Welcome to Dr. B. Green’s
Question and Answer Page!


We encourage you to contact Dr. B. Green with any recycling questions that you might have.  You can e-mail him at:

Where can I recycle CFL lightbulbs? - 'In the Dark'
Dear In the Dark:

According to the Earth 911 Recycling Search (See HERE), CFL bulbs may be taken locally to Batteries+ Bulbs, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Thank you for your dedication to making reuse and recycling go round and round!  – Dr.B.Green

Where can I recycle old compact discs? - 'Mahalo'
Dear Mahalo:

Following the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” you may be able to deliver your unwanted CDs to local donation centers such as Community Aid, Goodwill Stores and Donation Centers, Salvation Army Family Stores or the Volunteers of America for resale.  All of these donation centers are located within a short drive of Mechanicsburg.  The Pink Hands of Help Thrift Store at 5325 East Trindle Road will accept small quantities of CDs on Mondays and Thursdays for resale.  Please call (717) 620-8264 to make arrangements.
Or, you might try to sell your CDs on-line to recover a portion of your investment.
The Earth911 website (http://www.earth911.com/) helps locate recycling options for many recyclable items.  It includes a search tool for “CDs.”  The link here identifies Best Buy at 6416 Carlisle Pike as the place closest to Mechanicsburg Borough that accepts CDs for recycling. You may call Best Buy at (717) 795-1741 to confirm.

Thank you for your dedication to making reuse and recycling go round and round!  – Dr.B.Green

How do I dispose of flashlight batteries??????????????? - 'Richard'
Dear Richard:

Recycling opportunities for flashlight batteries (single-use household batteries) are very limited.  Legislation has been proposed in the states of California, Minnesota and Vermont to regulate single-use household batteries.  The battery manufacturing industry is rising to the occasion by establishing and evaluating pilot recycling programs in at least four states.  Since alkaline and Carbon Zinc batteries are no longer manufactured with Mercury, they are not considered to be a “concern in the waste stream” by the USEPA and may be disposed with other household trash in all states with the exception of California.  Here’s a link to further information about single-use household batteries:  http://recyclebattery.org/home/household-batteries/

This page at this link illustrates the locations of pilot recycling programs in other states: http://recyclebattery.org/home/foundation-programs/

Rechargeable flashlight batteries and other forms of rechargeable household batteries, however, should always be recycled.  You can find local recycling options for rechargeable batteries by entering your zip code in the Drop-off Locations search box in the right corner of the page at this link: http://www.call2recycle.org/

I appreciate your concern for the proper disposal and recycling options for household batteries.

Thank you –



Is styrofoam acceptable to recycle? -'Jenna'
Dear Jenna: 

Thank you for your inquiry about recycling Styrofoam, which is the trade name for “expanded polystyrene.”  It is a recyclable material but has limited recycling opportunities in our Mechanicsburg area.  Dart Container Corporation in Lancaster County recycles expanded polystyrene into new products.  Click here and look for the Environment tab on the Dart Container web site for more information.

The Dauphin County Recycling Center in Harrisburg accepts certain expanded polystyrene items that are shipped to the Dart Container plant on a weekly basis.  The plastic items are typically coded with a #6.  The Recycling Center does not accept polystyrene items marked with any other codes.  The Center accepts bulky pieces of expanded polystyrene like those used to package electronics.  The items must be white in color and not wrapped with any other materials.  The Center will also accept expanded polystyrene food service items such as clam shells and drink cups that are rinsed clean and not stained.  The Center does not accept expanded polystyrene packing peanuts.  This link shows a schedule of items accepted at the Dauphin Co. Recycling Center and its address.  It is dated 2013 but is still current for 2014.

Expanded polystyrene packing peanuts can be reused.  When I receive a package containing packing peanuts, I pour the peanuts into a plastic grocery bag and tie the handles to prevent the peanuts from escaping.  When I need to ship a package I reuse the peanuts to protect the item(s) I’m sending.  If I find that I’ve accumulated more peanuts than I can use or store, I drop them off at a local shipping store for reuse.  Be sure to contact the shipping store in person or by phone to be sure they will accept your packing peanuts.

If you are wondering where you can recycle other items, you can enter the item and your zip code to search on the Earth911 web site.  Click here.

Thanks again for writing with your recycling question!



So I had some big limbs off to the side in a bin for a potential Wednesday pickup but they were gone after my regular trash day. Were they taken for compost? Also when does yard waste pickup start in the spring? 'Coover St. resident'
Dear Coover Street Resident: 

Thank you for your inquiry.  I am not able to report on what became of your tree limbs.  In the best case they were taken to the Mechanicsburg-Silver Spring Township Joint Composting facility adjacent to the sewage treatment plant on WWTP Lane off of West Church Road.  This map shows the approximate location.  The compost facility is available to Mechanicsburg and Silver Spring residents for drop-off of yard waste, including leaves but not including grass clippings, and for pick-up of mulch and tanbark when available.

But I can help you with the procedures and schedule for having tree limbs and other yard waste collected from your residence.  The yard waste materials that can be collected include limbs, shrub clippings, and other wood debris, but not tree stumps, tree trunks or grass clippings.  Bundles or branches should be no longer than six feet in length and six inches in diameter.

Weekly Wednesday collections were scheduled to begin on March 4, 2014 and should continue until Oct. 29, 2014. Residents must call the Borough Office (717-691-3310) by noon on Tuesday to schedule yard waste collection for the next day.  Yard waste should be set out on Tuesday evening for collection on Wednesday morning and placed either curbside or at your trash pickup location in the alley.  The yard waste should be kept away from your recycling and trash containers and should not be placed next to a garage or private property.  It will not be picked up if it is not in an appropriate location.

If you are wondering what to do with grass clippings, I suggest using a mulching mower to clip them small enough to settle back into your lawn, cutting 1/3 of the grass blade with each mowing.  For residents who practice backyard composting, grass clippings are an excellent source of nitrogen when mixed with leaves saved from the fall.

I hope this advice helps you manage your yard waste in the future.

Thank you –


I've noticed that the household battery recycling containers have disappeared from the Giant Store, Ritter's and Davis Country Living. Is there some place locally that I can recycle these batteries? Sincerely, 'Trying2Bgreen'
Dear Trying2Bgreen: Thanks for wanting to do the right thing by recycling your batteries. Yes, there are places to recycle household batteries, although they are likely not in a convenient walking distance for you.
Household batteries can be grouped into two general categories, 1) “rechargeable” and, 2) “single use.”
1) Rechargeable batteries are recycled for the metals they contain, including nickel, cadmium, and cobalt, which are used in steelmaking, and lead. The actual recycling process for many of the rechargeable batteries recovered in the U.S. is done by INMETCO, located in Ellwood City, Pa.

There are 13 locations within five miles of Mechanicsburg that collect rechargeable batteries, according to the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation “Call2Recyle” web site, www.call2recycle.org. The stores also collect cell phones for recycling: Batteries Plus, Battery Warehouse, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Drive-Kore, Inc., Home Depot, K-Mart, Lowe’s, Radio Shack (2), Sears, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart. The addresses for the locations and further information on battery recycling can be found at www.call2recycle.org.

Stores wishing to participate in the Call2Recycle rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling can sign up on the Call2Recycle web site or call 1-800-8-BATTERY or 1-877-2-RECYCLE. Call2Recycle provides safety instructions and handling guidelines, plastic bags to individually contain each battery, battery collection containers and a prepaid shipping label for each container. The store will be listed on www.call2recycle.org and the toll-free helplines.

2) Single use “alkaline batteries” can be recycled but are commonly discarded with household trash, which is considered to be a safe practice since most alkaline batteries have been manufactured as “mercury free” since the mid-1990s. TOXCO, Inc. in Trail, British Columbia, recovers manganese and zinc from alkaline batteries. Only one location within five miles of Mechanicsburg collects alkaline batteries for recycling according to the Earth911 web site: www.earth911.org. Batteries Plus, located at the Gettysburg Road/Hartzdale drive entrance to the Capital City Mall, collects alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, and lead-acid vehicle batteries for recycling. Recycling alkaline batteries at Batteries Plus will cost $0.99/lb.

TOXCO provides collection kits for recycling lithium, alkaline, mercury, nickel-cadmium, nickel metal-hydride, magnesium, silver, zinc and lead batteries through the Big Green Box Program. A description of the program and a cost sheet can be found at www.biggreenbox.com.

This may be more information that you need but I’m glad to help you. If you’re concerned about adding to your “carbon footprint” by driving to a recycling location, combine your recycling trip with a shopping excursion or consider biking to recycle. If you know a local storekeeper who might be interested in becoming a battery recycling locations, please share this information.

Thanks and keep recycling!!


Should I choose the 'Bag Option' for refuse collection service in Mechanicsburg Borough? Why? - 'Intrigued Recycler'
Dear Intrigued Recycler: Mechanicsburg’s 2013 refuse and recycling contract includes the “Bag Option” for households that don’t set out refuse for collection each week. The Bag Option can be an excellent choice for people who are good recyclers, schedule leaf waste pick-up with the Borough or use the Borough’s compost site or compost at home. The Bag Option requires an annual purchase of sixteen (16) yellow 32-gallon trash bags for $3.00 each, or $48.00/year. Unlimited recycling service is included the cost of the bags. Sixteen bags will allow refuse to be set out approximately once every three weeks. The minimum purchase of 16 bags can save your household $125/year compared to the cost of regular refuse service ($41.00 per quarter or $146.00/year), but does not include bulky waste collection. Extra bags are available from the Borough Office for $3.00 each. To take advantage of the Bag Option or for further information, call the Borough Office at 691-3310.


I know I can recycle plastic jugs that contained laundry detergent, but what about plastic containers that contained coffee, for example, Folgers-type plastic containers? 'Avid Recycler'
Dear Avid Recycler: This is a tough question and when I get tough questions about recycling in Mechanicsburg I always refer to the Borough’s recycling instructions. If you have access to a computer I can check the flyer on Borough’s Recycling Page. Plastic cans are not listed as acceptable recycles like soda bottles, detergent bottles and plastic milk, juice and water jugs. I suggest that you use them as storage containers. They would be a handy for holding nails, screws and other hardware and they will not rust. They might make a nice planter for herbs, flowers or vegetables. If plastic cans should become acceptable for Mechanicsburg’s curbside recycling program in the future, the Borough’s recycling instructions will be updated.


I have a question about the weekly limit of 4 trash bags in Mechanicsburg Borough. We use 17-gallon bags to line our kitchen wastebasket. Can I only set out four 17-gallon bags each week? - 'Perplexed'
Dear Perplexed: I have good news for you! You are not limited to setting out four 17-gallon bags for weekly collection. I suggest you obtain two or more 32-gallon trash cans if you don’t already have them. You may place as many of the 17-gallon bags into a trash can as will fit, as long as the total weight of the 32-gallon trash can does not exceed 50-pounds. If you are an Orange Bag Option customer, the same would apply for the 32-gallon orange bag. Recycle as much as you can and you may find yourself needing fewer trash bags!


I'm concerned about using compost that I've not produced at home. How can I be sure that the leaf mulch and tanbark available from the Mechanicsburg - Silver Spring compost site are safe for my flower beds and gardens? Thanks - 'Backyard Composter'
 Dear Backyard Composter: The leaf much is made from leaves collected by the Borough of Mechanicsburg and Silver Spring Township. Temperatures achieved and sustained during the composting process effectively pasteurize the leaf mulch. The compost site does not accept grass clippings, which have a remote possibility of containing residues from lawn treatment chemicals. Other compost facilities accepting grass clippings and operating according to approved guidelines are not experiencing problems with the quality of their compost products.

The tanbark offered at the facility is made from branches, limbs and leaves collected in the municipalities or brought by residents to the compost site. These materials are periodically processed through a grinder on loan from the Solid Waste Authority of Cumberland County. After processing, the ground material is stockpiled as tanbark. Moisture and time and the size and density of the stockpile permit some curing of the tanbark. Tanbark should be applied like other mulches as a cover material to restrict weed growth and retain moisture in the soil. Mulches should not be applied directly against plant or shrub stems or tree trunks.


I saw a commercial vehicle unloading brush at the Mechanicsburg – Silver Spring compost site. I thought the compost site was for residents only? And by the way, the leaf mulch and tanbark are wonderful! – 'Green Thumb'
Dear Green Thumb:
You are correct that the compost facility is for Mechanicsburg Borough and Silver Spring Township residents only. The signs at the compost site clearly state the site is not to be used by “commercial landscaping businesses.” The compost site is under 24-hour surveillance. What you saw was likely a contractor’s pick-up truck being used by a resident to haul limbs damaged by the December 2007 ice storm.

The leaf mulch and tanbark produced at the compost site are available to residents of the Borough and Township. Residents can shovel the materials into containers, car trunks, trucks, or trailers at no charge. [Contact the Borough Office at 717.691.3310 for information on the days and hours the loader will be on site.]


Santa brought us a new TV for Christmas. Now it is time to retire our bulky 32 inch set. It still works. What can we do with our old TV? - 'Channel Surfer'

UPDATE 5/2/16: Unfortunately as a result of the mass amount of Televisions needing to be recycled all retailers that previously accepted them have discontinued these services. As of right now the Borough has no resources for residents looking to get rid of TVs. The following recommendation has been updated to reflect this information.


Dear “Channel Surfer:”
Thanks for your question; I suspect there are lots of other folks who need to make room for new flat screen TVs.  You have one good option:  Donate your old TV.  Disposing of TVs and other “Covered Devices” at landfills or other solid waste disposal facilities is no longer allowed per Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Recycling Act, Act 108 of 2010.  Your trash hauler will no longer collect TVs, computer monitors, desktop and laptop computers, tablets or computer peripherals such as computer mice, keyboards and printers for disposal.   Go to the Covered Device Recycling Act web link for further “Covered Devices” information, including details on the electronics disposal ban.

Electronics Donation Options:  You can enroll in the Mechanicsburg FreeCycle on-line reuse group and offer your old, working TV to group members as available for free.

You can contact local donation centers like Community Aid on Carlisle Pike (412-7706), Mission Central at 5 Pleasant View Drive (766-1533) in Silver Spring Twp., the Salvation Army Family Store on Trindle Rd. in Camp Hill (1-800-728-7825), or the Volunteers of America (766-2999) at Silver Spring Rd. and Carlisle Pike to see if the donation centers will accept your TV.

Electronics Recycling Options: Other electronics recycling options are listed below.

The Best Buy store on Carlisle Pike (795-1741) will accept computers, monitors and various other electronics items for recycling no matter where they were purchased.

The Computer Barn (258-9663), located on Rt. 641 about 3 miles west of Carlisle Borough near Allen Rd., is a PA DEP authorized collection facility. The Computer Barn accepts any desktop and laptop computers, video and audio equipment, peripherals, cell phones, CRT monitors and other electronic items for free. The store services commercial and residential customers during regular business hours and is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher.  Additional details can be found on The Computer Barn website.

The Staples stores in Camp Hill (731-1761) and on Carlisle Pike (795-7590) do not accept TVs but will accept computers, monitors, printers, desktop copiers, fax machines, modems, routers, keyboards and mice, PC speakers, shredders, phones, GPS devices, MP3 players, digital cameras and camcorders, and Universal Power Supplies. Staples also has an incentive program for recycling printer ink cartridges.

In addition to providing recycling for most consumer batteries, the Batteries Plus store (730-7472) on Gettysburg Rd. at Hartzdale Drive in Upper Allen Twp. accepts portable electronic devices such as cell/smartphones, laptop/netbooks, MP3s, PDAs and portable tools for recycling.

The Cumberland County Recycling and Waste Authority is another source for information on “covered device” recycling options: (800) 697-0371.

I hope this advice helps you with the reuse and recycling options you need for your old electronics.  Thanks again for contacting me!