recycling

Penn State no longer recycles plastic bags, stretchy plastic film or miscellaneous plastics beginning the fall semester of 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

Beginning this fall, Penn State no longer takes plastic bags, stretchy plastic film or miscellaneous plastics throughout the 15,500 recycling stations on University Park campus. 

It’s part of a plan recommended by the university’s Waste Stream Task Force to improve the overall quality of what they send to the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

Joanne Shafer is the Deputy Director at the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

Recycling authorities that used to depend on China to take their materials need new ways to dispose of or sell the material. Some communities have resorted to using landfills, incineration or stockpiling.

But in Centre County, China’s new policy hasn’t been an issue for a simple reason.

We don’t export material to China. We never have,” said Joanne Shafer, Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority deputy director. 

Shafer said the national concerns about recycling haven’t affected Centre County in any major way.

Bales of miscellaneous plastic to be sold as recycled materia
Tyler Olson / WPSU

Centre County’s Recycling and Refuse Authority’s Miscellaneous Plastics Drop Off Program is making some changes in the type of plastics it can accept.

“We can’t take black plastic anymore, no cups, no solo cups anymore,” said Amy Schirf, education coordinator for the Recycling and Refuse Authority. “The other thing that was big was packaging. If you would open up a toothbrush and there was like that plastic packaging that goes around it – we used to take that, but we can’t take that anymore either.”