With a better understanding of the problems and the resources available to you to help solve them, you can better make a difference in your neighborhood and in your city.

Zero Waste Programs

Making zero happen. It might not sound like much, but it means everything. The City has a bold goal of becoming 90% Zero Waste and litter-free by 2035. And we can’t get there without your help. It starts with knowing the recycling ins and outs. It means reusing more and wasting less. It starts with one. One person setting the example. One business making sustainable choices. One city coming together to make zero happen.

CleanPHL & the Litter Index

The City of Philadelphia Litter Index is a map-based survey of the litter conditions of the City’s streets, parks and recreation sites, public school sites, green stormwater infrastructure, river ways, and vacant lots. It allows City departments to create more coordinated responses to litter conditions and inform residents through a searchable database of the litter conditions in their neighborhoods and surrounding areas.

The Litter Index is conducted by staff in the departments responsible for the surveyed City assets and property. The index is digitized using cloud-based surveys taken on tablets using GPS coordinates to ensure accuracy. Along with an estimated litter count on a City asset or property, field surveyors also give a 1-4 litter rating, with a rating of 1 being little to no litter and a rating of 4 being litter that would require a large cleaning effort and/or heavy machinery to remove.

The Litter Index application also provides a sidebar with information related to the resources an area has to encourage residents to do their part to keep their neighborhoods clean. If your area does not have a particular resource, please click on its link to find out how to bring it to your neighborhood. It’s the goal of the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet that the Litter Index will be the tool that allows all of our neighborhoods to strive for zero litter because Zero Starts With One. And a cleaner city starts with you.

Neighborhood Litter Control Plans

The Streets Department and the Cabinet, in partnership with other City agencies and nonprofit partners, are developing Neighborhood Litter Control Plans. These plans involve comprehensive strategies and metrics for addressing litter and illegal dumping in individual Philadelphia neighborhoods. Selection of neighborhoods is being guided by Litter Index data to prioritize this process by identifying areas of the city with the highest Litter Index scores. This strategy includes engaging residents and community-based organizations working in specific neighborhoods through community meetings, using their feedback to develop plans, implementing services, and continued follow-up.

Illegal Dumping Prevention & Enforcement

We have taken a holistic view in tackling the illegal dumping problem in Philadelphia by working with criminal justice partners, City departments, and City Council. We understand that although illegal dumpers need to be held accountable through the criminal justice process, we will not arrest our way out of this problem. That is why we have focused on a broader process of addressing illegal dumping and have made strides including increasing illegal dumping fines, imposing seizure of vehicles involved in illegal dumping crimes, increasing and streamlining illegal dumping cases in the court system, and creating a formalized environmental crimes unit within the Philadelphia Police Department.

Illegal Signs Initiative

Did you know that it is illegal in Philadelphia to post or pay someone to post a sign on a streetlight, utility pole, traffic sign, historical marker, or street tree? These signs often end up as litter, and a littered community is bad for residents and bad for business. That’s why we need the business and arts communities to be our partners to help us ensure that these signs are not being posted on streetlights, utility poles, traffic signs, historical markers, and street trees. The Illegal Signs Initiative engages local businesses and organizations to help remove illegal signs and reduce litter in Philadelphia.

Community Cans Program

Community Cans is apublic private partnership program where the City partners with community organizations to support community responsibility for clean business districts and commercial areas in Philadelphia neighborhoods. After researching how public trash can placement affects litter rates and surveying litter conditions throughout Philadelphia through the City-wide Litter Index, we’re identifying ways to strategically increase trash can coverage in Philadelphia’s public right-of-way with the goal of reducing litter and illegal dumping. This program is one component of that overall strategy, and we’re looking for community partners to participate!

Interact with 311 online

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