Cole Oziemblowsky, Pinetree Road, stepped up to fill a void when Mt. Lebanon’s trash collectors, Waste Management, stopped collecting glass for recycling in 2019. Oziemblowsky, a senior at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in Oakland, began collecting and sorting glass from the neighborhood, and delivering it to Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling in Baldwin.
How does your service work?
I service all of Mt. Lebanon for now. I have a Facebook page (Mt. Lebanon Glass Recycling) and potential customers first need to like the page and then message me through Facebook to let me know when they have a pickup ready. I reply with the next pickup date and add them to the list. Customers need to place their glass in bags or boxes at the curb and I collect it and take it to the recycling center. I charge $5 a bag or box.
What kind of volume do you usually see?
I usually service about 20 to 25 addresses every other week but lately due to demand, I have been going out once a week to collect. The most I have ever picked up in one day was 34 and it took more than five hours. Some customers ask to be on the schedule every week, some gather their glass and recycle through me once a month and others just alert me on an as needed basis. I currently communicate with 545 households in Mt Lebanon.
What are your post-graduation plans? Has running this business had any effect on them?
I do not plan to go to college right away. I’m considering trade school but I love the entrepreneurship component of this business and am also considering expanding further into the South Hills once I graduate from high school. I really think there is an opportunity to grow. In Mt. Lebanon alone, I have only tapped into a small group of residents through Facebook but if I focus efforts on getting the word out to even just 5 percent of the other households, I think I could start picking up more often and maybe even grow a team. Facebook is just one component, but I’d like to find or invest in a platform that makes it easy for all residents to access my service aside from just Facebook.