OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has recently awarded the City of Allentown roughly $265,000 in a Recycling Program Performance Grant. The grant, whose letter cites the city’s “exemplary efforts,” is in response to the nearly 20,000 tons of residential and commercial materials recycled by local residents and businesses in 2011.

Performance grants are offered from the state based on certain criteria, mainly the type and weight of the materials being recycled.  Recyclables can be from residential, commercial and drop-off recycling programs. 

“The residents of Allentown and our business community have embraced with open arms the idea of green living through recycling and waste reduction,” said Mayor Pawlowski. “Allentown continues to be a recycling leader in the region and strives to decrease trash that is land filled while increasing the types and amounts of materials to be recycled.”

The city’s commendable recycling program has received other awards from the Pennsylvania DEP, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Recycling Coalition, the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association.

The Pennsylvania Act 101 authorizes curbside recycling to municipalities with a population over 10,000 and proposes grants be applied toward recycling program sustainability and enhancements. “The grants allow us to provide quality services and programs to our residents and businesses,” said Ann Saurman, Manager of the Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste. “This $265,000 grant is based 100 percent on the city’s recycling performance, and therefore, I am very grateful to all our participating residents, businesses and schools.”

Allentown’s recycling program is available to all 365,000 households and 375 businesses that participate in the weekly curbside collection program. The Act and program have goals to reduce Pennsylvania’s municipal waste generation by recycling at least 35 percent of waste generated, procure and use recycled and recyclable materials in state governmental agencies, and educate the public on the benefits of recycling and waste reduction. Recycling in Pennsylvania is a billion dollar industry that generates momentous economic and environmental benefits.

For more information about the recycling programs within the city, please call the Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste at 610-437-8729, or visit the bureau website at