The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet (Cabinet) announced today one year of progress tackling trash and litter under our Zero Waste and Litter Action Plan. Progress includes stepped up efforts to thwart illegal dumping, newly passed legislation to make it easier for neighborhood groups to install trash cans on commercial corridors, and an increase in City-sponsored Zero Waste events, among other accomplishments.
“Philadelphia’s litter problem is complex, and we are making sure we analyze and address this issue in a holistic way,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are coordinating the actions of multiple departments through the Litter Index, behavioral studies, neighborhood litter plans and more to reach our goal of becoming a Zero Waste and litter free city.”
Selected highlights of the progress made under the Zero Waste and Litter Action Plan one year update include:
Stepped up Illegal Dumping Enforcement and Prevention
The Cabinet has taken a holistic view in tackling the illegal dumping problem in Philadelphia by working with criminal justice partners, City departments, and City Council to make the following strides:
- Increased illegal dumping fines
- Imposed seizure of vehicles involved in illegal dumping crimes
- Increased and streamlined illegal dumping cases in the court system
- Created a formalized environmental crimes unit within the Philadelphia Police Department Neighborhood Services Unit
- Coordinated and improved illegal dumping surveillance
- Worked with Councilman Clarke and Licenses and Inspections (L&I) to require construction and demolition hauler information and disposal receipts on all L&I construction, demolition, and alterations permits
- Worked with Councilwoman Sanchez and L&I to create a tire dealer business license to improve tire regulation and enforcement
Passed Legislation for Community Cans
Community Cans is a public private partnership program where the City partners with community organizations and businesses to support community efforts for clean business districts and commercial areas in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Approved community groups are now able to place wire mesh litter baskets in designated locations along commercial corridors. Before this legislation, each community group was required to make individual requests for cans. Through this more formalized process, the City will use data to strategically place cans, better manage bin maintenance through mapping, and deepen community partnerships to troubleshoot any issues.
Increased Zero Waste Events
2018 was the Cabinet’s first full season of Zero Waste Events with revised special events permits that mandate recycling and provide resources for expanded waste reduction such as composting and utilization of reusable materials at City-permitted events. The Zero Waste Events Program was expanded from just three Zero Waste Events in the 2016-2017 season to 21 Zero Waste Events in the 2017-2018 season and counting. With over 17 tons of food waste composted and mandated recycling at every special event in the city, Philadelphia is truly becoming the “Home of Zero Waste Events.”
Launched Neighborhood Litter Control Plans
Neighborhood Litter Control Plans involve comprehensive data strategies and metrics developed with the community to addressing litter and illegal dumping in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Plans have been developed for the Southwest, and are in development for Kensington and North Philly/Strawberry Mansion. Selection of neighborhoods is guided by Litter Index data prioritizing areas of the city with the highest Litter Index scores (and most problematic litter conditions).
Implemented Municipal Building Waste Audit and Digital Commercial Waste Report to Minimize Waste in Buildings
After launching its Municipal Building Waste Audit Program, Philadelphia’s City-owned and operated facilities now submit a yearly waste audit reporting form providing information on the materials the facility generates and the haulers servicing the facility. The audit and has led to exciting outcomes, including the development of new City contracts for recycling construction and demolition debris and waste cooking oil, standardized recycling signage and outreach materials provided across City departments, and tools to help City-owned facilities track and reduce their waste generation over time.
To expand and adapt this program to the commercial sector and engage Philadelphia businesses and institutions in the Zero Waste movement, the Cabinet and Streets Department redeveloped the City’s Commercial Recycling Plans into a new digital Commercial Waste Report. The new online form and reporting system requires all commercial properties to submit a Commercial Waste Report annually to report on the property’s waste and recycling practices where they can achieve different levels of recognition as Zero Waste Partners.