The Easy Way to Learn Allegheny County’s Recycling Rules

There is a new website allowing residents to enter their address and find area-specific information on recycling.


According to local recycling advocate Rhea Homa, residents often face a major obstacle in their attempts to reduce waste — the trap of “wish-cycling.”

The term refers to people who put non-recyclable materials into the bin because they are unclear about what can or can’t be recycled, as guidelines are specific to a given county or borough and often subject to change.

This hopeful guess is made with good intentions, but often leads to even more waste, as contamination forces entire bales of otherwise recyclable materials to go to the landfill instead. 

A new website unveiled by the Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner’s office might clear up some of the misinformation. Announced at a press conference Friday, the site allows residents to enter their address or choose their area on an interactive map, which then provides them with recycling information specific to their municipality. 

The site specifies whether or not you can recycle plastics, glass bottles, metal cans, aluminum, paper or cardboard in a given area. It also indicates whether or not curbside recycling is offered and provides a link to each borough’s own webpage for recycling guidelines.  

The site also includes tricky exceptions for those who might fall prey to wish-cycling, such as “Aluminum is only acceptable as cans — aluminum foil is not acceptable.” 

The Controller’s office is accepting feedback on the new digital tool, which can be found at

Categories: The 412