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    Philadelphia Litter Index Released by Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet

    Step one of fighting trash: Knowing where it is.

    Yesterday, the City of Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet revealed a city-wide Litter Index, an indexed map of litter conditions on city streets, vacant lots, and other public properties.

    Philadelphia Litter Index

    The CleanPHL website’s litter index rates each block a 1-4 rating. The ratings break down as follows:

    • 1 – little to no litter,
    • 2 – litter in the amount that can be picked up by one person,
    • 3 – litter in the amount that would need a team to clean up and
    • 4 – litter that would require a large cleanup effort and/or heavy machinery to remove.

    The average litter rating of your neighborhood includes combined public properties, a weighted average score for the street and vacant lots. You can also search the CleanPHL website to find resources to help keep your neighborhood clean – like a block captain, watershed group or park friends group. If one doesn’t exist, you can also learn more about how to get help.

    How it Works

    For example, I put Green Philly’s office on the map to see what would happen.Philadelphia Litter Index

    It’s a pretty handy tool. I can see the Litter Index Block and Neighborhood Scores, Trash and recycling Day, the recycling diversion rate (25% – weak), Sanitation District & designated convenience center, if there’s a block captain, who the neighborhood group (Friends of Rittenhouse Square) and watershed groups (Schuylkill River Watershed) are, If there’s a commercial corridor cleaning program (Market West) and neighborhood advisory committee (none). All the people I need to contact are in one place.

    How did the city come up with the scores? Last Fall (August through December, 2017), staff from six City departments (the Streets Department, the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Water Department, the School District of Philadelphia, and SEPTA) surveyed litter conditions on Philadelphia’s streets, vacant lots, parks and recreation sites, public school sites, green stormwater infrastructure sites, transit stations, and other public rights-of-way using cloud-based surveys.

    Managed by the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, the Litter Index was implemented through the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT). In December 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order that created the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve the Zero Waste Goal by 2035.

    As Director Nic Esposito said in a press release, “Many of our neighborhoods still have streets and open land with trash accumulations, and it’s our goal to improve these areas. We want the Litter Index to be the tool that connects residents to resources for cleaning and greening their neighborhoods.”



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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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