The South Hills has gotten serious about recycling.
With charts, bar graphs and line graphs, the tonnage of materials recycled is being measured in the 10 South Hills communities of Mt. Lebanon, Scott, Peters, Dormont, Upper St. Clair, Brentwood, Pleasant Hills, Baldwin, South Park and Jefferson Hills.
In each municipality, the goal is to increase the amount of recycling done in 2011 compared with the tonnage recycled in 2010, said Tom Kelley, public works director for Mt. Lebanon. Recycled items include all cans, plastics, crushed cardboard, glass and paper.
When the contest, which began in January, concludes at the end of the year, trophies will be given to all communities whose recycling tonnages exceed their 2010 baseline levels; the community with the largest percentage increase in recycling tonnage over 2010; and the community with the greatest tonnage of recycled materials.
The numbers Mr. Kelley compiled at the end of May show Mt. Lebanon leading with the most tons collected above base year, with 120.64 more tons collected than in 2010. South Park is close behind in second with 116.64 more tons collected.
South Park is winning the percentage contest so far, with 75 percent more recycled this year compared with last year. Mt. Lebanon, with 978 tons, has the most tons collected five months into the competition.
In Mt. Lebanon, at least, recycling has been a priority for several years. When Mr. Kelley started his job as public works director six years ago, he said his first phone call was an inquiry about recycling.
"We certainly have a lot of residents who view themselves as being very green, and want to be at the top of their recycling game; and they expect the municipality to help them get there," he said.
The community began single stream recycling in 2009 and saw its recycling tonnage numbers increase dramatically. The next logical step, suggested by the Waste Reduction Committee of the Mt. Lebanon Environmental Community Action Team was to challenge nearby communities to a recycling competition, Mr. Kelley said.
"It's fun," Mr. Kelley said. "It's a fun thing to do. It's a way of getting beyond our community, seeing what other communities are doing. It's for the good of the recycling cause."
The contest will continue through the end of the year, Mr. Kelley said.
His advice to communities was to get the information about the contest out to as many residents as possible.
And his advice to residents: "Put as much as you can out there at the curb."
Kaitlynn Riely: email@example.com or 412-263-1707.