City of Pittsburgh to Launch Phase 2 of Blue Recycling Bin Distribution in May

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 16, 2021) Mayor William Peduto today announced a May launch of the second phase of the Department of Public Works Environmental Services’ distribution of 32-gallon blue curbside recycling bins to City residents as part of a transition away from a bag-based recycling program into a bin-based collection method.

Over a two-year period, the City of Pittsburgh is distributing over 100,000 blue recycling bins to all single family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings with five or fewer units with a goal of becoming BAG FREE BY ’23.

The Blue Bin Rollout program, which began in Fall 2020, has delivered bins to 5,500 residents of East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Highland Park and Lower Polish Hill. The second and third phases, taking place in Spring and Summer 2021, will serve approximately 50,000 homes in remaining central and eastern neighborhoods. Residents of southern, western and northern neighborhoods will receive bins in 2022.

“The City of Pittsburgh is now offering residents a method that makes it easy for people to create the habit of single-stream recycling, which allows residents to combine all recyclable materials in one container,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Blue bins offer many advantages such as saving on costs for both residents and the City, providing high-value recyclables to the circular economy and cutting contamination.”

Prior to receiving the new recycling bins, residents will receive notification via U.S. Mail announcing when to anticipate the arrival of their new blue curbside recycling containers, along with information on what can and cannot be placed in the bin.

Rehrig Pacific Company – which is manufacturing the bins in Pennsylvania – will deliver a 32-gallon blue recycling bin with tight-fitting lid to each designated residence. Each bin will come with an information packet describing its proper use, and each bin will be scanned and linked to a specific address. Up to two 18-gallon totes are available as an alternative for medical exemption. Qualifying individuals must contact 311 City Response Center to request totes.

When using the blue bins, residents must loosely place recyclables in the bins without plastic bags, which can jam up equipment at processing facilities. Residents can deposit into the bins glass and plastic bottles, jugs and jars (lids removed), aluminum and steel cans, and mixed paper. Clean cardboard must be flattened, boxed and placed next to the bin.

“Education is a key component of successfully transitioning to the bag-free collection system, and we’re excited to offer a variety of opportunities for residents to learn more about what goes in the bin and what does not,” said Teresa Bradley, Pittsburgh’s recycling supervisor. “While many people think they’re recycling correctly, they’re actually tossing in plastic containers – such as yogurt tubs, K-cups and take-out clamshells – that do not belong in a blue bin.  Plus there’s the issue of how you can responsibly dispose of scrap metal, tires, yard debris, household chemicals and e-waste, so we want to make sure residents have an opportunity to learn to recycle correctly.”

Residents can learn to recycle correctly by taking part in a series of free online workshops beginning in late March. The 30-minute webinar, presented by the Pennsylvania Resources Council, will spotlight bin use as well as options for recycling hard-to-recycle materials. Individuals can register for a webinar at

Webinars will take place: Sunday, March 21, at 2:00 p.m.; Wednesday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 10, at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 24, at 10:30 a.m.; Monday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m.; and Monday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. A Spanish language webinar will take place Wednesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m.

Pop-up events taking place in the spring will provide several in-person opportunities to learn more.

Funding for the Blue Bin Rollout is provided in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, The Recycling Partnership and the Mayor's commitment to move the City toward zero waste. The distribution plan is based on multiple factors: available funds, Bureau of Environmental Services' recycling routes, recycling participation surveys and technical assistance provided by The Recycling Partnership.

“Pittsburgh is adapting to a stronger culture of waste reduction and material reuse, and blue bin recycling will make that culture change more accessible and equitable for all residents,” said Mayor Peduto. 

Residents can learn more about the Blue Bin Rollout program at 311 City Response Center, Twitter @PGH311, PGH.ST and


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office