Tri-County Industries' Rural Recycling Program

12/1/2015

It happens all the time: tossing an aluminum can in a garbage can. Putting paper junk mail in the trash. Throwing out old leftovers in a plastic to-go container. Remembering to recycle requires a little extra effort. But for those living in rural areas, it's even harder — recycling programs may not even exist.

The Problem:
Traditionally, rural areas have lacked recycling programs because of low population density. Residents have been responsible for collecting and dropping off their own recyclables at a collection center, but participation rates were low because of the inconvenience.

Tri-County Industries' Solution:
Tri-County Industries recognized the opportunity to improve this situation and offer recycling solutions in rural areas of Pennsylvania including Crawford, Lawrence and Mercer Counties. This program sets a new standard for rural recycling that has successfully demonstrated that rural recycling can be convenient, cost effective, and sustainable.

We made it simple: Each participating household is provided with a 95 gallon wheeled container in which all types of recyclable materials can be collected. The container is easily moved to the edge of the resident's driveway for curbside collection. Because of the size of these containers, pickup service can be less frequent to reduce costs, while still being efficient and sanitary. After collection by Tri-County Industries, recyclables are screened for contaminants and then sorted by type.

The Results:
The result is a clean, convenient, efficient, and reliable recycling program with high participation rates for rural citizens with no additional costs to them or their local government agencies. More than 20 million pounds of recyclable materials were collected in the past year by this project. These materials would otherwise have ended up in landfills.

This program has also allowed us to hire five new staff members. Our state-of-the-art collection vehicles feature a robotic arm which automatically lifts the recyclable collection container, reducing the risk of injury for our drivers.

Residents' participation in the program is crucial to the success of this initiative, and due to the ease and convenience of the service, we have been able to provide a much needed solution for recycling in rural areas.