close to 600 additional municipalities offer voluntary curbside recycling programs, but these are not required to meet state standards. Roughly 6% of Pennsylvanians do not have access to a municipal recycling program, according to the report. “Only the largest municipalities are mandated to have curbside collection,” said Faran Savitz, a zero waste advocate with PennEnvironment. “But if we expand that to include all our municipalities, it’ll be easier and more efficient for all Pennsylvanians to safely recycle their waste.”
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