Select a Language

Reading Public



Learn about Reducing Waste & Recycling

In addition to a handling the day-to-day operations of trash and recycling, Public Works also works to educate the community about the benefits of reducing waste and increasing recycling. From elementary education to PSA’s, our educational efforts all serve to help make Reading a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous place to live and work. Keep an eye out for more materials as we update our website.

For Everyone

Would you like to educate your classroom, club, church, business, apartment building, youth group, or other group about waste reduction and recycling? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a visit to your group by our Education & Outreach Coordinator. Below is some information for children & youth, educators, colleges, residents, and businesses.

Trash and recycling may not be the most glamorous or talked-about topics, but they have a very real impact on your quality of life and the life you leave for your children. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that landfills, where you send your garbage, are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. Methane is greenhouse gas and is far more potent than carbon dioxide in affecting the climate. Plus, garbage reduces public health by attracting pests like rodents and mosquitoes – some of which carry disease. 


Recycling is generally cheaper and far better for you, your children, and the community – when you recycle something it gets turned into new products, saving valuable natural resources. Take a moment to learn how you can do a better job of dealing with your trash and recycling:

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Waste

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Know your Three R’s! Reducing is most effective, reusing most fun, and recycling most convenient.

2. Stop using disposables – Throw-away plates, bottles, bags, utensils, cups, and more are a major source of trash in the City of Reading.

3. Think about the packaging – When you buy things they come in packaging. Think about how much and whether or not the packaging is recyclable.

4. Share – Do you really need that tool you use once a year? Sharing with others means we all need to own less. It’s good for the planet and good for your budget.

5. Learn – Many people know little about trash and recycling, or why it is important to think about them. For example, did you know the average person makes almost 4.5 pounds of waste per day? That’s over 1,600 pounds per year!


Reducing litter and cleaning up your community are important ways to help make Reading a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous city.  When people litter, someone has to clean it up – and it gets expensive! Litter makes the city less attractive to businesses that provide jobs to the community. It also reduces property values and contributes to crime. Learn to be a steward in your community:

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Litter

1.     Reduce your waste - less stuff means less litter

2.     Take responsibility – You bought it, you used it, now you throw it away! Don’t make your trash someone else’s problem.

3.     Use trash and recycling containers with secure lids - without a lid, high winds can blow lightweight items right out of your bins. Don’t overstuff either!

4.     Say something – when see your friends and family litter ask them to stop and tell them why you care. If you say nothing you are actually telling them that littering is okay.

5.     Cleanup your neighborhood – when people see a littered street they are more likely to litter. Break the cycle.

Littering PSA: The South of Penn community group created a short video asking people not to litter:

For Children, Youth, & Educators

Kids are the future and they love to recycle! Take advantage of these resources in your classroom:

Pathfinder: find-a-book guide courtesy of the Reading Public Library. 
These books are appropriate for young children, available at RPL, 
and cover topics like recycling, reuse and upcycling, and more.

·       Games & Activities

o   Garbage Dreams (PBS)

o   Recycle City (EPA)

o   Recycle Roundup (National Geographic)

o   Super Sorter (Keep America Beautiful & The Ad Council)

·       Lesson Plans

o   Closing the Loop

o   Life of a Can

o   Waste in Place

·       Local Learning Opportunities

o   Cougle’s Recycling Inc.: Tours & Education

o   J.P.  Mascaro: Landfill & Recycling Facility Tours

·       Recycling Competitions:

o   PepsiCo Recycle Rally

o   Recycle Bowl

For College Campuses

Colleges often lead the way in increasing sustainable practices, like recycling and waste reduction, in their communities. If you would like to improve recycling on your campus contact to discuss ways we can help.

·       College & University Recycling Coalition

·       Internships, Research & Volunteering: contact us for opportunities!

·       Local Learning Opportunities

o   Cougle’s Recycling Inc.: Tours & Education

o   J.P.  Mascaro: Landfill & Recycling Facility Tours

·       Recycling Competitions:

o   PepsiCo Recycling

o   Recycle Mania

For Businesses

Business, industry, and offices account for about two-thirds all of waste generated in the United States. Learn how you can reduce your waste and contribute to a healthy, cleaner, and more prosperous Reading.

·       Grocery Rigid Plastics: Recycling Program

·       Plastic Bags: WRAP Recycling Program