Highland Park. Photo by Erika Gidley.

Parks throughout Pittsburgh will see more recycling thanks to a pilot program expansion.

Mayor Bill Peduto, along with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works (DPW) and Councilman Dan Gilman, recently announced the completed deployment of 35 new recycling bins in eight public parks throughout the city. The expansion adds more bins to larger parks like Schenley, Frick, Highland and Mellon, and provides ones to smaller parks that lacked any recycling containers.

The new bins bring the total number of city park recycling receptacles to around 50.

DPW director Mike Gable says that with around 160 park facilities in the city, the expansion will allow them to gauge how many recycling bins are necessary for busier sites like Highland Park.

“That area is super active, especially through the summer,” says Gable, who cites its heavily used shelters, pool and dog park, as well as the high attendance during the annual jazz concert series hosted at its scenic reservoir.

The program started last May when the DPW deployed recycling bins all over the East End, including six in Mellon Park and five in Frick Park. Swisshelm Park, Davis Park, East Hills Park, Wightman Park and Baxter Park each received one bin.

In September 2016, 18 new recycling bins were placed at various locations in Schenley Park, including the Oval, Junction Hollow Field and at every park shelter available for rental. The bins were made possible by a grant from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Keep America Beautiful public park recycling grant program, which has awarded more than 3,400 recycling containers to Keep America Beautiful affiliates, local governments and other community organizations across 28 states.

Gilman says the expansion has made a difference in keeping the parks clean and strengthening citywide recycling efforts.

“We’ve seen strong usage in our parks, especially the ones in my district in the East End where people were throwing glass and cans in the garbage,” says Gilman, who represents the Shadyside, Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze neighborhoods.

He says that they plan to explore more grant opportunities so they further expand the program next year.

“Our plan is to make sure there isn’t a park in Pittsburgh without a recycling container,” says Gilman, adding that their long-term goal is to pair every public garbage can with a recycling container. “We have to make sure we’re making recycling as easy as possible for everyone.”

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated...