Environmental Services – Zero Waste

Welcome to Zero Waste - Panoramic Photo of the City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Journey to Zero Waste 

One of the greenest and most visible ways to manage materials sustainability is to implement the tactics of Zero Waste. 

The City of Pittsburgh is working to increase its diversion and strive for Zero Waste by 2030. In an effort to accomplish this goal, it will take city-wide participation from all sectors to eliminate products that are ‘’destined for landfill.’’ The production and disposal of materials result in broad environmental and social impacts associated with obtaining raw materials, manufacturing and emissions from landfills. 

The Zero Waste International Alliance defines zero waste as the diversion of at least 90% of waste from landfills or incineration. With help from 100 Resilient Cities, the City of Pittsburgh has developed a Roadmap to Zero Waste, laying out a strategic plan to achieve this 90% diversion rate city-wide by 2030. 

Waste Management Hierchy Graph


How Will We Get There?

  • Reducing waste in commercial establishments 
  • Reducing waste at events
  • Engaging Pittsburgh's residents, businesses, and institutions in Zero Waste
  • Exploring new ways to reduce and divert waste

All sectors have the opportunity to practice waste avoidance, reduce single-use plastics, and compost with some dedication and practice. The City of Pittsburgh encourages everyone to find viable ways to eliminate waste going in and out of their homes, schools, institutions, and facilities.


Zero Waste Resources

Below are several vendors, consultants, and establishments that can help you reduce your waste!

Refuse & Reduce Paper (junk mail, phonebooks, magazines)

Take back control of your mailbox!

  • Catalog Choice
    Catalog Choice is a non-profit organization that works on your behalf to process opt-out requests for more than 10,000 catalog/junk mail titles.
  • DMA Choice
    The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is a member organization of direct mailers. The DMAChoice is an online tool for consumers to manage their mail preferences and to opt-out of unwanted junk mail.
  • is the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry's website for consumers to opt-in/opt-out of firm offers for credit and insurance.
  • Paper Retriever
    Paper Retriever, hosted by Royal Oak, is a free revenue-generating service that pays you based on volume and market to host collection bins on your property, benefitting both the environment and your organization.
  • Yellow Pages Opt-Out
    The National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-Out site allows residents to opt-out of the delivery of local directory publications.

Reduce Packaging, Buy in Bulk

Cut down on packaging by avoiding individually wrapped and single-use items. Invest in re-usable shopping bags or totes to use when you shop. Local stores that promote bulk purchasing:

  • East End Food Co-op
    Natural and organic food market that focuses on fresh, local, and organic foods with many bulk and bring-your-own-container purchasing options.
  • Whole Foods
    Food store that concentrates on natural and organic foods with some bulk and bring-your-own-container purchasing options.
  • Giant Eagle – Market District Locations
    Local grocery chain with an increasing number of bulk purchasing options
  • Costco
    Wholesale warehouse that focuses exclusively on bulk purchases.

Reduce & Conserve Energy

  • Green Mountain Energy
    Works with your current energy supplier to offer clean, renewable energy service plans.
  • Zero Fossil Energy Outfitters
    An event production company that employs sustainable equipment and practices. Includes power distribution, sound, lighting, staging, and educational interactives, all powered by renewable energy generators.


  • Center for Creative Reuse
    Nonprofit art supply shop that sells donated used art and craft supplies and hosts programming about the benefits of reuse.
  • Construction Junction
    Nonprofit that sells donated building materials and furniture and coordinates deconstruction efforts to salvage usable items for unoccupied properties. Pick-up and drop-off services available.
  • Reuse Fest
    Yearly festival hosted by Pennsylvania Resources Council to donate gently usedmaterials – from clothing to building materials to dog beds – to local nonprofits. Check website for full list of accepted items.

Rot / Compost

Under City code 619, residents are allowed to compost in their backyards. Many retailers sell compost bins in various sizes. If backyard composting isn’t feasible, below are vendors offering commercial options for business and/or alternative options for residents.

  • AgRecycle – (412) 242-7645
    Local industrial composter, ideal for commercial businesses and event hauling.
  • Pennsylvania Resources Council
    PRC hosts backyard composting workshops seasonally. Each workshop includes a free compost bin.
  • Shadyside Worms
    Curbside vermicompost exchange that services the East End, from the Strip District to Wilkinsburg.
  • Worm Return
    Provides hauling and bin services for small-medium business and organizations as well as consulting and live worms for vermicomposting to those interested in composting their waste
  • Zero Waste Wrangler
    Provides hauling and bin services for small-medium business and organizations interested in composting their waste.

Hard to Recycle

A full list of event-related vendors and contractors can be found in the Sustainable Events Guide. Note: The listing of a business, nonprofit, or establishment does not signify endorsement by the City of Pittsburgh. If you’d like to see your business or group listed here, please contact Environmental Services at (412) 255-2631.