post by Michelle Feldman
Take a moment and think about your daily routine. (No, really.) What products do you use every day? How many of those products do you recycle, or upcycle? How many can you recycle or upcycle?
Part of our job at Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is to help individuals and communities think through the environmental, social and economic impacts of their consumption and waste disposal patterns – to make the most responsible choices for our collective future.
In honor of waste month at MilkCrate, we are teaming up to share tips, resources and suggested actions focused on what happens to a product after we’re done using it — and how to make sure it’s disposed of properly.
Recycle Often, Recycle Right
Recycling often is important; but it’s perhaps even more important to recycle correctly. Entire loads of recyclables can become easily contaminated by simple (and well intentioned!) recycling no-nos. So what you can you do?
- Follow the Philadelphia Streets Department online. Keep up on what is and isn’t recyclable cursbside at philadelphiastreets.com/recycling, and find the Department on Twitter at @PhilaStreets, @PhilaRecycling and @PhilaCleanSts. Then sign up for the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program — and test your recycling knowledge here!
- If you have the choice, purchase items that can be recycled as opposed to single use disposable products. Make reusable items, such as water bottles and tote bags, part of your daily routine.
- Remember, no plastic bags, styrofoam or food in your blue bin, and rinse out containers to the best of your ability.
- Need a recycling bin? Check out this map of distribution locations here. Or use any hard sided container 32 gallons or less that’s labeled “Recycling.”
While you’re brushing up on your recycling knowledge, check out all of the other resources the Streets Department offers Philadelphians, from Sanitation Convenience Centers for many of those hard-to-get-rid of items, to Household Hazardous Waste collection days and programs to bring resources to your neighborhood such as the City’s Block Captain network.
Do You Wanna Plan a Cleanup?
Too much of the waste Philadelphians generate ends up littered in our public spaces and waterways, or illegally dumped in abandoned lots. Fortunately, there is a lot we can all do to keep our communities cleaner.
- Set your trash and recycling out correctly to help prevent unintentional littering during windy, rainy or snowy days. Put your trash out on the right day (bonus tip: following the Streets Department on Twitter will keep you up-to-date on changes to the collection schedule), and utilize bags that tie up and/or trash cans with lids.
- Notify the City of vacant lots strewn with trash through the 311 system, and write down the tracking number they provide you to follow up on the status of your report.
- Plan a cleanup with your neighbors — it’s easy! Borrow supplies and coordinate trash pick up through the City’s Community Life Improvement Program, and read (or, you know, memorize) Keep Philadelphia’s Beautiful’s annual Community Cleanup Resource Guide to learn how to plan a successful community beautification event, step by step.
Composting in the City
Think again about what you throw away every day. (Really, indulge us one more time.) Our bet is a large portion of it can be composted, specifically food waste.
Luckily, there are a growing number of composting options in Philadelphia.
- Give Bennett Compost, a MilkCrate business, a try (for free!). For $15 a month, Bennett Compost will pick up your food scraps and other compostables weekly.
- Find out if a community based organization in your neighborhood runs a composting drop-off facility. Examples include The Dirt Factory in University City, and the Compost Coop in Kensington. And if your ‘hood doesn’t have one, why not help get one off the ground?
- Know of any community gardens in your area? Find out if they could use your compostables for their efforts.
Learn More and Get Involved!
Have questions, or want to get involved? Contact our offices at 215-854-4000, or firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow MilkCrate and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful on social media all month long for weekly tips to make every day America Recycles Day.
About the Author
Michelle Feldman currently serves as Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, a citywide nonprofit organization dedicated to community building through community greening. Prior to her time at KPB, she worked as the Commercial Corridor Manager for the Frankford Community Development Corporation. Her passions include iced coffee, Beyonce, and (of course) Philly’s neighborhoods.