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.

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Executive Summary


One in every 11 Pennsylvanians is experiencing food insecurity. Yet 40% of all food in America is wasted. Learn how to EAT WELL, SAVE MONEY and WASTE LESS with easy, practical, and strategic methods for preventing and reducing food waste.

You can have a direct effect on residential waste, which in turn has personal, local, and global impacts.

Learn more by reading these fact sheets:

The U.S. EPA reports that wasted food accounts for the largest portion of American trash by weight – more than 66 million tons a year – and once wasted food reaches landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Individual households generate approximately 40% of discarded food.

“We must address food waste. It is not only an enormous environmental problem but also an important social issue with one in 11 Pennsylvania residents currently experiencing food insecurity,” according to PRC Executive Director Darren Spielman. “Tremendous resources – such as land, water, energy and labor – go into growing, storing, processing, distributing, and preparing food, and it is all squandered when food never reaches the table.”


Lending a voice to the success of glass recycling in western Pennsylvania are the “Faces of Glass” – those who collect, transport, process and manufacture glass bottles, jars and jugs – featured in PRC’s new video.




The companion zine, We Recycle Glass in SW Pennsylvania, showcases the “Faces of Glass” as well as the history of PA glassmaking, options for finding recycling locations, a glass glossary, and a snapshot of a bottle’s journey from recycling bin back to store shelf.


Safe and Healthy Living

Chemicals are an integral part of our lives. Most are found in products used for cleaning, automobile maintenance, home improvements, hobbies, personal care, lawn and garden care, and a variety of other tasks.

However, many common chemical products in the home (basement, kitchen, garage, workshop, and garden shed) contain hazardous ingredients which need to be used, stored, and disposed of responsibly. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is that portion of a household product which is no longer usable or wanted and has to be disposed of. HHW can also be described as discarded solid or liquid materials or containers holding gases which may cause an adverse, harmful, or damaging biological effect in an organism or the environment.

There are multiple reasons to be cautious about our exposure to some chemicals. An increasing number of studies have indicated that environmental toxins, including those chemicals found in typical household products, can have detrimental effects on human health and the environment, both from immediate, acute exposures as well as long-term, low-dose exposures.

Why It’s Important To Use, Store, And Dispose Of Chemical Products Responsibly

Full HHW Guide


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.

Eunomiaan 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 Watershedsand is intended to support recycling and waste management policy. FPW is a nonprofit, grant-making organization supporting water quality needs throughout Pennsylvania.