Last year Pennsylvania's recycling businesses employed over 81,322 people and generated over $18 billion in sales.
Accounting for the employment of over 1.1 million workers nationwide, with average wages over $32,700 per year, the recycling industry totals annual sales receipts in excess of $236 billion. Once again the Commonwealth continued to recycle at a rate that keeps it at the top of the recycling industry's national employment, payroll and sales tables.
Last year Pennsylvania's recycling businesses employed over 81,322 people and generated over $18 billion in sales. The industry currently accounts for more than $2.9 billion in state wages and generates $305 million in Commonwealth taxes annually. Totaling steel and aluminum cans, white goods, glass, plastics, corrugated cardboard and office paper, Pennsylvanians amassed close to 1.5 million tons of material valued at over $50 million. Adding 3.3 million tons of other recycled materials and the avoided cost of land filling them, the total value of Pennsylvania's recycling effort amounts to more than $372 million annually. In addition to recovering usable resource and avoiding adding to landfills, Pennsylvania's recycling efforts saved over 66 trillion BTU's of electricity, enough to power 643,000 homes, avoiding emissions of 2 million metric tons of carbon equivalents and 587 billion tons of other air pollutants as well as saving over 2 million gallons of wastewater.
Recycling activity within state government included:
- Expansion of the Rendell Administration's support for the municipal recycling program with 116 new recycling grants, totaling $20 million, increasing access to recycling services for some 10 million Commonwealth residents.
- Total reported Commonwealth recycling activity netted over $648,600 in taxpayer savings while recycling 5132 tons of paper, 4846 tons of cardboard and many other commodities including scrap metal, brass, aluminum, engine oil, tires and vehicle batteries. Many facilities outside the reach of the Commonwealth Agency Recycling Office have operate recycling programs through the volunteer efforts of employees using their own resources to collect and transport to municipal recycling facilities or with the cooperation of their landlords.
- Continued activity by the Department of General Service's Commonwealth Agency Recycling Office which is responsible for recycling within government agencies in the Harrisburg area. It:
- Recycled over 3,836 tons of office, newsprint, turnpike tickets, cardboard and shredded paper.
- Generated net revenue of $32,190 from paper recycling and more than $545,800 from scrap metal, aluminum, waste oil, tires and automotive batteries.
- The Department of Corrections is partnering with the Department of Environmental Resources to establish an in-vessel composting program at both the State Correctional Facilities at Huntingdon and Rockview.
- The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs recycled over 140 tons of combined paper and cardboard, 276 tons of assorted scrap metals and waste oil, wooden pallets and fluorescent lamps from their
National Guard Training Facility at Ft. Indiantown Gap. Total Revenue generated from their recycling effort last year was $64,651.
Installed with funding from DEP,
this in-vessel composter at the
Crawford County Correctional
Facility composts 1,000 pounds
of food waste per day
- The Department of Public Welfare
recycles paper and cardboard from its Clark Summit, Danville, Norristown and Torrance State Hospitals as well as the Ebensburg, Polk and Selinsgrove Centers. The total for recycled office paper was 1632 tons and 4366 tons of cardboard. Other recycled commodities include scrap metal, tires, auto batteries, waste oil and antifreeze, copier cartridges and fluorescent tubes.
- Universities under the State System of Higher Education have undertaken recycling initiatives at their respective campuses. Some of these initiatives include:
- East Stroudsburg University recycled computers, which were surplused during upgrades to computer labs through Computers for Kids USA, Inc. To date, over 500 computers have been donated to underprivileged children and their families.
- Demolition waste from the old Peirce Science Center and Campbell Hall at Clarion University has been used as construction material for the new science center as is the crushed masonry and concrete debris from the demolition of Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Wahr Hall. All metal recovered from the Wahr Hall demolition project is also recycled.
- Any trees removed as a result of Indiana University of Pennsylvania's privatized student housing project are milled by the University's Wood Turning and Furniture Design Center and used as furnishing in the academic center.
- Bloomsburg University has expanded its "Trash to Treasures" program, making it an annual occurrence. The program combines the sale of unwanted items from student's dorm rooms with other material surplused by the university.
- The Pennsylvania State Police recycled 113.73 tons of copier and printer toner cartridges, 1912 gallons of used engine oil, 343 automotive batteries and re-treaded 3,083 vehicle tires.
- The Scranton School for the Deaf, Under the Department of Education, continues to recycle at a rate of 3.46 tons per year of paper, cardboard and yard waste. The Student Council also recycles aluminum cans as part of their membership requirement at the school.
- The Independent Regulatory Review Commission nearly 100 percent of all paper generated through office operations each year. 15 used printer cartridges were recycled and after purchasing new copiers, 20
antiquated toner and 7 developer cartridges were sent to the Good Brother program for resale. In addition, old computer disks and back copies of the Pennsylvania Bulletin were recycled in mass volumes.
A compost bin outside the Public School Employee's Retirement System headquarters building in Harrisburg
- The State Employee's Retirement System recycles office paper, newspaper, aluminum cans, glass bottles and toner cartridges.
- The Department of Education has added a battery-recycling program to its already thorough recycling program.