Paper Recycling in Lancaster County - Speak for the Trees!

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“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
Dr.  Seuss, The Lorax

New Guidelines for Paper Recycling:

As most are aware, recycling guidelines have changed in Lancaster County. We used to be able to put everything but shredded paper in our bins and now we are only able to recycle flattened, corrugated cardboard with our weekly curbside collection. Since recycling is one of the few things I feel like I can actually do to positively impact our Earth, I was literally sick at the idea of throwing all of my paper into the trash. Some may be thinking, does it really matter? Does recycling paper really make a difference? Why should I make an extra effort to recycle paper now that it’s no longer as easy as hauling it up to the curb?

Benefits of Recycling Paper - YES, it does matter!

Paper and paper-based packaging manufacturers reuse recycled paper every day. In fact, in 2016 U.S. paper and paper-based packaging manufacturers consumed more than 30 million tons of recycled paper to make new products ranging from corrugated containers to paperboard boxes to writing paper and tissue.

Every ton of paper recycled saves:

  • More than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space that could be used for other, non-recyclable materials.

  • 17 trees! Every tree saved helps to protect the habitats of beautiful birds, insects, and a wide variety of wildlife whose homes are in those trees.

  • 7,000 gallons of water, another crucial and limited resource.

  • 4,000 kilowatts of energy, enough to power the average U.S. home for six months.

  • 380 gallons of oil.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions (rather than releasing pollutants into the air from a waste incinerator).

Where to recycle paper in Lancaster County:

The City of Lancaster Recycling Drop-Off Center (http://cityoflancasterpa.com/resident/recycling-center) is located at 850 New Holland Avenue. All residents of Lancaster County may use the facility whose hours of operation are M-F 8 AM - 5 PM and Sat 8 AM - 12 PM. Paper should be separated prior to arrival at the facility. Follow the link on their website to a color brochure or see the list below for all papers accepted and separate into:

  • Mixed Office Paper (printer paper, envelopes, index cards, file folders, dividers, uncoated/not glossy junk mail).

  • Newspaper (including ads/inserts), phone books, and soft cover books.

  • Magazines (including catalogs, glossy/shiny paper like brochures, pamphlets, food menus, and mail flyers).

  • Chipboard (boxes without a fluted center such as cereal boxes, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, etc.).

  • Soft Cover Books (can be included in office paper, newspaper, or magazines depending on the type of paper of the pages - covers do NOT need to be removed!).

  • Hard Cover Books (regardless of the type of paper of the pages, all hardcover books go into a separate bin at the facility).

  • Shredded Paper (the facility does not shred paper for you but will accept bags/boxes of paper that has been pre-shredded).

  • Corrugated Cardboard (brown paper bags can also go in with the corrugated cardboard).

  • The following items are not accepted: wrapping paper, tissue paper, paper plates and cups, napkins/paper towels/tissues, photos, and shopping bags.

Did You Know?

Our church separates and recycles all paper it might otherwise throw into the trash! Nadinne Ziegler, the church’s Business Administrator, regularly takes the separated paper to the City of Lancaster Recycling Center. In addition, our last two Fellowship meals (after the November congregational meeting and after Pastor Laura’s ordination service in December) did not use paper plates, bowls, or plastic utensils. We used the church’s dishes and the dishwasher and greatly reduced our paper and plastic waste. We extend a huge thank you to Nadinne, all members of the Christ Church staff, the Fellowship Committee, the Green Team, and our congregation for being committed to the green efforts of recycling and reducing consumption.

Would you consider a new green intention in your own home for 2019? Do you make a trip to Lancaster once a month, maybe an errand, maybe for work? Could you create a new habit of collecting and sorting your paper during the month so that it could be dropped off at the recycling center on one of your Lancaster trips rather than thrown into the trash? If you don’t travel toward Lancaster, could you identify a friend in church or in your neighborhood who might be willing to take your pre-sorted paper along with them when they stop at the recycling center? I have 3 boxes (for mixed office paper, magazines/glossy paper, and chipboard) in my laundry room and I sort the paper that comes into our house daily into those boxes and then take them to the recycling center once or twice a month when I have an errand in Lancaster. The recycling center is easily accessible, easy to drive through, and I have never encountered a wait. Would you consider the additional step of suggesting and implementing a paper recycling practice in your office or work place as well?

Another option for recycling magazines, catalogs, and any type of glossy paper is the dumpster that still remains in the old Darrenkamp’s parking lot on Ridgeview Rd. This collection supports Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Non-glossy, black and white, shredded paper can also be added to your compost pile or tumbler as another option for recycling.

Lastly, consider these suggestions for decreasing your paper consumption as another avenue for minimizing the amount of paper that hits the trash:

  • Catalog Choice (https://www.catalogchoice.org/) is a website that allows you to opt out and remove your name from catalog mailing lists. It does take an initial investment of time (less than 30 min) to familiarize yourself with the site, create and account, and set up your profiles (name(s) and address(es), especially if you are like me and receive catalogs addressed to multiple household members, a correct and incorrect spelling of your name, as well as the previous occupants of your home). After the initial set up, the process of opting out of the catalogs is fast and easy. I collect catalogs as they come in the mail and, once a week or every other week, sit down for a few minutes on the website to opt out of future catalog mailings. The process really works, I must say I now receive far fewer catalogs than before!

  • Read your news via online sources or subscriptions rather than print versions, thereby eliminating your newspaper delivery.

  • Say no to printed receipts and instead keep a small log book to record credit or debit transactions.

Speak for the Trees!

There are times, and I can remember this even more vividly when I had 3 children bringing massive quantities of paper home from school every day, when I feel as if I am literally drowning in paper! The amount of paper that comes into our house on a daily basis is astounding. We have an opportunity, with just a little bit of time, effort, and intention, to help our planet by recycling and/or reducing the paper that we encounter so that we can save our trees, our water, our air, and so many other resources.

Please leave a comment if you know of other useful tips or practices for recycling or reducing paper in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Thank you!