While the majority of your trash and recycling can go in your curbside service, certain items require specialty disposal. Household Hazardous Wastes like paint, antifreeze, and used oil, are dangerous if incorrectly handled. Many electronics, appliances, tires, and other items can be recycled at special recycling centers.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE
Hazardous waste includes any household items labeled: Caution, Flammable, Toxic, Corrosive, Poison, Danger, Explosive, Warning, or Volatile. Common items include paint, automobile fluids, pesticides & herbicides, household chemicals, and more. These materials should be properly disposed or recycled:
- Berks County Solid Waste Authority collection days. HHW Brochure
- Contact a Private Hauler about home pick-up
Plastic films such as grocery bags, bread bags, and clear plastic wrap on packaging cannot be recycled curbside because they easily tangle in the sorting machines. But did you know that all these items can be recycled? Many grocery stores accept plastic film near the store entrance. Click to find a location and stop throwing away all that plastic. Better yet, get a reusable bag and eliminate the waste entirely!
MEDICAL SHARPS & MEDICATIONS
Needles, syringes, and other medical sharps should not be thrown loosely into the trash. Contact your doctor to receive a special “sharps” container that you can fill with used needles and return to your doctor. If this is not an option, place sharps in a puncture-resistant container, seal lid with strong tape, and label “SHARPS.” Place in garbage.
Currently, the Berks County Solid Waste Authority, in conjunction with the Berks County District Attorney's Detectives, offers pharmaceutical collection through the Medication Drop Box program.
Items NOT Accepted:Any loose pills not in standard container or bag, syringes, thermometers, bandages, sun block, lipstick, deodorant, skin cream, and/or other like products will not be accepted.
Each drop box is securely placed and locked within a township municipal police building where it can be protected. These drop boxes resemble a United States Postal Service mailbox, whereas there is an open door to collect medications, but once dropped they cannot be retrieved. The Reading Police Department, located at City Hall (815 Washington St) maintains one such box available to the public during City Hall’s normal operating hours. For more information, visit the County’s website to find a list of current drop boxes.
ELECTRONICS, BATTERIES, & BULBS
Electronics: Residences in the City of Reading are entitled to one large electronics recycling item picked up curbside per week (see Special Collections for more info). To recycle additional items or small electronics, contact the following locations:
- Berks County Electronics Recycling Center (various items)
- iGreen Electronics (various items)
- Best Buy (various items)
- Your cell phone carrier (cell phones only)
Batteries: Regular alkaline batteries are safe to dispose in your household trash. However, rechargeable batteries can be remanufactured and should be returned to a special collection location below. Never throw lithium ion batteries from phones, cameras, laptops, and other electronics into the trash or recycling – they could start a fire!
Bulbs: Incandescent lights bulbs, LED, and halogen light bulbs are safe to dispose in your regular trash; If you would like to recycle them, some electronics stores like Home Depot have a special dropoff collection. CFL bulbs (or Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) and florescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and therefore can be harmful to the environment if they leach from landfills or end up near waterways. Please check a dropoff recycle program below:
- Batteries + Bulbs (certain batteries and bulbs)
- Call2Recycle: find a battery collection location
- Berks County Electronics Recycling Center (fluorescent & CFL)
- Batteries + Bulbs (various types)