According to Haley Jordan, project lead at the city's Office of Sustainability, "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we've seen 25-50 percent increases in trash and recycling tonnage curbside due to more waste being generated at home."
There are many ways you can help. First, recycling "right" - making sure to rinse containers and checking the list of recyclable materials . According to the City of Philadelphia, "' 'wrong' recycling is actually worse than not recycling at all. It contaminates the recycling stream which not only ruins good materials and damages equipment—it endangers our recycling workers. And it only takes one bad bin to ruin a truckload of good recycling."
Many of our household essentials and products we buy most often come in single use packaging and / or with additional packaging waste when bought online. Refilling into reusable containers solves this problem...think hand soap into a glass container. Both refilling and reusing are even better options than recycling, as they put less strain on our systems. Here are some great tips on reducing and reusing from the EPA
Composting may seem intimidating, but it can also make a major impact in decreasing climate impacts of waste. There are several local companies that will provide you with the materials, pick it up for you, and in some cases, even sell soil that's been fertilized by the compost.
With a few steps, you can help decrease Philadelphia's waste particularly during this time of increased trash. For a broader view, check out the City’s
Zero Waste (by 2035) goal and associated programs.
Jacqui Hehn, Mlkmn