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Where Does the Trash Go In Philadelphia?

When you have something you never want to see again, all you need to do is throw it away, and it vanishes forever. But when we think about it, we know it has to be more complicated than that. And it is!

Keep reading to learn what happens to the trash that Philadelphians throw away.

Reducing Waste That Ends Up in the Landfill

If you are wondering where your trash goes in Philadelphia, it’s likely either recycled or turned into energy. The breakdown looks like this:

  • 46% Recycled
  • 28% Converted into energy
  • 26% is landfilled

In 2017, the city released a new waste reduction plan. The goal is to increase trash diversion by 90% by 2035. You can read more about it here.

Waste Facilities in the Area

There are a wide variety of recycling facilities in and around the city listed in the map at the bottom of this post.  

Philadelphia and the surrounding area uses 3 main waste facilities:

  • Covanta Delaware Valley in Chester is the largest facility. It burns 3,300 tons of waste per day.
  • Covanta Plymouth Renewable Energy in Conshohocken burns 1,200 tons of waste per day
  • Wheelabrator Falls Inc. in Morristown burns 1,500 tons of waste per day.

For many years, there were 4 major landfills in the Philadelphia area.

They were located in:

  • Morrisville, Bucks County.
  • Tullytown, Bucks County.
  • Pottstown, Montgomery County.
  • West Grove, Chester County.

The Morrisville landfill, known as the GROWS North Landfill, is expected to close sometime in the next few years.

Nearby the GROWS North Landfill is the Tullytown landfill, which is certified through 2019, however,  Waste Management, who runs the landfill, expect to shut it down within the next few years.  Did you know that cash gifts from the Borough of Tullytown have been as high as $6,000 per household? Residents have to put up with the terrible smell of the landfill, but are rewarded with some of the revenue from the landfill.  Read more on The Intell.com

The landfill in West Grove has no plans of closing.  In fact, the development plans on their website will keep the landfill open through 2051.

The landfill in Pottstown PA closed in 2005. 

Not all Waste Can be Recycled

While the need for landfills is decreasing, there is still some waste that can’t be recycled or converted to energy.  Many townships outside of Philadelphia still use landfills. In fact there are 44 permitted landfills in Pennsylvania; however, only 3 of those reside in Philadelphia, Chester County, Delaware County, and Bucks County.

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How the NFL’s Sustainability Efforts Benefit Super Bowl Host Communities

planting trees for sustainabilityWhether you’re rooting for the Rams or the Patriots, one thing we can all get behind is keeping the environment safe. Every year, the NFL runs a series of sustainability projects in the Super Bowl host city.

Super Bowl LIII will take place this Sunday, February 3, in Atlanta, GA. Keep reading to hear about the sustainability efforts the NFL is making to improve the community. 

How The NFL is Increasing Sustainability in Atlanta

Food Recovery and Distribution: After the game, any unused food will be salvaged by Second Helpings Atlanta, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Goodr. 

Urban Forestry:  Organizations like NFL Green, Verizon, The Host Committee, and Trees Atalanta will help organize tree plantings, grow community gardens, and create pollinator habitats throughout the Atlanta area.

Other sustainability efforts include using green energy to power the stadium, recycling and solid waste management, and material recovery and donation.  Click here to read more about the NFL and Atlanta’s work to increase sustainability efforts. Or read our post from last year about the sustainability efforts at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium. 

From Roll-Off Dumpster Direct, we hope you enjoy this year’s Super Bowl festivities!

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Is Dumpster Diving Illegal?

dumpster diving2Dumpster diving is a fad that’s increasing in popularity across America.

It sounds like what it is: searching for useful items discarded in dumpsters. But, typically, it’s a lot less icky than you may imagine. The professionals scope out retail dumpsters, where they can find unopened makeup, untouched food items, and other perfectly fine treasures. 

This practice is becoming increasingly popular, and not just among the desperate. For many, it’s a thrifty and environmentally conscious hobby. But over all of this hovers one question–is it legal?

What Does the Law Say About Dumpster Diving?

US law states that dumpster diving is legal, because in most cases when an item enters a garbage bin, it’s now public domain. However, laws vary from city to city.

Many dumpsters are on private property, often enclosed with a fence or marked “No Trespassing.” Garbage picking in such a dumpster could result in getting ticketed or even arrested.

Other legal issues you may face are not directly related to dumpster diving but tend to come with the territory. Police often charge garbage pickers with disorderly conduct or littering. Usually, police only get involved when responding to a call from a resident or store manager. If the diver leaves the scene without a fight, and without leaving a mess, they usually don’t face charges.

More Grey Areas With Dumpster Diving

Some cities treat dumpster diving on foot differently than doing so in a vehicle. Since certain recyclables can be collected and exchanged for cash, it’s assumed that you’re loading your vehicle full of these goods. For the same reason, these communities may consider taking items from a recycling bin to be thievery.

Another issue is that dumpster owners worry they will face a lawsuit. If a diver injures themselves or falls ill after eating food from the dumpster, those trash pickers could sue. For those reasons, those responsible for dumpsters may press charges if they catch you diving.

Do Your Research Before You Dive

At the end of the day, is dumpster diving illegal? While the general answer is no, U.S. towns and cities do have the ability to outlaw dumpster diving in that municipality.

Research the topic in your area to see if you live in one of these towns. Dumpster owners or renters who wish to keep others out of their garbage are able to place their dumpster on private property and hang the appropriate signage to warn potential divers.

Resources for Business Owners and Other Dumpster Users

Restaurant or food store managers can donate unsold food instead of throwing it away. The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects donors from liability when donating food near its expiration date to a non-profit organization. There is even a free cafe in operation that serves dumpster finds!

If you have specific questions about renting a dumpster, visit our frequently asked questions page.

 

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What to do With Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

Close up of a Christmas tree farm in Oregon.Christmas has come and gone, and those of us who opt for natural trees are now faced with a dilemma, how do we get rid of it?

Of course, you could leave it on the curb, but then your tree will end up in a landfill.

Keep reading to see what your other options are for giving your tree new life after the holiday season. 

7 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

  1. Use it for (Outdoor) Firewood: If you have a wood-burning stove in your house, you should not burn your tree. That’s because the tree has not been treated to eliminate creosote, a chemical that builds up in trees and burns too hot for indoor fires. However, it’s safe to use your old tree for kindling in your outdoor fire pit! If you cover the tree so it stays dry throughout the winter, you can be roasting smores over it come summer.
  2. Mulch Your Garden: You don’t need special equipment! Just break the tree into small bits with whatever tools you have on hand. Don’t worry about the needles–if they end up in the soil they’ll help your plants retain moisture. 
  3. Create a Winter Coat for Your Plants: Pine bows make great insulators to help your plants survive the winter. Just lay them over top!
  4. Recycle It: Check the details in your city. Some offer curbside recycling, but many don’t. In that case, most cities offer a location where you can bring your tree and have it recycled when you’re finished.
  5. Spruce Up Your Fish Tank: It may sound weird, but think about it. Pine branches fall into bodies of water all the time! Clean small branches thoroughly, and place them in the tank to create a safe haven for your pet to relax and hide.
  6. Edging for Your Walkway: Chop the tree trunk into 2-inch disks to create rustic, DIY edging for your flower beds or walkway.
  7. Start a Compost Pile: You can compost your tree! In fact, it makes a great first item for a new compost pile. Also, for more composting info, head over to our composting guide
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17 Fast Facts About the Pentagon

US pentagon building aerial view at sunsetWe were so excited about our recent dumpster delivery to the Pentagon in Arlington, VA! This 5-sided, or pentagon-shaped, building is the headquarters for the US Department of Defense. Every year, it draws more than 106,000 visitors for tours.

The Pentagon was one of the sites of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after its construction began on September 11, 1941. That day, 189 people died when a plane crashed into the building. Since the section where the plane hit had recently been renovated, it was not fully occupied. Otherwise, many more people would have lost their lives that day.

Keep reading to learn some fast facts about the Pentagon and its construction, size, and shape.

Construction

  • The Pentagon was constructed in only 16 months, thanks to a round-the-clock, multiple-shift schedule.
  • It needed to be built quickly because, after the Pearl Harbor Attack, there was an influx of military personnel flooding into Washington.
  • Construction went in spurts, often before blueprints and design documents were completed. More than 1,000 architects worked on-site to construct the building.
  • Since it was constructed during WWII when steel was in high demand, the building is mostly made of concrete.
  • The total building costs were $83 million, today’s equivalent of approximately $1.33 billion.

Size

  • With more than 17 miles of hallways inside, it’s the world’s largest low-rise office building.
  • Inside, you’ll find 131 stairways, 284 bathrooms, 4,200 clocks, 19 escalators, and 691 water fountains.
  • Its 16 parking lots can hold 8,770 cars.
  • The five sides of the pentagon enclose a five-acre courtyard.
  • A lap around the outside of the building is close to 1 mile.
  • The Pentagon contains 16,250 light fixtures, which require 250 daily light bulbs changes.
  • The telephone wire in the Pentagon could wrap around the planet 4.5 times.
  • Before every desk had a telephone and before the days of email, messengers used to travel around the hallways on rollerskates to cut down on time!

Shape

  • The first site of the Pentagon as Arlington Farms, which is a pentagon-shaped lot. Since building there would obstruct the view of Washington, D.C. from Arlington Cemetery, a new site was selected. Since by then, planning was in its advanced stages, the pentagon shape stayed the same.
  • The site where the Pentagon rests was once Hoover Lot, an airport that served Washington. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt, who was president at the time of construction, liked the unique design.
  • The shape also allowed for quicker walking distances. Architects calculated that walking time would be 30 to 50% less than a rectangular building. Similar efficiency to a circle, but much easier to build.
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Our Favorite Things About All-Star Sports Resort in Disney World

Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, January 31st 2007: Sunset at the EntranceWe recently took a delivery to the All-Star Sports Resort in Disney World in Orlando, FL! This hotel and resort pays homage to competitive sports like baseball, basketball, football, surfing, and tennis. 

We were excited to add this fun client to our list of delivery stops. The hotel features sports-themed pools and dining, plus, this is the resort that recently added cookie dough to the dessert menu

Edible cookie dough certainly goes far with us, but we wanted to share some of our other favorite things about All-Star Sports Resort.

Our Favorite Things About All-Star 

Between time spent exploring the parks, guests can hang out at the Surfboard Bay Pool, a 242,471-gallon pool that makes you feel like you’re at the beach! It features large, 3-story surfboards, a kiddie pool for the little ones, and for the grown-ups, Grandstand Spirits Pool Bar. If baseball is more your speed, head to the Grand Slam Pool, which is shaped like a baseball diamond with a Goofy fountain standing on the pitcher’s mound. 

Other things to do at the resort include a one-mile jogging trail, playground, and an arcade.

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Dumpster Diva Turns Trash to Treasure

denim heartNo matter how much money she has in her account, Sue Older-Mondeel prefers to stay frugal. That’s what gave her the idea to start Tangelwood Works, where artists gather to take discarded or broken items and upcycle them, or give them a new, more beautiful life. 

Her proclivity for dumpster diving has earned Sue the reputation as the “Dumpster Diva” of Hyattsville, MD, a town not far from Washington, DC. Recently, she did an interview with the Hyattsville Wire, discussing how her passion for upcycling began.

A Life of Upcycling 

Sue learned many of her ways from her mother. She can recall a time when a pair of pants floated down the creek in her backyard, and her mother washed them for Sue or her sister to wear. Rather than replace the aging linoleum floor in her kitchen, Older-Mondeel and her mother hand-painted flowers and leaves over the cracks.

During her college years, Sue once transformed an old refrigerator into a a stereo cabinet with the albums in the crisper, turntable on the shelf, and speakers on the roof. Today, she uses her years of experience to inspire others to make their own transformations. 

Save your treasured items from the dumpster! If you want to learn how to upcycle your furniture, check out Sue’s online courses.

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Ikea Pilots Furniture Recycling Program

Front of an Ikea StoreWe recently had the chance to make a delivery to an Ikea store in Elizabeth, NJ.  We were interested to learn about this Swedish furniture store’s new sustainability initiative. 

Many consumers believe things that are affordable, like Ikea furniture, are also disposable. The company’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard wants to challenge that notion by creating an innovative way to recycle old products.

Ikea’s Circular Store

Howard believes that every business has an obligation to provide avenues for recycling and repairing products. That’s why he came up with the Ikea “circular store,” where customers can bring their damaged or unwanted Ikea products and repair or recycle them. Customers would be welcome to drop by with expired couches, mattresses, and rugs, and have them repaired or recycled, so they don’t end up in the landfill. 

Ikea has conducted several successful pilots of this program, mostly in Europe. We can’t wait for them to hit the US! Click here to read the whole story on Fast Company.

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Should You Use a Bagster?

loading a dumpsterBagsters are a new invention that has shown up at retail locations across the country. Since they’re convenient to buy, many people think they’re a great substitute for a regular dumpster.

However, there are some negative points to bagsters. They aren’t suitable to every kind of job out there, so before you decide to use one, it’s good to educate yourself about their weaknesses.

Things to Consider Before Using a Bagster

  1. Durability: Bagsters aren’t as durable as regular dumpster. Since a dumpster is more heavy-duty, you can load it up with heavy things without having to worry much. On the other hand, bagsters are made of a tarp-like material with handles. You will have to be mindful of how you load it, beginning with the edges to keep its rectangular shape. It’s also important to not let things overflow over the edges.
  2. Placement: Placing a dumpster is simple. Just find a convenient location on your property. All you need to do is avoid sloped surfaces. When using a bagster, in addition to being on flat ground, they need to be picked up by a crane , so it needs to be 5 feet away from any structure or vehicle. You also need 18 feet of vertical clearance of wires, tress, and buildings.
  3. Scheduling Pick-Up: When you rent a dumpster, you can schedule the pickup on your schedule, no matter what day or time. But the company that picks up your Bagster will give you a 3-day window, and is only available on Monday-Friday between 5 AM and 8 PM. 

Before you purchase a bagster and begin working on your project, make sure you do your research and consider whether it’s the best choice.

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How to Host a Neighborhood Clean-Up

Many blue and black garbage bags with leaves on the ground. Cleaning of autumn foliage in park. Horizontal photoMaybe you have leaves and sticks piled high in your backyard, or maybe your backyard is just one giant pile of sticks and leaves! If your yard is looking a little worse for wear, chances are that so are your neighbors’, and it’s true that many hands make light work.

Each neighbor’s yard contributes to the overall look of your neighborhood, and most of us want to live in a neighborhood that is safe, well-cared for, and looks nice. However, cleaning up your yard often means raking leaves, picking up sticks, and other tasks that generate yard waste, which cannot be disposed of with regular trash.

It can be hard to keep track of which day the township has yard waste pick-up, and what if you’re going out of town that day? These are all good reasons for you and your neighbors take matters into your own hands and organize a neighborhood clean-up. 

Steps to Hosting a Neighborhood Cleanout

  1. Create a Buzz: Choose a date and print off some flyers. Distribute them around the neighborhood and start spreading the word about your plans!
  2. Rent a Dumpster: If everyone in the neighborhood contributes to the cost, a dumpster won’t put you out! Plus, it’s less expensive to haul yard waste than regular trash. 
  3. Gather Other Supplies You May Need: While you’re talking about splitting the cost of a dumpster, you may also want to consider going in together on other supplies like mulch or garden tools. This is also a good opportunity to take inventory. Maybe someone has a fancy tractor they’re willing to share, or extra edging they can donate to a neighbor’s yard. It’s also a nice idea to supply your neighbors with water and snacks on the day of the clean-up.
  4. Throw a Party: Finish off the day with a cookout to thank your neighbors for all their hard work. A fun party at the end of the day is a fabulous incentive! 

Cleaning up the neighborhood as a team is a great way to create a sense of community. You and your neighbors will have the chance to get to know each other, and those relationships will inspire you and your neighbors to look out for one another and take pride in your community.

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