Living Columns & Blogs

Answers to more of your recycling questions

My last frequently asked questions column was so popular that I decided to write another one with the questions I have received over the past month. Have any of the questions below been on your mind?

Q: Can I recycle spiral cans?

A: Spiral cans have a thin cardboard body with a metal top and/or bottom. They may be recycled with metal cans. Examples of spiral cans include: Pringles potato chip cans, coffee cans, lemonade cans, peanut cans, etc. These cans may be placed in your curbside recycling bin or brought to any of our recycling drop off locations and placed in the compartment labeled for “metal cans.” Remove plastic lid before recycling with metal.

Q: Why don’t we have single stream recycling collection?

A: Single stream recycling is a popular method of collection widely used across the country. We had an independent consultant conduct a single stream conversion study to see if it is the route we should take. After months of research, data collection and analysis, it was decided that it was not in the Authority’s best interest to pursue single stream recycling collection. With your help, we consistently produce marketable commodities from your recyclables.

Q: Can padded plastic envelopes be recycled?

A: Unfortunately, padded envelopes cannot be recycled in our recycling program. These paper envelopes are padded with plastic, making them undesirable items to recycle.

Q: Can I recycle empty medicine (pill) bottles?

A: Empty pill bottles may be placed in curbside recycling bins or dropped off at any of our recycling drop off containers located throughout the county. A list of drop off containers (as well as a map of the area) can be found on our website. Pill bottles should be placed in the compartment labeled for “plastic bottles, jugs & jars.”

Q: Where can I drop off old or expired medications?

A: There are now seven locations in Centre County to properly dispose of old, unwanted or expired medications safely:

▪ Bellefonte Police Department, 236 W. Lamb St., Bellefonte

▪ Centre County Sheriff’s Office, 213 E. High St., Bellefonte

▪ Ferguson Police Department, 3147 Research Drive, State College

▪ Patton Township Police Department, 100 Patton Plaza, State College

▪ Penn State Police Department, Eisenhower Parking Deck, University Park

▪ State College Police Department, 243 S. Allen St., State College

▪ Willowbank Building, 420 Holmes St., Bellefonte

Pharmaceuticals should remain in the original container or a sealed zip-close-type bag. Personal information should be removed or covered with a permanent marker before placing in the drop box.

Acceptable items include: household prescription and over-the-counter solid medications, liquids in a leak proof container, tablets, capsules, pet medications and vitamins. Do not bring: injectables, syringes, needles, aerosol cans, inhalers, medications containing iodine, thermometers, hydrogen peroxide or illegal drugs.

If you have a recycling question, send me an email at I will answer you and maybe your question will be featured in a future column.

Thanks for recycling!

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

On the web

Visit for more FAQs