SEPTA Progresses Toward 2020 Waste Goals

In its recently released annual SEP-TAINABLE 2020 sustainability report, SEPTA shared that it is progressing toward its 2020 waste goals.

The goals that SEPTA set in its five-year sustainability plan released in January 2017 were to reach a 25% waste diversion rate for waste produced by passengers at stations by 2020 and to maintain an 80% waste diversion rate for waste produced by employees at facilities by 2020. Waste diversion rate is the percentage of material that is diverted away from the trash through recycling, reuse, and other practices.

From 2015 to 2017, SEPTA increased its passenger waste diversion rate by 1.6% to reach 26%, which exceeds one of the 2020 recycling goals. Recycling rates at employee facilities decreased from 84% in 2016 to 70% in 2017. SEPTA has committed to continuing to facilitate recycling programs at facilities, looking for new ways to reduce and reuse its waste products, and making it easier for passengers to recycle at stations by providing easy-to-use waste and recycling receptacles.

SEPTA collects waste at passenger stations, construction sites, and other SEPTA facilities and has established these waste management goals to minimize the harmful impacts of landfills and reduce waste hauling costs. The majority of material SEPTA recycles is from construction and demolition projects.

Read about some of SEPTA’s waste and recycling programs below:


SEPTA has developed successful station and facility recycles programs with annual improvements in diversion rates as high as 50% at some facilities. SEPTA will develop new ways to engage passengers and employees on how to “recycling right” in order to improve recycling rates in the future.


New side-by-side trash and recycling bins will be installed on the Broad Street Line, the Norristown High Speed Line, at Frankford Transportation Center, and at 69th Street Transportation Center, specially designed to help improve passenger compliance with the recycling program.


The industrial hard plastics recycling program has been expanded to all bus maintenance shops and depots. SEPTA will continue to explore new ways to expand this program.


SEPTA has developed a new contract for recycling various construction and demolition materials, including wood and mixed rubble. Recycling these materials has generated significant savings.

SEPTA’s Waste Goals

  • Reach a 25% waste diversion rate for waste produced by passengers at stations by 2020

  • Maintain an 80% waste diversion rate for waste produced by employees at facilities by 2020

SEPTA’s Plastic Bag Pledge

SEPTA is also asking that Philadelphians join the Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign by pledging to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. To enter all you need to do is fill out this form. Eleven entries will be selected at random for prizes. The top prize is a May Anywhere TrailPass and a SEPTA Reusable Tote Bag. Ten runners-up will receive a SEPTA t-shirt and tote bag. Contest ends 4/22.

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