A Comparative Analysis of Recycling in Rural and Urban Counties in Pennsylvania

Authors: Jennifer Haney*, Bloomsburg University, John Bodenman*, Bloomsburg University
Topics: Environment
Keywords: Recycling, rural, Pennsylvania
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Unique and growing challenges are facing recycling in rural communities across the nation. An in-depth study of recycling programs in counties across Pennsylvania is important because the turbulent nature of changing market conditions is further increasing a rural-urban divide. Many rural counties simply cannot keep up with the rising costs associated with maintaining recycling programs citing the following concerns: challenges in markets and cost of transportation, decreasing grant availability, recyclable material contamination and plunge in material values, increased volume of waste disposal, lack of education, and reallocation of state funds, and increasingly, the lack of local domestic markets for recyclable materials and limited access to recycling processors. This poster outlines a number of these challenges and their associated impacts on residential programs in urban and rural counties in Pennsylvania, with a particular focus on the geographic extent and availability of recycling programs and services offered to residents as well as modifications to recycling programs and services to residents over time and factors responsible for such changes. Our findings support for legislators to review the current state of recycling and waste management programs in rural counties in Pennsylvania and demonstrate the need for additional resources, financial and other, in implementing successful waste management programs—an important step toward sustaining the recycling industry and the jobs it provides in the state of Pennsylvania.

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