The Issues

Ongoing advocacy efforts by the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA) maintain a vigilant watch on regulatory activities that impact the private-sector waste haulers’, recyclers’ and landfill operators’ ability to economically deliver safe and efficient solid waste management.

PWIA works closely with the National Waste and Recycling Association to advocate for common-sense regulations on the waste disposal and recycling industry.

PWIA strongly opposes efforts to increase taxes or fees on municipal and residual waste landfills. These increases raise the cost of waste disposal for Pennsylvania residents and municipal customers.  

  • New or increased tipping fees would raise the cost of services provided to Pennsylvania citizens and businesses. The safe, efficient and affordable management of waste materials is essential to public health and safety, protecting our environment, and ensuring the infrastructure that enables business and economic growth in the Commonwealth. 
  • New or increased tipping fees would reduce waste volumes resulting in a loss of revenue to host municipalities. Losses would affect recycling programs at the municipal level and the ability of municipalities to fund or finance services that are dependent on the current fees. 
  • A change in fees that reduces waste volumes would negatively impact important statewide environmental programs including the Pennsylvania Recycling Fund and the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund.  

PWIA is raising awareness about a growing epidemic of fires caused by the improper disposal of rechargeable lithium batteries in recycling containers and trash bags. PWIA wants the public to know not to put these batteries in their trash bags or recycling bins but to dispose of them safely when they are at the end of their useful life.

  • At the same time, PWIA is working with its national association, the National Waste and Recycling Association, on legislation that would return the responsibility for disposal to the battery manufacturer or seller. Passing battery stewardship legislation at the state level would offer a significant step forward in addressing the serious risks presented by rechargeable lithium batteries in the waste stream.
  • Rechargeable lithium batteries power everything from electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, e-bikes, e-cigarettes, electronic toothbrushes, and remote controls to the batteries used in electric vehicles and even children’s toys. While not all rechargeable batteries contain lithium, many longer-life batteries increasingly do.
  • Consumer information about proper disposal, including local drop-off locations, can be found at Call2Recycle. Insert your zip code to find a convenient drop-off location — such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or other similar big box stores — that accepts used rechargeable batteries.

PWIA supports maintaining the classification of landfill gas as an important Tier I resource under the AEPS and avoiding diluting the value of Tier I credits.

  • The classification of landfill gas as a Tier I resource under the AEPS is critical to the continued use of landfill gas to make renewable energy. Pennsylvania ranks third in the nation for the number of operating Landfill Gas to Energy (LFGTE) projects operating, with 39 LFGTE projects currently operating.
  • According to the U.S. EPA, 56% of landfills across the nation use landfill gas beneficially, whereas that rate jumps to over 80% in PA.
  • PA landfills reduce greenhouse gases by 7.23 million metric tons per year, which is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions that occur from 1,416,000 passenger cars.
  • Use of landfill gas turns waste into a useful product; without an LFGTE project, the landfill gas is burned in a flare with no energy or economic recovery.
  • PA Public Utility Commission recognizes landfills producing electricity as “critical infrastructure” under PA law.
  • Without participation as a Tier I resource, the continued viability of landfill gas to energy projects would be questionable and the development of future projects would be chilled. As a result, Pennsylvania would potentially lose the environmental and economic benefits from these projects. Continued support through the AEPS is critical to these projects’ ongoing viability as well as the development of and investment in future projects.

PWIA supports the use of sound science to drive legislative and regulatory policy to address concerns about radiological and emerging contaminants. Our members believe that working through the established process of regulatory oversight will ensure the most viable long-term solutions to the cleanup of emerging contaminants.

PWIA would welcome a seat at the table if changes to the Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) are considered and request that our industry be allowed to continue collecting certain electronics for recycling. For more information about PWIA’s position on CDRA, see our white paper response (PDF).

For more than three decades following the passage of Act 101, Pennsylvania’s private solid waste and recycling industry has been responsibly operating the vast majority of municipal waste landfills and recycling facilities in the state. The industry has developed safe and reliable waste disposal capacity, while fully complying with and often exceeding rigorous regulatory safeguards. Read more about our industry’s position on proposed changes to Act 101 (PDF).

Challenges with recycling have resulted in increased efforts to pass legislation at both the federal and state level advocating for extended producer responsibility (EPR). While well intentioned, many of these bills fail to address the root of the problems and also overlook existing recycling programs and their achievements. Learn more about extended producer responsibility from NWRA.