Study reveals Philadelphia’s flagging interest in recycling

A study released Friday by the non-profit Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council (GPCRC) warns that, despite the establishment of comprehensive recycling programs, the region’s trash output is growing. Titled The State of Commercial Solid Waste in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the report cites the city’s businesses and institutions as the chief sources (58 percent) of this growing waste stream.

Using data obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the GPCRC reports the combined residential and commercial trash disposal totals for 1995 were approximately 2.9 million tons. By 2003, that figure had increased by 30 percent to 3.9 million tons.

The study goes on to say that approximately 76 percent of the region’s bottles and cans, 75 percent of the paper and 90 percent of organics that could have been recycled or composted were instead landfilled or incinerated. “Those kinds of numbers mean that area businesses are throwing away, on average, nearly $70 million a year in savings they could realize through recycling,” said study author and GPCRC executive director David Biddle.

More information about the study is available at