Plymouth Township
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Plymouth Township Recycling

Plymouth Township continues its recycling consistency, sustainability and pursuit to become a perennial recycling leader in Montgomery County and the State of Pennsylvania. Over the last 8 years Plymouth Township has proven outstanding recycling achievement in many categories, such as outstanding single stream recycling, composting, public education, special collection, reuse, waste reduction and proper disposal. Plymouth Township has enthusiastically embraced recycling since Act 101 was adopted and before. We own our sanitation trucks and equipment, and use municipal staff for collection and disposal. We can respond quickly to environmental mandates and resident needs.

Plymouth Township focuses and prides itself on tailoring multiple recycling programs that fit the needs of the community it serves. All of these recycling services, with the exception of Electronics Collection drop-off at our facility, are performed by Township employees. In 2014 the Township started a new pick-up program for televisions and large electronics on every third Wednesday of the month. This has proved to be a huge success moving into 2015 for Plymouth Township. Despite the difficulty state-wide in disposing of covered devices, especially tube televisions and monitors, Plymouth Township has successfully continued to recycle these items while others are still searching for a way to dispose of them. When other municipalities are cutting programs to save money, Plymouth Township continues to embrace the benefits of recycling. New to our proper material disposal efforts in 2015 is a Prescription Drug take back program, which is successfully managed by our fantastic police department and Montgomery County.

The following are highlights from our 2015 recycling efforts and the incredible cost savings that have been achieved through recycling.

2015 consistency and recycling success continues in Plymouth Township. Again through education in the newsletter, cable access channel and word of mouth, all of our recycling programs continued to gain popularity among our residents. Plymouth Township’s recycling program is often used as a model for other municipalities to follow. In 2015 the Single Stream recycle program collected 1,458 tons. Just a few years ago, this tonnage only topped out at 941 tons.
At the same time in 2015 Plymouth Township continued to have a separate collection for yard waste. This yard waste is collected every Wednesday curbside throughout the year. In 2015 Public Works Sanitation Dept. collected 1,170 ton of yard waste curbside. In years past, much of this material was discarded in the trash. This diversion is a reduction of $53 per ton, saving the Township $62,010.00 in potential trash disposal fees. This program is in addition to our fall curbside leaf collection totaling 1,734 tons and our 6-week spring and 6-week fall branch and chip program where we collected another 93 tons. All of this material is processed at our public works yard with our tub grinder that we share with Whitemarsh Township. This mulch is then given back to our residents for pick up at the Township building at any time.

Also, the Township, for a $30 delivery charge, will deliver our processed mulch, up to 5 yards, to any Plymouth Township resident. In 2015, 155 deliveries totaling 695 yards of mulch were given back to the residents of Plymouth Township. In addition, hundreds of yards were picked up by residents at our community mulch pile.

We also have a white goods appliance and metal collection once a month. This collection added another 20 tons of material that was diverted from entering the trash stream.

Our Electronics Recycling Program is gaining in popularity. Residents can simply drop-off all e-waste, rechargeable batteries, small appliances, wire, plastic, televisions, etc. to the Township for proper recycling, thus diverting this material from entering the trash stream. This e-waste is processed by an outside agency, Magnum Computer Recycling at no cost for most electronic items with the exception of tube televisions (.18 per pound). In 2015, the Township collected 27 tons of electronics from residents.
Our new Drug take-back program, managed by our Police Department, offers an outlet for residents to properly dispose of prescription medicine so it doesn’t find its way into the wrong hands or find its way into the sanitary sewer treatment plant. Residents can simply drop-off any unused or expired medicine at our Township building drug box, open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Since the beginning of the program in April of 2014 the program has collected and properly disposed of 565.27 pounds of unused or expired medicine, 304 pounds was collected in 2015.

All of the many recycling programs and information always appear in our Township newsletter, Web site and cable access channel. Residents are extremely pleased with the programs not only for the cost savings but also for the obvious environmental impact. All of this data is updated and goals stated in our newsletter annually so residents can follow their tremendous progress.

Ongoing and continuing improvements of our existing recycling programs and the implementation of our many new recycling programs over the last few years has resulted in a significant reduction in our trash disposal costs from 2007 to 2015. In 2007 our trash disposal costs were a staggering $519,783.00. In 2008 those costs were only $352,860 largely because of single stream recycling, the inception of the Yard Waste Program and our terrific curbside leaf collection. In 2015 trash disposal costs dropped dramatically again to $246,000, a 53% decrease ($273,783.00) in disposal costs since 2007.

In 2015, Plymouth Township, through all of our programs, collected a total of 9,153 tons of solid waste. 4,502 tons of this solid waste (49.2%) is renewed and reused as recycled material. We will continue to update residents on their progress, adjust and change with the times for the better, and carry on to provide ways that recycling can be expanded and improved upon.

Plymouth Township’s waste collection always seeks to minimize the amount of material landfilled: from the traditional recycled materials (newspaper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum etc.) to the extensive amount of organic waste that is composted and redistributed as leaf mulch to the household trash that is recycled into energy at the local waste to energy plant. The trash to steam plant landfills roughly 1/3 less the volume as ash than trash that is buried at a landfill.

We seek to protect the global environment by conserving natural resources, using less energy, reducing greenhouse gases and minimizing air and water pollution. By promoting reduction and reuse we can avoid the more environmentally intense production of materials from “virgin” resources.