FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the York County Solid Waste Authority (YCSWA)?
As York County's municipal solid waste authority, our job is to provide environmentally responsible, efficient and economic management of all municipal solid waste generated in York County. We were established in 1971 by the York County Commissioners (who recognized then as they do now, that the management of garbage must not only focus on its disposal, but also provide for an entity to assume the environmental responsibility associated with that management). The Authority is a public entity that operates much like a small business. Operations are not supported by York County’s tax base, but by the revenues generated separately by the Authority’s operations.
Isn't the company that picks up my garbage in charge of it?
Several haulers operate throughout the county to provide waste hauling services. The YCSWA does not collect your garbage, but we work with haulers as part of the overall "team" needed to manage it. The company that picks up your garbage is in charge of delivering it to the appropriate disposal site. If you ever have questions about your garbage pick-up service, you should call your hauler. If you have questions about garbage disposal or related topics such as recycling, call YCSWA.
Well then, what does YCSWA have to do with MY garbage?
Part of our job is to make certain that your garbage has somewhere to go after your hauler picks it up. YCSWA, in conjunction with a Municipal Waste Advisory Committee(MWAC), created a 25-year plan that assures capacity for municipal solid waste disposal through the year 2015. The plan is a working document that provides a long-range blueprint for our activities. Members of the MWAC represent a cross-section of the community and their unique perspectives helped to develop--and continue to participate in--ongoing reviews of this plan. In addition, we own the York County Resource Recovery Center in Manchester Township, the now-closed York County Sanitary Landfill in Hopewell Township, a 5-acre Yard Waste Transfer Facility in Manchester Township, and an Education Center housed at the York County Resource Recovery Center. Our 25-year plan also addresses waste water treatment sludge and septage, leaf and yard waste and medical waste--all of which are captured under the state's definition of "municipal solid waste".
What exactly happens to my garbage once my hauler picks it up?
No matter where you live in York County, your hauler delivers your garbage to the York County Resource Recovery Center. The Center is a waste-to-energy facility that burns your garbage in accordance with strict environmental standards. Your garbage is the "fuel" used to heat boilers to make steam. The steam powers a turbine and a generator to produce electricity. We no longer put your raw garbage directly into a landfill, it is now "recycled" into electricity!
How cost effective is this "waste-to-energy" facility?
The York County Resource Recovery Center is indeed cost effective and most importantly, provides York County with what we believe is the most environmentally responsible method for managing your waste. Revenue is generated through the tipping fee (cost of disposal) charged to the hauler to deliver waste to the Center, and through the sale of electricity. York County tax dollars were not used to build this facility and do not support its ongoing operations. We never lose sight of the fact that we exist to serve the public now and in the future, not to make a profit from garbage disposal.
How does the tipping fee figure into my garbage bill?
The tipping fee at the Center is $59 per ton. The impact of the cost of disposal to the average York County family of four represents about $2.27 per week. This is based on the average household (family of four) waste generation rate of about 2 tons of trash per year. The next time you pay your garbage bill, remember that the cost for disposal represents only a small portion of your overall bill.
One more thing: the tipping fee supports not only the Resource Recovery Center, but also the county's total integrated waste management system which includes recycling and waste reduction programs, public education efforts and free community programs such as the annual household hazardous waste collection program, Christmas tree, electronics, telephone book recycling and more.
How long will the Resource Recovery Center serve York County and what kind of garbage gets processed there?
The Center has been in operation since 1989 and was designed to serve York County through 2015. Plans to expand the facility were put on hold in 2009 due to a decrease in waste generation and an increase in recycling. These two factors have resulted in an extension of anticipated capacity at the facility. The Authority is currently conducting a facility life extension study to assist in determining what changes will need to be made to the facility to best provide for future capacity for York County’s waste. Upgrades to some of the facility's existing structures will likely be initiated in the near future to enhance operations and position the Authority to expedite plans for future capacity as needed.
The Center processes all of York County's combustible municipal solid waste. It also processes some household garbage from outside of the county which enables the facility to maximize revenue and keep tipping fees stable. The Center is also permitted to process some types of manufacturing waste providing it meets strict requirements for compatibility with the combustion and air pollution control technology utilized at the facility.
How does YCSWA deal with sludge and septage?
YCSWA does not operate any facilities that process sludge (biosolids) or septage. In 1992, we developed (in conjunction with a community advisory committee), and adopted a plan for the management of these materials. The plan determined that current capacity needs are being met by waste water treatment facilities already operating in York County and recommended land application as the most viable option for recycling the resulting "biosolids" (treated waste water). Click here to learn more about how biosolids are managed in York County. YCSWA monitors this process by licensing all haulers of sludge and septage and requiring them to maintain manifests that show the volume of the material hauled, where it originated and the disposal site. If you have an on-site septic system, make sure a licensed hauler pumps it and provides you with a manifest for your records. All licensed haulers have a sticker on the driver's side of their vehicle that has our name, the year and a four-digit number on it. If you have questions about sludge or septage, call us and speak to our Licensing and Compliance Specialst.
What happens to medical waste in York County?
Medical waste generated in York County is transported out of the county to other licensed medical waste management facilities. YCSWA adopted a medical waste management plan that concluded that all medical waste capacity needs are currently being met by the generators who have made their own arrangements for proper disposal. This plan was developed in cooperation with York County's medical community and will periodically be revisited to ensure that capacity continues to be available for this waste stream. YCSWA also licenses all haulers of medical waste operating in York County.
Is YCSWA doing anything with leaf and yard waste?
YCSWA encourages composting of leaf and yard waste. Individuals interested in composting can call us for free information about how to start a backyard composting program. Click the links below for information about our Yard Waste Transfer Facility and how to manage your yard waste.
What's going on with recycling? I don't have to recycle, but my neighbor in a nearby municipality does.
Approximately 99 percent of York County's population has access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs. YCSWA helps municipalities start and sustain recycling programs by writing grants to obtain funding for equipment and education efforts, working with municipal leaders to develop the right kind of program and providing ongoing support and information about recycling to municipalities and residents.
In York County, 62 out of 72 municipalities offer curbside recycling to residents. Of those, 17 are mandated by state law to recycle. Click the links below to learn more about municipal recycling. Some municipalities (especially small, rural ones) offer drop-off recycling.
York County’s recycling rate based on 2010 data is 33.5 percent. The recycling rate is the percentage of the total municipal waste stream diverted from disposal*. York County’s rate includes recyclables collected from municipal curbside programs and commercial establishments; yard waste recycling efforts; ferrous, and non-ferrous metals separated out of the ash from the York County Resource Recovery Center; and Authority drop-off and special recycling programs.
If you don't recycle where you live, ask your municipal officials to consider starting a program, or call us for information about the recycling center nearest to you.
What do I do with "hard to get rid of" things such as "white goods", motor oil, tree trimmings and old furniture?
First, check with your hauler to see if these items can be set out at your curb for pick up. Also, many municipalities conduct periodic collection programs for these materials. Find out by calling your municipal office (listed in the front of most phone books in the "government offices" section). Metal "white goods" such as stoves and refrigerators can often be recycled by a salvage company (they may even pay you). Check the yellow pages of your phone book under "recycling centers". Some materials such as tree trimmings and old (wood) furniture may be accepted at the Resource Recovery Center. As a resident of York County, you can bring waste to the Center for a small fee. As for used motor oil, YCSWA maintains a list of service stations that accept it for recycling. Click the links below for that list. Or call us or click here to obtain a current list of "hard to dispose of" waste.
What does YCSWA do to provide for the health and safety of residents and the environment?
Without question, community health and environmental preservation are a top priority. Our stake in this community transcends the management of waste--98 percent of our employees call York County home, and more than half reside less than 10 miles from our facilities.
YCSWA does more than just adhere to the strict regulations set by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). We seek ways to improve on them by tracking industry and regulatory developments, as well as advancements in technology. Our staff and facility operators consist of a team of highly skilled, experienced and technically diverse individuals. Our facility operators and key technical staff have undergone rigorous certification programs to make them the best at what they do.
DID YOU KNOW?....
- Homeowners can put paint and automobile tires out with your regular garbage. Seal and bag paint cans tightly. If paint is still in liquid form add an absorbent such as kitty litter, shredded newspaper or a commercial paint hardener. Call your hauler to be sure they are willing to pick it up. For tires, make sure tires are off the rim. Call your hauler to see if there is a limit per pick up on the number of tires you can put at your curb.
- Our public recycling drop-off center is located across the street from the Resource Recovery Center on Blackbridge Road and is open to all York County residents seven days a week during daylight hours. There is no charge to drop off your recyclables. Click here to see what materials are accepted.
- You can review a copy of our 25-year plan at our Management Center, your municipal office, or any branch of the York County Library System. Click here to view a summary.
- YCSWA public meetings are held at 6:30PM the third Wednesday of every month at the Authority’s Management Center at 2700 Blackbridge Road. You're invited!
- You can take a tour of the Resource Recovery Center simply by calling YCSWA at 717-845-1066 to schedule a visit. Daytime and evening tours are available.
- The telephone number for our 24-hour "hotline" voice mail system is: 717-854-3828. You can call this number to leave a message after business hours or if you cannot get through to our main office at 717-845-1066. Your question or concern will be addressed and your call will be returned.
- The telephone number for the PA Department of Environmental Protection's Community Relations office in Harrisburg is: 717-705-4931. You can call this number for information about PADEP and how the municipal solid waste industry is regulated.
- You can receive our community newsletter for FREE! To sign up for the newsletter, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us you want to receive our newsletter and submit your name and mailing address. Our newsletter is also posted on our web site.
- Free programs about municipal solid waste are available for presentation to your school, civic group, church or other organization. Click here to view a description of programs available, then call 717-845-1066 to schedule a program.
- You may be missing out on Free annual community programs such as household hazardous waste collection and telephone book recycling. Click the link below to view upcoming events.
- You can recycle your rechargeable batteries by taking them to a participating retailer. Click the link below for an overview of battery recycling and a list of York County businesses that accept rechargeable batteries. Dispose of alkaline batteries (AA’s, C’s, 9-volts, etc.) in your regular household garbage.