The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded the city a $350,000 Section 902 Grant to support the city’s recycling and yard waste programs for necessary processing and hauling equipment. Separately, the DEP has awarded the city a $324,438 Section 904 Grant regarding recycling performance in 2019. Citywide, more than 18,200 tons of material were recycled in 2019 through residential and commercial recycling programs.
“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 of the 902 Grant was 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 trailers are used to transport the recyclable material to be processed for recycling and marketed. The grant also reimbursed the city nearly $64,000 for a portion of the cost associated with the purchased walking floor trailer.
The city used nearly $26,000 to purchase a shredded paper compactor that is hooked-up to a previously DEP grant funded paper shredding system. The shredded paper is recycled along with the mixed paper collected at the Recycling Drop-Off Center.
According to Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste Manager Ann Saurman, “The funding for these items 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 city is very grateful to DEP for its support of Allentown’s recycling programs.”
The Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste contracts with Waste Management for the collection of single-stream recycling from some 36,700 residential units and 500 plus businesses. In 2019, 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 Allentown 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 8,000 cubic yards of mulch were processed in 2019.
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 2019 was in excess of 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.