County & City to Host Second Tote Bag Drive for Local Food Pantries

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced that the County and City will join The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project in collecting tote bags, backpacks and gym bags in honor of America Recycles Day, November 15. Residents are encouraged to drop off new or gently used tote bags, backpacks and gym bags between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday, November 13, through Friday, November 16, at one of 13 participating locations throughout Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh. Collected bags and backpacks will be distributed to local food pantries, reducing the need for plastic bags and enabling patrons to securely transport their food. Residents are also encouraged to make small food donations.

“Our region has a great tradition of coming together and supporting important causes like the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project,” said Fitzgerald. “By donating new or gently used tote bags, backpacks and gym bags, we’ll not only make it easier for our friends and neighbors to carry home items from food pantries, but we’ll also be reducing the need for thousands of flimsy plastic bags. I encourage everyone to contribute to this effort and help us meet our goal of collecting 10,000 reusable bags and backpacks.”

The use of reusable bags reduces the need for plastic bags and spares food pantries the expense of purchasing bags, freeing up valuable resources for food. Tote bags are typically able to carry twice as much as standard plastic bags.

Tote bags should be new or in gently used, clean condition and sturdy enough to carry a one-gallon bottle of milk. Any materials are acceptable, as are logos on the bags. Backpacks in adult or children sizes are acceptable, and they should be in new or gently used condition. Gym bags should be sturdy, new or in gently used condition with working zippers and handles. Logos are acceptable, and shoulder straps are especially useful.

“Throughout our City, families and individuals rely on food pantries, particularly during the winter and holiday season,” Ravenstahl said. “City and County employees, their families and all residents are encouraged to contribute to the tote bag drive and participate in this unique recycling opportunity to improve our environment while impacting the lives of those in need.”

The 13 drop-off locations are:

Downtown Pittsburgh

Allegheny County Courthouse
Information Center in Courtyard
County Executive’s Office, Room 101
436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

City-County County Building
Main Lobby near the “Hard to Recycle” Collection
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

County Office Building
542 Forbes Avenue, Room 347-A
Pittsburgh 15219

Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services
One Smithfield Street, Main Lobby
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Regional Enterprise Tower
Note: This site open only to building tenants
Allegheny County Economic Development
425 6th Ave, Suite 800
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Strip District

Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office
1520 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Allegheny County Health Dept. Clack Center   
3901 Penn Avenue
Public drop-off in Building #5
Employee drop-off in Buildings #1, #5 & #7
Pittsburgh, PA 15224  

Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center
400 North Lexington Street, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

South Park

South Park Administrative Offices
Buffalo Drive
South Park, PA 15129


Kane Regional Center – Glen-Hazel
955 Rivermont Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15207


Kane Regional Center – McKeesport
100 Ninth Street
McKeesport, PA 15132

Ross Township

Kane Regional Center – Ross Township
110 McIntyre Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Scott Township

Kane Regional Center – Scott Township
300 Kane Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15243

Each year, America Recycles Day presents the opportunity to expand Allegheny County’s and the City of Pittsburgh’s recycling efforts beyond the collection of the traditional plastic, metal, glass and paper materials. At the end of last year’s one-week drive, the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collected 359 bags, surpassing their annual goal to collect 10,000 bags by 65 bags. This year, officials hope to bring even greater success.

Since 1997, America Recycles Day has encouraged communities across the country to come together on November 15 to educate and motivate citizens about the benefits of recycling. Over the past 15 years, community leaders, neighbors and friends across the United States have hosted annual America Recycles events. Celebrating America Recycles Day in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh helps to protect the environment while serving the needy.

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For more information visit the  Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project. To learn more or to set up your own event, visit  America Recycles Day.

Allegheny Green
Allegheny Green is a comprehensive initiative to promote sustainable practices through countywide policies, programs, and projects. Allegheny County encourages residents, businesses, and municipalities to undertake green activities that support economic interests in an environmentally appropriate and equitable manner. The county focuses on our physical plant and assets, how we conduct business, and the critical role of our staff in achieving our collective goal of reducing our ecological footprint. We are leading by example with programs such as the green roof demonstration project and by setting aggressive goals for reducing energy and water consumption.

For more information, visit Allegheny Green. Find the next Special Recycling Collection Event.

Recycling in Pittsburgh
In 2008, Mayor Ravenstahl launched the “Together Green” campaign, simplifying City recycling by offering curbside single stream recycling. Over the past five years, the City has seen a 100 percent improvement in recycling, saving taxpayers over $300,000 per year in landfill fees. With community support and addition of special collection bins, everything from yard debris to appliances to batteries can be recycled within Allegheny County.

Download your  Pittsburgh curbside recycling and waste removal schedule. For more information about recycling drop-off locations in Pittsburgh, view the  Mayor’s Green Guide.  Find the next Special Collections Recycling Drive.