Project Applications Open for 8th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup

The City of Philadelphia is pleased to announce the 8th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup to be held Saturday, April 11, 2015 (rain date, Saturday, April 18, 2015).

2015 Partner Application

Dedication like yours, along with the can-do attitude of thousands of volunteers all over the city, is exactly what we need to meet our goals. Got a project in mind for this year’s Philly Spring Cleanup? There are two ways to submit it for approval:

1. Online:

Click here to complete the application online*.
* If you have registered online in past years, you will need to generate a new password for 2015 by clicking “Need a New Password?” All of your profile information has been saved.

2. Mail

Download the application here (pdf)
Mail completed application to:
Donald Carlton
Deputy Streets Commissioner
City of Philadelphia – Streets Department
730 Municipal Services Building
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Application Deadline: March 27, 2015

We will be posting all projects on the website as early as February to get volunteers signed up, so please submit your applications as soon as possible.

Supplies for Your Cleanup Project

The City will offer a limited number of supplies to assist with your Cleanup projects. These items include:

  • Trash bags
  • Rakes
  • Paint & Brushes
  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Brooms
  • Recycling Bins

In addition, we will help support your projects by directing volunteers to your sites, collecting trash and recyclables from your Cleanup and assisting you in planning your project. We are unable to provide special ordered supplies.

Keep Up The Sweep Up!

We’re out to put an end to litter and illegal dumping – not just on Cleanup day, but permanently. And the more partners like you that help us, the better. The UnLitter Us rally cry was heard loud and clear. It led to community education programs, stricter enforcement, and block-by-block cleaning events. Let’s join hands to make our neighborhoods and our City as beautiful as they can be.


The Philly Spring Cleanup 2015 is a great start, but we need to keep it going all year long. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn how you could support litter prevention efforts beyond the Spring Cleanup, please contact

Recycle Your Tree This Holiday Season

It’s always the season for recycling!

Have you ever thought about recycling your Christmas tree? Philadelphia offers a variety of tree recycling options after the holidays.  For over 25 years, the Streets Department’s Sanitation Division has provided citizens with an environmentally friendly alternative for used trees. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, meaning they can easily be reused or recycled into useful products such as mulch, woodchips, and compost.

If you are considering recycling your tree after the holiday season, you must bring it to one of the designated sites listed below. Trees left on the curb for regular trash pickup will not be recycled. Before you drop off your tree at one of the designated tree-cycling locations, please remember to remove all decorations, tinsel, and lights, and ensure that trees are untied!

Thanks for your commitment to a more sustainable holiday in Philadelphia!

Locations, dates, and times for 2015 Christmas tree recycling:

  • Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers: Open 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Saturday.
    • 3033 S. 63rd Street
    • Domino Lane & Umbria Street
    • State Road & Ashburner Street
    • 2601 W. Glenwood Avenue
  • 23 Saturday Only drop-off sites throughout the city: Saturday, January 10th and Saturday, January 17th from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Click here to find the most convenient location.
  • Community-sponsored treecycling events:

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

  • 9:30am-12:30pm: Corner of Memphis St. & Susquehanna Ave. (NKCDC, EKNA, FNA, ORCA)
  • 10:00am-4:00pm: Columbus Square Park at 13th & Reed Streets (PSCA, LoMo)
  • 10:00am-4:00pm: Orianna Hill Dog Park @ 3rd & Poplar Streets (NLNA)
  • 10:00am-4:00pm: Clark Park @ 43rd & Chester Ave (UCGreen, UC District)
  • 10:00am-4:00pm: Markward Rec Center @ Taney & Pine Streets (FSRP)

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

  • 9:30am-12:30pm: Boy Scouts Headquarters Parking Lot @ 22nd & Spring Streets (LSNA)
  • 9:30am-12:30pm: Norwood Fontbonne School on Sunset Ave. (GRINCH)
  • 10:00am-4:00pm: Eastern State Penitentiary @ 22nd & Brown Streets (FESPP
  • 12:00pm-4:00pm: Ridge Ave. & Scotts Lane (EFCG)
  • 1:00pm-4:00pm: Gabbie’s Garden on Chew Ave. (EMAN)

Watching Waste at Philadelphia Events

The Waste Watchers Program had a strong finish at the Philly Cycling Classic on June 1st, topping off a busy spring season of waste diversion at Philadelphia events. Waste Watchers, a sustaWaste_LemonHillinability initiative created through a partnership among the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, the Office of the City Representative, and the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services, started at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011 to divert waste away from landfills. Waste Watchers operated exclusively at the Marathon until this year when the City received a $50,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to expand the program to other major Philadelphia events.

The Waste Watchers team recruited over 250 volunteers to educate attendees at the Philadelphia Science Carnival, the Broad Street Run, and the Philly Cycling Classic on how to sort their waste into the proper compost, recycling, and trash receptacles. Waste Watchers did an incredible job diverting waste from landfills, with some even volunteering at two events in one weekend! Their efforts resulted in a 70% waste diversion rate average over the spring events.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who dedicated their time and energy towards waste diversion with admirable enthusiasm!



Waste-Watchers Get 2013 Marathon Results

It took a bit longer to tally than the runners’ times, but today brings great news from our friends at SCA:

According to the report, of the 29.3 tons of waste generated at the 2013 Marathon, approximately 85.7 percent, or 25.1 tons was diverted from landfill.   This indicates an increase over the 2012 Marathon, where 24.7 tons of waste was diverted.  The City’s projections for the 2013 Marathon were an 85 percent diversion rate.

See the full press release at SCA’s website. The next Waste-Watchers volunteer opportunity will be at the Philly Cycling Classic on June 1st. If you’re interested in helping Philadelphia meet its waste diversion targets at this event, RSVP at this link.

Looking Ahead to Greenworks 2014

Note: This blog is the first in a series of posts going behind the scenes of the process of producing the 2014 progress report for Greenworks Philadelphia.


An in-progress look at laying out the 2014 Greenworks update.

With only two years left before the conclusion of Mayor Nutter’s second term in office, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) is preparing the fifth Greenworks progress report. This year, we want to give partners and stakeholders in Philadelphia and beyond a peek at how these progress reports are put together.

As a first step, our team is thinking about those areas where Philadelphia has made some of the biggest strides in the five Greenworks goal areas (energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement) over the past year, and where the most exciting opportunities for 2014 will be. Here are a few we’ve considered:

  • Greenhouse Gas inventories and climate adaptation strategy:  Both MOS and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) are continuing to track greenhouse gas emissions. Our office will release new data in 2014 highlighting some of the keys trends in emissions (and prime opportunities for emissions abatement). But it’s not enough to just monitor emissions. This spring, MOS will meet with agencies throughout city government to help draft an action plan to adapt Philadelphia’s critical infrastructure and services to a changing climate.
  • Municipal and citywide building benchmarking: MOS recently released a report on the energy usage of municipally-owned buildings for 2011, and results for large non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet or larger for both 2012 and 2013 energy and water usage will be released later this year. Benchmarking helps building owners and operators track their utility usage over time and compare that usage to a national average. Buildings can use this information to reduce their bills and their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Food Policy Advisory Council: Thanks to the hard work of FPAC coordinator Hannah Chatterjee, the City’s commitment to improving access to healthy and farm-fresh food is stronger than ever. Hannah will be writing more about FPAC’s work on this blog in the coming weeks.
  • Bike Share: Our office is excited to be supporting the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities in the upcoming launch of the citywide bike share network. The City is currently considering several proposals for the program, and we hope to be writing much more about it in Greenworks 2014 (and using the bikes this fall!).
  • Waste Watchers:  At the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon, hundreds of volunteers once again gave their time to help divert waste to recycling while cheering on the city’s runners. MOS is excited to be expanding this program in 2014 thanks to a grant by the Bloomberg Foundation, which will help support Waste Watchers volunteers at six events between now and Spring 2015—including the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon.

What are you hoping to see MOS cover in Greenworks 2014? Respond below or tweet us @GreenworksPhila to share your thoughts.

City of Philadelphia Releases Serve Philadephia 3-Year Progress Report

October 30, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service released the SERVE Philadelphia 3-Year Progress Report, which outlines the City’s efforts to strategically engage citizens in addressing local challenges, particularly in the areas of education, food security, community revitalization and youth engagement.

“By uniting volunteers from different organizations around common goals, we are maximizing their collective impact and empowering citizens with diverse expertise to invest their time and talent in Philadelphia’s future,” said Mayor Nutter. “This effort has led to truly great things for the City of Philadelphia: thousands of adults coaching high school students to graduation, a significant increase in volunteers working with adult learners, stronger Park Friends Groups, greater collaboration between programs that serve our seniors, and many other volunteer-led initiatives that make our communities safer, stronger and more vibrant.”

Highlights of the report include:

· About 50 AmeriCorps VISTAs serving in City departments have engaged over 10,000 volunteers since 2010 in advancing priority initiatives, including the Mayor’s Graduation Coach Campaign and the PhillyRising Collaborative.

· 70,000 citizens have participated in the annual Philly Spring Clean Up since 2008, clearing more than 8 million pounds of trash and recycling from city streets and neighborhood parks.

· 110,000 individuals have visited since January 2011, 30% of whom return on a regular basis to sign up for volunteer opportunities.

“The success of SERVE Philadelphia is far from the story of a single office or initiative. Instead, it reflects the collective commitment of City departments, working in partnership with Philadelphia’s outstanding non-profit sector and civically minded corporate community, to increase both the rate and impact of volunteer service,” said Catie C. Wolfgang, Chief Service Officer and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service. “Most of all, it is a testimony to the willingness of every day citizens to roll up their sleeves and get to work on the challenges we face as a community.”


Philadelphia, January 22, 2013– The City of Philadelphia and Recyclebank were selected for the Outstanding Award in Public/Private Partnerships by the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). The award honors the partnership’s success in building a more sustainable city by increasing recycling participation among community members and diverting more waste from landfills.


“As Philadelphia strives to be the greenest city in America, we are focused on forging partnerships that help us reach our sustainability goals, increase community engagement and stimulate the local economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “In working with us to create Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, Recyclebank has been a strong partner and has helped Philadelphia to reach new heights of urban sustainability and national environmental leadership.”


The award was presented Saturday, January 19 at the USCM 81stWinter Meeting. The Excellence in Public/Private Partnership Awards were established by the USCM to recognize the achievements made possible by the partnerships between the member companies of the Mayors Business Council and cities across the nation. Mayor Nutter and Erika Diamond, vice president of community solutions at Recyclebank, accepted the award.


“Philadelphia’s strides in building a more sustainable and smarter city is testament to the impact that partnerships between public entities and private corporations can create,” said Diamond. “By rewarding residents for taking more everyday green actions like recycling, Philadelphia has increased recycling rates in the face of stagnant national average rates and helped residents realize the financial benefits of making more sustainable choices.”


In summer 2008, the City of Philadelphia made a commitment to sustainability by expanding its recycling program, switching to a single-stream recycling system. In February 2010, the City furthered its commitment by partnering with Recyclebank and offering more than 540,000 household residents the opportunity to get rewards for recycling at home with the program, Philadelphia Recycling Rewards. In addition to rewards for recycling, the partnership has raised awareness and education for recycling, both critical components to recycling behavior change. Because of these combined efforts, the City has increased the total amount of residential recycling collected by nearly 20,000 tons and its curbside recycling diversion rate is up four percentage points since the Recycling Rewards Program was implemented Citywide in July 2010.


“The Philadelphia Streets Department is very proud to be the co-recipient of the Outstanding Award in Public/Private Partnerships with our partner Recyclebank,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. “The award signifies how far Philadelphia has come in its recycling efforts and supporting Mayor Nutter’s vision for Philadelphia to be the most viable and environmentally conscious city in the country,” Tolson said. “Philadelphia Recycling Rewards allows us to give back to residents who have made recycling a priority in their community. This program not only makes the City greener by increasing recycling rates and saving the City from costly landfill fees; it puts more green in the pockets of local residents by giving them points redeemable at local businesses.”


Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, powered by Recyclebank, rewards residents for recycling with discounts and deals from locally-based businesses and national brands. For more information on the program, please visit



For more information about the Philadelphia Streets Department, visit:



Recyclebank helps create a more sustainable future by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from more than 4,000 local businesses and national brands. Through its online platform and partnerships with municipalities, haulers, small businesses and corporate brands, Recyclebank empowers individuals to make a collective impact on the environment by increasing household recycling and taking other environmentally-friendly actions. A Certified B Corporation, Recyclebank has been recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program and for Outstanding Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit