Frequently Asked Questions


 What are your operating hours?

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Transfer Station (Refuse)
Monday - Saturday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Recycling Drop Off Containers Outside Authority's Gates

Observed Holidays
New Year's Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Recycling collection may be delayed during the holidays.  Please check our current newsletter for a list of changes in collection.

 What do I do with paint?

Latex Paint
Latex paint, when dry, may be disposed of in your regular trash. If you are simply overwhelmed with latex paint, the Authority's Transfer Station is allowed to accept up to 5 gallons of latex paint per person per day. There is a $25.00 minimum charge for this service. Please note that the Authority will not accept latex paint at our Household Hazardous Waste events.

Oil Based Paint
Oil based paint, when dry, may be disposed of in your regular trash. The Recycling & Refuse Authority's Transfer Station will not accept oil based paint in liquid form. If you are simply overwhelmed with oil based paint, the Authority holds a Household Hazardous Waste Collection each spring. The Authority accepts oil based paint at this event. 

Tips to Dry Paint
Get a sturdy cardboard box and fill with clay-based kitty litter, pour the paint onto the kitty litter and let dry. Then dispose of this dried mixture with your trash. Some local hardware and paint stores carry a paint solidifier. Simply purchase, follow directions and when paint is dried, put out for trash collection.

 Where can I recycle my computer and monitor?

The Recycling & Refuse Authority has opened a permanent collection site for electronics. Just stop by our facility and drop your old electronics off for free. Not all electronics are accepted for recycling.  Check out our Electronics Recycling Guide for details on the program.

Follow the signs to the SCALES for drop off directions.

 Can I recycle my Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL's)?

The Recycling & Refuse Authority has a free CFL recycling program in place. Just drop the bulbs off at our office. However, we will only accept the unbroken, compact bulbs (the ones that look like ice cream cones). If you have larger bulbs to recycle (long fluorescent tubes), we will accept them at our annual HHW Collection Event.

State College Borough also accepts CFL bulbs from their residents. Just drop them off at the Borough office located at 243 Allen Street or at their service facility located at 330 South Osmond Street.

If you choose to dispose of your old CFL’s, make sure to seal the bulb in two plastic bags before throwing it in the trash. CFL’s do contain a very small amount of mercury which may be released in the landfills and contribute to water and air pollution.

 Can I recycle empty, plastic pill/medication bottles?

Yes!  Our rule of thumb is that we accept plastic bottles, jugs and jars in our recycling program.  Plastic pill/medication bottles can be placed in curbside recycling bins or dropped off at any of our local recycling containers and placed in the "Plastic" compartment.

 Can I recycle pizza boxes?

Yes, pizza boxes may be recycled if they are free of food and grease.  If the bottom is food contaminated, please rip off the top and recycle the non-contaminated cardboard with corrugated cardboard and dispose of the food contaminated cardboard.

 What can I do with an old smoke detector?

Check the smoke detector to see if there is information on where to mail or take back.  You can follow the directions on the smoke detector or you may also dispose of the smoke detector in your regular trash.  Smoke detectors cannot be recycled and are not accepted at local Household Hazardous Waste Collection events.  Sending back to manufacturer or disposal are the only two options for smoke detectors.

 My plastic cup has the recycling symbol on it, so why can’t I recycle it?

If you look at many plastic items, you will inevitably see the recycling arrows with a number in the middle. The common conception is if a plastic item has the recycling arrows, it CAN be recycled; that is NOT true. While many items with the recycling arrows CAN be recycled, many CANNOT. The recycling arrows/numbers on plastic were put there to show what type of polymers make up that particular plastic, and it is not an indication of recyclability. A good tip in our Centre County Recycling Program for recycling plastics is: if you have a plastic item that is a BOTTLE, JUG or JAR, regardless of the recycling arrows and number, that BOTTLE, JUG or JAR can be recycled.

All plastic bottles, jugs and jars can be recycled either curbside, at one of our many recycling drop-off containers across the county, at special events in the bins labeled for plastic bottles, jugs and jars or in any recycling bin or container in Centre County labeled for plastic bottles, jugs and jars. Recycling the correct commodities helps to keep our program running efficient and cost effective. 

 Do you offer a paper shredding service?

Yes.  We do offer a paper shredding service in our Recycling Processing Facility.  The cost is $25.00 for up to 500 pounds of paper.  If you have over 500 pounds of paper, please call for the price.  To request an appointment, call 814-238-7005.

 Do you offer your recycling flyers in other languages?

Yes, we offer our recycling flyers in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.  Click here to see the options.

 How do I properly dispose of needles/sharps?

Proper Disposal of Needles/Sharps in Four Simple Steps

You can help prevent injury, illness, and pollution by following some simple steps when disposing of these wastes in your household trash.

1. Place all sharps in a puncture-resistant, hard plastic or metal container. An empty detergent bottle with a screw-on cap or an empty coffee can will do.

2. Close the container with its original lid and secure with heavy duty tape.  Write the word "SHARPS" visibly on the container.

3. Place the tightly sealed container in a paper bag and discard it with your household trash. Do not place it with your recyclables.

4. Place non-sharp home health care wastes in a doubled, securely fastened, opaque plastic trash bag before putting them in your garbage can with other wastes.

 Can I recycle phone books, brown paper bags & catalogs?

Yes. Phone books, brown paper bags and catalogs can be recycled with all other mixed paper.

 Why don't we recycle margarine containers and other plastic tubs?

We do.  There are six locations to recycle your yogurt containers, margarine containers and other miscellaneous plastics.

 I have a bunch of old books. Can I recycle them?

Yes. Soft cover books go as they are but must be bundled for curbside pickup with all other mixed paper.

Hard back books can be recycled after the front and back covers are removed (the covers cannot be recycled). Then they are handled just like soft cover books. If you do not have curbside service, the books may be placed in one of our drop-off bins labeled for mixed paper.

 What can I do with auto waste, including tires?

Please visit our automotive waste page for details on recycling oil, tires and more!

 Can I recycle plastic bags and film?

Most definitely.  Many of the major retail stores and grocers provide bins for their customers to recycle their plastic grocery bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags and overwrap.  A complete list of acceptable plastic and film can be found at A Bag's Life.

 Should I bag my paper for recycling?

If you are a curbside customer, yes. You must bag or tie your paper so it will not get wet or fly away.

If you use the drop-off boxes around town or the blue carts, there is no need to bag your paper. However, due to the nature of shredded paper, it should be bagged in all cases.

 Can I recycle my microwave?

Yes. Residents may bring microwaves to the Transfer Station during normal operating hours and place in the location designated for Scrap Metal.  Follow the signs to the SCALES for drop off directions.

 What should I do with batteries?

Alkaline batteries, used mostly in toys and flashlights, can be thrown away with your regular trash.

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) can be recycled at our office. 

Lead Acid, (automotive, motorcycle, etc.) should be taken to any store that sells lead acid batteries. If you are purchasing a new lead acid battery, most places give a discount off the purchase of the new battery when you bring the old one in.

 What if the curbside driver missed my bin?

Sometimes missed collections are the result of bad weather, i.e. snow. However, the most common cause of missing your recyclables is that the bin is placed at the curb too late in the morning. Our curbside workers are hard at work very early in the morning. So please have your bin at the curb before 7:00 am.

It is also a good idea to write your address on your curbside bin. This will help on extra windy days.

 Can I recycle my single-use coffee pod?

Yes, but only if you separate the pod components.  Most single-use coffee pods consist of a combination of plastic, aluminum, organic material (coffee grounds) and a paper filter. While all said items can be easily recycled separately, the pod as a whole cannot be recycled.

Once disassembled, the plastic pod may be placed with miscellaneous plastic.

 What should I do with old chemicals?

The Authority offers a yearly Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event to properly dispose of your old chemicals. Our 2024 event will be offered in April and information regarding the yearly event will be posted on our homepage.

 How do I properly manage my ashes?

If you live in State College Borough, you may place cold ashes in your organics cart. 

The following information regarding ashes comes from the Halifax Regional Municipality

Ashes should be stored in a covered metal container placed outside and away from your home and any other combustibles. The only time ashes are safe is when they are completely extinguished. This ensures there is no heat, no sparks and not a single ember. When it comes to safe ash removal, the danger is in the small bits of embers mixed and buried within the ashes. These buried hot embers can stay dormant for several days because the ash acts as an insulator prolonging the embers from fully burning out.

Similar to any smoldering fire, sometimes all these embers need to cause a fire is a little bit of oxygen (which is readily available in the air). Even when the ashes are disposed of in a proper container - metal can with a tight fitting lid, elevated bottom and placed on a non-combustible surface - safe removal is not yet complete.

A fire hazard still remains if the ashes are removed from this safe container before all embers are completely extinguished. There is no "set time" for determining complete distinguishment as it depends on several variables which include size of embers, type of wood burned, type of ash can used, etc. If you are unsure, please err or the side of caution and leave the ashes in their safe container for a few days longer. Many wood burners utilize a "two" ash can rotation system as an extra precaution.

When properly disposing of ashes, follow the procedures above and make sure ashes are in a bag before placing in refuse container.

 How do I dispose of used cooking oil?

For fats that solidify, let them do so, then pitch them in your regular trash. Chill grease in the fridge if you need to get it to harden up. For ones that don't solidify, pour them into a seal-able, non-recyclable container, and throw the whole container away with your regular trash.