Gift Wrap Recycling Pays Off for Pennsylvania Town
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has announced that Penn Township is one of 20 Pennsylvania communities that will share grants totaling more than $2.3 million for recycling programs that find new ways to increase collections and reduce waste. Such collections help to keep the environment clean and supply a growing source of raw materials for manufacturers across the commonwealth, the governor says.
One of Penn Township’s successful recycling innovations is its collection of holiday gift wrapping and packaging. Nearly 85 percent of the materials collected are marketed and sold as commodities.
In addition to the curbside recycling collections required by state law, Penn Township has a drop-off recycling program where residents can take materials not collected at curbside, such as corrugated cardboard, magazines, junk mail, and newsprint.
Eyeglasses and hearing aids also are collected for reuse.
Last year, the Penn Township drop-off recycling center received 21 tons of electronics, 90 tons of tires, and 10.5 tons of textiles and cloth. The township also used 15 tons of waste salt collected from snack manufacturer Snyder’s of Hanover for its winter roads program.
To fund further recycling efforts, the state has handed Penn Township $125,000 of the $2.3 million in recycling grants.
The largest single grant of $1,636,888 went to the city of Philadelphia. Recycling is the law in Philadelphia, enforced with fines that can run as high as $300.
The Department of Environmental Protection has approved 765 of 793 recycling performance grant applications and awarded $18.1 million for calendar year 2004 recycling. The remaining 28 applications are being reviewed, and additional grant awards may be announced in the coming months.
Pennsylvania’s recycling industry is big business. More than 3,200 recycling and reuse businesses and organizations generate more than $18 billion in gross annual sales and provide jobs for more than 81,000 employees at an annual payroll of approximately $2.9 billion. These businesses add more than $305 million in taxes to the commonwealth’s treasury.