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Clean & Green – Safe Spring Cleaning Tips

Warmer weather is right around the corner. We’re just as excited as you are! During this time, many people like to do some spring cleaning. We’ve compiled a list of resources for you to check out before you place everything in the trash.

Many items can be recycled, reused, or donated to a local non-profit. More dangerous items, such as household hazardous waste items, pose a serious safety risk for our employees so you cannot place them in your curbside trash and recycling bins.

Please review the below tips and follow your own municipality’s guidelines when spring cleaning. Click here to view our Municipality Resource Page and select your municipality for more specific information regarding your guidelines.

Items You Can Recycle

Penn Waste accepts the following items through your curbside recycling program:

  1. Clean and empty plastic bottles and containers with #s 1, 2 and 5 on the bottom.
  2. Clean and empty glass bottles and jars.
  3. Clean and empty milk cartons.
  4. Clean and flattened cardboard.
  5. Clean and dry newspaper.
  6. Clean and dry steel and aluminum cans.

These are the ONLY items that should go in your curbside recycling container.

*If you live in Lancaster County, please follow Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s BIG 4 Recycling Guidelines.

How to Properly Dispose of Electronic Waste

In Pennsylvania, certain electronics are restricted by law from being disposed of in the trash due to the toxic metals they contain. As a result, electronic waste cannot be collected curbside by Penn Waste. Please contact your county Solid Waste Authority to see if they have a drop-off program.

Some examples of electronic waste are: computers, computer peripherals (keyboards, mouse, printer, etc.), computer monitors, and televisions.

How to Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Household hazardous waste is considered any products that are flammable, can react, or explode under certain circumstances. For this reason, they cannot go in your curbside trash and recycling bins. We experience countless truck fires every year due to hazardous waste NOT being properly disposed of. For this reason, please contact your county Solid Waste Authority to see if they have a drop-off program.

Examples of household hazardous waste are: Driveway sealant, flammable materials, fluorescent bulbs, tube lights and lighting ballasts, garden chemicals, household cleaners, mercury containing devices and liquid mercury, photographic chemicals, pool chemicals, rechargeable batteries and vehicle fluids.

Appliances & Appliances Containing Freon

Appliances that do not contain Freon can be placed with your curbside trash. If the appliance does not fit in your trash container, it will be considered a bulk item. Please check your municipality resource page to see if bulk item collection is a service you have. All bulk items must be able to be lifted by two people. Items that are too heavy to be lifted by two people will not be collected.

Please call Penn Waste at 717-767-4456 to schedule removal of any appliances containing Freon. Some examples are: refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and water coolers.

Paint Cans

Empty paint cans should be placed in your bagged trash, then placed in your trash container, due to the amount of paint residue that will be on them. If you’re not sure how to dispose of your half-empty paint cans, we recommend the following:

  1. Consider donating your paint to a community center, charity, place of worship, local theater or Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They’re often working on projects with a limited budget and could use the extra supplies.
  2. Harden the paint by adding equal parts cat litter to the paint in the can. Stir the cat litter into the paint until it thickens and won’t spill. Allow the mixture to sit for one hour before placing in your bagged trash. ***There are weight limits on your trash container and they vary by municipality. A good rule of thumb is your trash container should never weigh more than 50 lbs. Keep this in mind since hardened paint becomes very heavy.


Clothing should never be placed in your curbside recycling bin. The materials get wrapped around the processing equipment at our recycling facility, causing it to jam up and break. Many non-profits such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, and consignment shops accept used clothing for donation. As a last resort, clothing can be placed in your curbside trash container.

Additional Resources

If you have something else that does not fit into the above categories, we recommend checking the website for additional resources for disposal. You can also check with your county solid waste authority or the vendor you originally purchased the item from.

Lastly, before you throw something in the trash, take a moment to consider if there’s anyone else in your community who might be able to use what you’re about to throw away. Many non-profits accept donated household goods, clothing, appliances, furniture, and more.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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