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Environmentalist: Pittsburgh Schools Don't Recycle

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- David Hughes has lived next door to Minadeo School for decades and as an environmentalist it's bothered him no end that the school apparently does not recycle.

"Unbelievable waste," he says.

So Hughes decided to document it -- and last week took a picture of recyclable cardboard in the trash dumpster -- and that's not all.

"I was shocked the other day to find bags and bags of blue bags full of recyclables," Hughes said.

Blue bags filled with recyclable plastic and glass bottled which had been sorted in the school, but thrown away with the general trash -- all to be picked up the following morning by a waste management garage truck -- which Hughes says goes only to a landfill.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan checked the dumpster himself Monday.

"We've got some cardboard in here," he said. "In the general dumpster."

Hughes says he can find no recycling policy for the district and he believes that Minadeo is not an isolated case.

"There's 56 schools in the district and if a large percentage of that trash is recyclables going to landfills, that's just unacceptable," he said. "Especially in this day and age."

KDKA contacted the district which says it does have a protocol for recycling, directing schools to have separate collection of glass, plastic, aluminum and paper. But the district conceded that says it does not have compliance checks and relies on the individual schools to comply.

And the cash-strapped district may even be depriving itself of a much needed revenue stream.

Late Monday, the district could not say whether it gets any money for it's recyclables -- while the city of Pittsburgh gets $35 per ton.

But Hughes' investigations raises more questions, if there is a district-wide policy is it being followed? As he suspects are thousand of tons of recycle material being carted off to landfills?

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