Act 101 and Recycling in PA: Past, Present & Future

Act 101 transitioned Pennsylvania from a system where only 2% of material was recycled in 1988 to a system that now has 1,141 curbside recycling programs and 814 drop off recycling programs in the state .  While it succeeded in growing the recycling rate, it did not meet all of its goals, and many provisions within the Act created unintended impacts limiting the growth of Pennsylvania’s recycling system and a pathway towards zero waste and a circular economy.

To meet current challenges, we along with our partners reviewed best practices from jurisdictions around the Commonwealth, the country, and the world and present 15 recommendations to modernize Pennsylvania’s recycling system.

Full Report

Executive Summary

Recommendations Only

Media Coverage

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Pennsylvania Resources Council, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the vision of a Pennsylvania where nothing is wasted, led the effort to produce this report. Penn Environment provided strategic advice.

PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Pennsylvania’s air, water, and open spaces. They work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.

Eunomia, an independent consultancy dedicated to helping clients achieve better environmental and commercial outcomes, researched and wrote the initial draft of this report.

Grant funding was made possible through the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, and is intended to support recycling and waste management policy. FPW is a nonprofit, grant-making organization supporting water quality needs throughout Pennsylvania.