Watch CBS News

KD Investigation Gets Action: School Recycling

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Pittsburgh Public School District generates thousands of tons of recyclable waste every year, but environmentalist David Hughes suspects only a small portion of that actually gets recycled.

"Thrown away to go to the landfill are plastic containers, glass bottles, tons of papers - in particular cardboard," said Hughes.

Hughes showed KDKA how the dumpsters at Minadeo School are routinely stuffed with recyclable cardboard and with blue bags that are filled with plastic and glass bottles.

All to be hauled away four days a week by Waste Management garbage trucks and taken to a landfill to be dumped.

On Monday night, Hughes told the school board that he believes Minadeo is not an isolated case.

"I have no reason to believe this does not go on in the rest of the district's 54 schools," said Hughes. "In 2013 this practice is unacceptable."

Today, the district did take action. The central office has directed Minadeo to stop putting recyclables in the trash and to recycle all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum.

The district is also re-enforcing the need for all schools to comply with the state and city recycling laws, but spokesperson Ebony Pugh conceded that this will be work in progress.

She said in a statement: "I cannot say with confidence that all schools are in compliance. There are some schools that are very good at recycling and others have some work to do."

But the cash-strapped district may be cheating itself and taxpayers out of money.

The City of Pittsburgh is turning its recyclable into real cash. The city gets $35 a ton for it recyclables, and that amounts to more than half million dollars a year.

The school district got less than $5 thousand.

Environmentalist: Pittsburgh Schools Don't Recycle (6/25/13)
More Reports by Andy Sheehan

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.