The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is awarding the City of Allentown a $350,000 grant for recycling programs.
The city is one of 195 county and municipal governments sharing in $37 million in Recycling Development and Implementation Grants from the department. Grants were awarded for recycling collections and education, as well as leaf litter pickup.
“These grants make a difference in our ability to improve programs and become better stewards of our environment,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell.
More than $260,000 will be used to reimburse the city’s purchase of a front-end loader to be used at the Yard Waste Site in the mulch processing operations and to load the single stream recycling collected curbside into walking floor trailers. The city will use nearly $26,000 to purchase a paper compactor that will be hooked-up to a previously awarded grant funded paper shredding system. The grant will also reimburse the city nearly $64,000 for a portion of the cost associated with a previously purchased walking floor trailer. The trailer is utilized to haul all recyclables collected curbside and through the Drop-Off Center collection.
The funding for these items was requested to support, sustain and expand the city's yard waste mulch processing operation, its curbside single-stream recycling program, Drop-Off Center operations, and paper shredding program for confidential document destruction.
The goals for all three pieces of equipment are to increase efficiency and enhance the operations and processing of the recyclable materials collected.
The Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste contracts with Waste Management for the collection of single-stream recycling from approximately 36,675 residential units and 525 businesses. In 2017, more than 8,000 tons of single stream recycling were collected through the Curbside Collection Program.
Additionally, the Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste provides convenient Drop-Off Centers for both yard waste and other recyclable materials. The Yard Waste site is located at 1401 Oxford Drive and accepts yard waste from residents and businesses. This material is processed into mulch that is free for Allentown residents and businesses and is utilized throughout the city’s parks. Approximately 7000 cubic yards of mulch were processed in 2017.
The Drop-Off Center for other recyclable materials is located at 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and is open to everyone 24/7. The city accepts corrugated cardboard, paperboard, mixed paper, magazines, newspapers, books, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, foil and pie plates, steel cans, all plastic bottles marked #1 through #7, industrial plastic, scrap metal, and usable clothing, shoes, hats, and drapes at this location. The combined weight of materials collected at the Drop-Off Center in 2017 was nearly 1,400 tons.
The Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste also provides shredding services by appointment for residents, businesses, and to City of Allentown departments and bureaus. The Paper Shredding System was installed in 2017 and the demand for the service continues to grow.