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Category Archives: Waste Tips

How to Properly Dispose of Ashes

Posted September 19, 2018

With the cooler weather of fall upon us, everyone’s breaking out their fire pits and roasting s’mores! It’s important to keep safety in mind when sitting around the fire and when the fire is done. Hot ashes can cause major safety issues for not only you, but for our employees as well. 

Hot ashes and coals from fires can remain hot enough to start fires for many hours or even days after a fire is out. The amount of time it takes for hot ashes to cool depends on many factors, some of which include how hot the fire was, what was burning, how much un-burned fuel remains if fuel was used, etc. Please keep all of these factors in mind when disposing of hot ashes.

In order to properly dispose of the hot ashes, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • If possible, allow ashes to cool in the area where you had the fire for several days. These areas are designed to contain their heat safely.
  • When it is time to dispose of ashes, test to ensure the hot ashes are cool by placing them in a cardboard box or paper bag before disposal. In this situation, never leave these ashes unattended until they are cool enough for disposal. If the ashes are too hot, they will begin to burn through the box or bag.
  • DO NOT dispose of hot ashes with yard waste material. By placing ashes with yard waste, such as tree trimmings and leaves, the potential for fires increase substantially.

Please keep these tips in mind when disposing of ashes this fall.

How to Properly Dispose of Pool Chemicals

Posted August 19, 2018

As summer comes to an end, Penn Waste would like to remind everyone that pool chemicals should not be disposed of in your trash or recycling.

Chemicals such as chlorine, muriatic acid, and sulfuric acid are used to balance and disinfect pools, while other chemicals are used to “shock” the pool. These chemicals are extremely combustible and can cause fires in the back of our trucks, putting our employees’ safety at risk.

Here are a couple suggestions on how to properly dispose of pool chemicals:

  1. Check with the store you bought your pool chemicals to see if they have any suggestions
  2. Donate extra pool chemicals to local pools around the area
  3. Check with your local Solid Waste Authority to see if they accept pool chemicals
    1. York County Solid Waste Authority
    2. Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority
    3. Cumberland County Solid Waste Authority
    4. Dauphin County Solid Waste Authority
  4. Check with your neighbors who have pools to see if they can use them.

New Recycle Guidelines

Posted July 9, 2018

Effective July 1, 2018, Penn Waste is implementing new recycle guidelines. The new recycle guidelines are a result of the current recycling crisis created by China. Back in the fall, the largest buyer of recyclable material in the world, China, set unachievable contamination limits on the recyclable material they receive resulting in the recycling markets crashing. Previously, bales were allowed to have around 5% contamination in them which equates to 92lbs of contamination in a 1,850lb paper bale . At the beginning of 2018, China imposed a 0.5% contamination limit on imported recyclables from any country which equates to only 9lbs of contamination in a 1,850lb bale of paper. This is an impossible level of contamination for recycling companies to achieve.

Subsequently, Penn Waste has taken a “Back to Basics” approach in an attempt to try and meet the new contamination limits.  Please see below for our new recycle guidelines.

If it is not listed below, do not place it in your recycle bin. 


Penn Waste’s “Naughty List”

Posted December 13, 2017

During this busy time of year, we’d like to remind all of our customers which items fall on Penn Waste’s “Naughty List” and should NOT be placed in your recycling bin.

Check out our most recent video below:

The following items are NOT accepted at our recycling facility:

  1. Plastic Packing Materials & Styrofoam – Plastic air pillows, bubble wrap, foam peanuts, and Styrofoam are not items that we accept at our recycle center. Either reuse them or place them in your trash.
  2. Plastic Bags – Plastic bags are not acceptable at our recycle center. These get wrapped around our equipment and someone must manually cut off each one. Do NOT place these in the recycle bin. You can either check with a local grocery store to see if they recycle plastic bags or we encourage you to just reuse them.
  3. Medical Waste – Medical waste should never be placed in the recycle bin. To see how to properly dispose of medical waste – check out the following blog post on this subject.
  4. Clothing – Clothing is not an item we accept at our recycle center. There are many local non-profits who accept used clothing and would appreciate your donations. We suggest checking with Lifepath Christian Ministries, the Salvation Army, your local Goodwill or Purple Heart to name a few.
  5. Christmas Lights – Christmas lights are not recyclable. They get wrapped around our equipment causing major issues for us. Please make sure you place them in your trash.

For a full list of what items are and are NOT recyclable, you can download a brochure here.

How to Properly Place Your Cart at the Curb

Posted December 7, 2017

In 2017, Penn Waste took the initiative to invest in Single Operator Vehicles – or “SOVs” as we like to call them- adding 16 SOVs to our fleet.

The SOVs are used in residential neighborhoods to collect trash and recycling.

They are solely operated by one employee – the driver.

Safety is the #1 priority for Penn Waste so investing in these vehicles was a no-brainer.

The SOVs do not require a loader to ride on the back of the truck so there is no risk of injury or dealing with inclement weather conditions.

In addition, the SOVs make the collection process more efficient so we can get your trash and recycling picked up faster – IF YOUR CARTS ARE PROPERLY PLACED AT THE CURB.

The SOVs have a mechanical arm that comes out, lifts up your cart, and empties it into the truck.

There are 4 important points for you to remember to make sure the SOV is able to safely access your cart:

1.      Make sure your cart opening is facing the ROAD. This ensures all recyclables are emptied from your recycling cart.

2.      The cart needs to be placed 3 feet away from any other object on either side. This ensures accessibility and decreases the risk of property damage.

3.      All recyclables go in the same recycling bin. You do not need to separate your recyclables.

4.      Don’t stuff your recycling container full. If you shove cardboard into your recycle bin, we will have trouble getting it back out. If you have additional cardboard that won’t fit in your recycle bin, just bundle it with some twine and sit it beside your recycle cart.

Please take a moment to watch this educational video regarding proper cart placement.


Hazardous Waste and How To Dispose Of It Properly

Posted November 16, 2017

Over the past few months, Penn Waste employees have seen an increased volume of household hazardous waste in our waste and recycling collections. Household hazardous waste can encompass many different materials that you may have sitting in your garage, your kitchen or anywhere else in your house. In this post, we are going to focus on three different materials, and give you some tips for proper disposal of these materials.

We will be focusing on Batteries, more specifically rechargeable batteries, Pool Chemicals, Live Ammunition and Hot Ashes. All of these materials should be handled with discretion and not disposed of in your regular trash (unless noted below) or recyclable collections.


Medical Waste Disposal

Posted March 10, 2017

In 2016, Penn Waste received over 500 pounds of medical waste at our recycling facility! This is a public safety hazard for our team members who manually sort through the recycling, putting them at risk of getting stuck by a needle.

Medical waste is defined as potentially infectious waste materials generated at health care facilities. These facilities include but are not limited to hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals/clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories. Also included is at home treatment materials, such as syringes and other material used for medical treatment. Whether the material is used or brand new, to eliminate any safety hazard with our employees, we recommend that these items are disposed of in the proper manner.

Medical waste needs to be properly disposed of in the TRASH. We recommend placing any used needles in a heavy plastic container (laundry detergent bottles, coffee containers, etc.). This will ensure that the needles will not stick any of our employees during collection. In order to ensure that the lid will not open, please consider taping the lid to the container. BE SURE to place these materials in your trash bag or can. This will ensure that the material will be taken to one of our waste disposal sites and not taken to our recycling facility.

Please help us keep our team members safe!

Reminders for Winter Weather

Posted January 21, 2016

Winter is here and bad weather is in the forecast over the next few days. In order to prepare for the inclement weather, below are several winter reminders to ensure your safety, the safety of our employees and that your trash and recycling gets collected. (more…)

How to Properly Dispose of Hot Ashes

Posted October 23, 2015

hot-ashesWith the cooler weather of fall upon us, bonfires are occurring more frequently as a way to bond with family and friends. It is important to keep safety in mind when sitting around the fire and when the fire is done. Hot ashes can cause major safety issues for not only you, but for our employees as well. Please continue reading to learn more about how to properly dispose of hot ashes and some material that can cause damage if ashes are improperly disposed of when placed curbside for trash pick-up. (more…)

Cumberland County Electronics Recycling Drop Off Event 2015

Posted October 22, 2015

Residents of Cumberland County may take part in an Electronics Recycling Drop-Off Event on Saturday, October 24, 2015. This event will start at 8:00 AM and conclude at 2:00 PM at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, located at 1000 Bryn Mawr Road, Carlisle, PA 17013.

This event is geared toward homeowners. Some items that are accepted include cable boxes, cell phones, computers, CRT monitors, DVD players, Laptops, Printers, Stereos, TVs, Video Game Consoles, and many others.

Unacceptable items include Smoke Detectors, Thermostats, Items Containing Freon (Air Conditioners, Dehumidifiers), Light Bulbs, Batteries, Medical Equipment, White Goods and others.

For an entire list of what is accepted and what is not accepted, please click here. For more information on this event, please visit Cumberland County’s Website here.

How to Properly Dispose of Your Medical Waste

Posted September 22, 2015

Pile of Medical syringes

When our new recycling facility opened earlier this year, we began taking more material. While the recycling capabilities have increased as technology has grown, there are still some materials that cannot be recycled in our facility. Medical waste and needles have been appearing more often in our recycling stream over the past few months. These items are a serious health hazard to our employees and the public. Do not place these items in your recycling bin. (more…)

How Do I Dispose Of My Old Propane Tank?

Posted August 6, 2015

PropaneTank2Did you know that propane tanks, regardless of size, should not be placed in your recycling bin? While the tank is metal, placing them in your recycling bin causes issues for our recycling center. Both larger propane tanks, as used for grilling, and smaller propane tanks, as used for camping stoves and some lighting, may not be placed with your trash. Now what do you do with your old propane tank? Keep reading for more details. (more…)

Do you know how to properly dispose of glass?

Posted July 22, 2015

Items such as light bulbs, candle holders, glassware, mirrors, windows, and other non-recyclable glass products can be a serious safety hazard to our Penn Waste team if not disposed of properly!

Please help us keep the Penn Waste team safe by doing the following:

  • Broken glass such as shattered light bulbs or a broken vase should be placed INSIDE of a paper bag or cardboard box ( a cereal box or snack bar box) prior to placing in your garbage bags. By doing this, there is less risk of the broken glass breaking through your plastic garbage bag and injuring our team members.
  • If you have a large piece of broken glass such as a mirror — place tape over the part of the glass that is broken so the sharp edge does not injure our team members. (Don’t forget — the maximum glass size we allow is 3 ft. x 6 ft.)
  • If you are disposing of a mirror or window please place tape across the material to help contain the broken pieces.

Safety is our #1 priority at Penn Waste — thank you for partnering with us to keep our team members safe!

Not sure what is recyclable and what should be tossed in your trash? Please check out our recycling guidelines here!

What do I do with my Electronic Waste?

Posted June 1, 2015

e-waste-recyclingDid you know that by law, Penn Waste is not allowed to collect your electronic waste that you place at the curb? As of January 24, 2013, Penn Waste has not collected any electronic waste that may have been placed out for collection.

The law that mandates this is the Covered Devices Recycling Act. This act prohibits residents and businesses from placing their electronic waste at the curb or in their trash.

What is considered electronic waste? (more…)

Yard Waste Collection Tips

Posted April 7, 2015

yardwasteSpring is in the air and it is time to begin the spring cleaning projects you’ve been putting off all winter. Yard work may be at the top of your priority list now that it is getting warmer out. A by-product of these outdoor projects is yard waste. Yard waste is material such as tree trimmings, shrubbery and other organic landscape vegetation. Please continue reading to learn more information on how you can dispose of this material. (more…)

Winter Reminders for Our Customers with Dumpsters

Posted February 18, 2015

Being in the heart of the winter season, we decided to update our customers on tips for winter weather. Here is our last post on the subject.

Below are several winter reminders to ensure your safety, the safety of our employees and that your trash and recycling gets collected. Keep reading for more information. (more…)

Inclement Weather Tips

Posted February 4, 2014

With all of the inclement weather that our crews have been facing on a regular basis this winter, we wanted to let our customers in on some tips to help move the process along. Collections in inclement weather will take longer and crews may begin work as early as 5 or 6 am.

What you can do to help? (more…)

Santa’s Naughty and Nice List

Posted December 13, 2013

Christmas is right around the corner. Only 12 days until the big day and Santa wanted us to let you know that he has a naughty and nice list for recyclables. When you are prepping for the Christmas holiday, take into account Santa’s Naughty or Nice list. (more…)

Electronic Waste Disposal

Posted September 30, 2013


So it finally happened. Your trusted TV has finally “kicked the bucket” or maybe your old laptop’s hard drive finally gave up. Not only do you have to find some way to replace it, it is important to remember that you cannot throw these items away in your regular trash collection. Don’t worry though; there are other ways to dispose of this material. Keep reading for more information! (more…)

Important Update About Electronic Waste

Posted October 3, 2012

Starting January 24, 2013, residents and businesses may no longer place their electronic waste out at the curb or throw it in their trash. Due to the Covered Devices Recycling Act, Penn Waste will not be allowed to collect your electronic waste. (more…)


Posted July 2, 2012

Did you know? The average American produces 1,609 pounds of trash per year.

Unfortunately, most of this is sent to landfills, incinerated, or otherwise improperly disposed of. This causes damage to the environment in which we live. Out of sight, out of mind does not apply to our waste. After something is thrown into the garbage, it can still have profound effects on you and your community! (more…)

Do Not Put Hot Ashes in Your Trash

Posted October 3, 2011

Tis’ the season for burning fires! Now that fall is here and the cooler air is rolling in, many people are heading outdoors to sit around a camp fire or their fire pit. Penn Waste would like to remind everyone to please make sure there are NO hot ashes going into your trash! This is a hazard to our employees and everyone around our trucks. Ashes that are still hot can cause an entire trash load to go up in flames. This causes our drivers to risk their lives while attempting to discard their garabage load in the middle of the street or a parking lot so the entire truck does not catch on fire. (more…)