Model City ProfileModel City Profile

Allentown, Pennsylvania
Population: 106,632
Bottle Bill: No
Collection Method: Contractor
Funding: General Fund
Households Served: 36,500
Truck Type: Rear loading packers for paper and yard waste, and side loading, over-the-top load trucks for containers
Container Type: Two 22 gallon recycling bins (blue bin for paper and green for containers) provided free of charge by City
Materials Processing Facility: Single stream processing
Allentown, Pennsylvania

The City of Allentown began offering curbside collection of glass, aluminum and steel cans in 1990, and PET and HDPE bottles in 1992. Newspaper and mixed paper were added in 1997, and finally boxboard, corrugated and 3 – 7 plastic (bottles and tubs) in 2007 with new collection and processing contracts. The addition of corrugated and boxboard increased paper recycling by 24 percent in the first year.

Allentown also operates a 24/7 drop off center, open year round and accepts all recyclables collected curbside, plus clothing, drapes and metal items from businesses and households. The drop off center is jointly operated by the City and the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department. Over $325,000 in revenue from the sale of recyclables has been donated to victims of juvenile crime since the center opened.

Allentown has won numerous rewards for its’ recycling efforts including awards from the National Recycling Coalition, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Solid Waste Association of North America, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Allentown currently contracts for curbside collection of refuse, recycling and yard waste with Waste Management, with the contract running from 2007 to 2012. Waste Management collects refuse twice a week from all households in buildings with 25 or fewer units, and recyclables and yard waste on the second collection each week. All collection activities occur at night because of the number of one way streets and congestion during the day.

Waste Management delivers recyclables to a new transfer station in Allentown, allowing them to stay on route for longer periods of time and reducing collection costs. Allentown municipal employees transfer the bottles and cans to Greenstar Allentown located in North Hampton, and the mixed paper to Liberty Recycling under separate processing contracts.

Recycling is mandatory in Allentown, and is enforced through random inspections of refuse containers. Based on set-out surveys, Allentown estimates that roughly 94 percent of households participate in some recycling activity. In 2008, roughly 38,000 tons of refuse, 6600 tons of recyclables, 350 tons of appliances and 2000 tons of yard waste were collected curbside. Another 8,600 tons of recyclables, yard waste and leaf waste were dropped off for recycling in 2008. Finally, roughly 18,000 tons of business, institutional and non-profit center waste was also recycled in 2008.