ACT 101


Act of July 1988


Act 101 mandates recycling in Pennsylvania`s larger municipalities, requires counties to develop municipal waste management plans, and provides for grants to offset expenses.

The goals of the Act are to reduce Pennsylvania`s municipal waste generation; recycle at least 25% of waste generated; procure and use recycled and recyclable materials in state governmental agencies; and educate the public as to the benefits of recycling and waste reduction.

The benefits of recycling and waste reduction include reduced pollution risks; conservation of natural resources, energy and landfill space; and reduced disposal costs.


Municipalities with populations of at least 10,000 had to implement curbside recycling programs by September 26, 1990. Municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 10,000 and more than 300 persons per square mile had to implement curbside programs by September 26, 1991. Grants are available to all municipalities to establish recycling programs. All disposal facilities provide recycling drop-off centers.

Mandated municipalities collect at last 3 of the following materials: clear glass; colored glass; plastics; aluminum; steel and bimetallic cans; high grade office paper; corrugated paper and newsprint.

Commercial, municipal and institutional establishments within a mandated municipality are required to recycle aluminum, high-grade office paper and corrugated paper in addition to other materials chosen by the municipality.


Mandated municipalities are required to separate leaf waste from other municipal wastes. Since September 26, 1990, no waste disposal facility accepts shipments comprised primarily of leaf wastes unless a separate composting facility has been provided.


The Act makes it illegal to discard automotive and other lead acid batteries. These batteries must be recycled through (1) an automotive battery retailer or wholesaler, (2) a secondary lead smelter permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or (3) a collection or recycling facility authorized to accept them. In both retail and wholesale outlets, customers must be able to recycle at least the same number of used batteries as the number of new ones purchased.


Household hazardous waste (HHW) is comprised of household products that are either reactive when mixed with other products, corrosive, flammable, or poisonous. The Act encourages HHW collection programs to ensure recycling or safe disposal of these wastes, and requires program sponsors to register with DEP.


Pennsylvania citizens are encouraged to help reduce waste by purchasing products that are durable, repairable, recycled, recyclable and/or have minimal packaging, and to find other uses for surplus goods instead of throwing them away.

Manufacturers are encouraged to design their products with recycling in mind and assess their processes to minimize discards.


The Act requires counties to develop formal plans for managing municipal wastes. Plans are subject to municipal ratification and DEP approval. Each county must ensure 10 years of available disposal capacity and establish a post-closure care trust fund for landfills.

Counties may (1) require licensing for collecting and transporting municipal waste and (2) adopt ordinances and regulations for recycling and source separation, provided they do not interfere with implementation of required recycling programs.


Act 101 increases environmental protection measures for municipal waste management facilities. These measures include the following:


The Act imposes a $2per-ton fee on municipal waste entering landfills and resource recovery facilities. The fee is in effect until October 26, 1998.


Monies generated by the Recycling Fee are deposited in the Act 101 Recycling Fund, which is allocated as follows:


PLANNING GRANTS: Counties are reimbursed for 80% of approved costs to prepare municipal waste management plans and related studies.

RECYCLING GRANTS: Counties and municipalities are reimbursed for 90% of approved costs to establish municipal recycling programs. Municipalities defined as financially distressed under Act 47 of 1987 may receive funding for 100% of approved costs.

RECYCLING COORDINATOR GRANTS: Counties are reimbursed up to 50% of approved salary and expenses for a county recycling coordinator.

RECYCLING PERFORMANCE GRANTS: Municipalities are awarded these grants for their recycling programs. The amount of the grant is based on type and weight of materials recycled and on the percentage of recyclables diverted from landfilling and incineration.

HOST MUNICIPALITY INSPECTOR GRANTS: A host municipality is awarded 50% of the approved costs of employing a certified host municipality inspector for landfills and resource recovery facilities. Training of inspectors is also available under this grant program.

INDEPENDENT PERMIT APPLICATION REVIEW GRANTS: A municipality may be reimbursed up to $10,000 for each review by a professional engineer of a waste management facility`s permit application.

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION AND DISPOSAL GRANTS: Municipalities and counties that establish HHW collection programs may be reimbursed up to 50% of approved costs for collection programs. This cannot exceed $100,000.

*Grants are available to Pennsylvania municipalities only

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Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management
Division of Waste Minimization and Planning
Recycling and Markets Section
PO Box 8472
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472

Hotline Number in Pennsylvania only: 800-346-4242

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