Cool Things Wit Cool People is a monthly advice column by Akeem Dixon focusing on community development. To ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out @akeemdixon.
In our current world of strong, varying opinions, one common thread of frustration is litter and waste of all kinds.
Philadelphians love to be referred to as the home of passionate sports fans, restaurants and cheesesteaks, but are simultaneously working tirelessly to rid us of the titleholder of one of the country’s dirtiest cities. Last December, the mayor even appointed a new Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet to tackle the issue holistically.
With the help of Michelle Feldman of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, this month’s Cool Things With Cool People column will help you find the right place, way and agency help to dispose and reduce waste consumption.
Dear Akeem and Michelle,
How do I find out if an item is or isn’t recyclable?
You can head to PhiladelphiaStreets.com/Recycling to find the most current list of what is and isn’t recyclable curbside in Philadelphia. Remember to keep food and liquids, styrofoam and plastic bags out of your blue bin! (Some big box stores have special dropoffs for recycling plastic bags, so be on the lookout for one near you.) Placing non-recyclables in your blue bin can lead to contamination of whole loads of recycling or injuries at recycling plants — so trying to recycle often AND correctly is key to a more sustainable Philadelphia.
Indulge us while we get even nerdier about recycling, and waste management in general:
- Test your knowledge about Philadelphia recycling ins and outs at RecycleByCity.com.
- You can turn any hard-sided container 32 gallons or less into a recycling bin by writing “Recycling” on it, or by using a handy blue “recycling” sticker from the Streets Department
- Have some fun with Earth911.com’s great recycling search function for those hard-to-recycle items
And if you really want to get nerdy about recycling, take a virtual tour of a materials recovery cacility (an industrial site where recyclables are sorted) via the education section of Recommunity Recycling’s website.
But if we could encourage you to visit any treasure trove of resources, it would be Philadelphia’s new one-stop-shop for all matters litter and zero waste: CleanPHL.org. Read about the city’s new Zero Waste and Litter Action Plan, peruse resources to bring to your neighborhood, and more (yes, more!).
Dear Akeem and Michelle,