Philadelphia exceeds 70 percent waste diversion goal

Philadelphia exceeds 70 percent waste diversion goal

Report says target was surpassed through a combination of recycling and waste-to-energy.

July 2, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Forecasts & Statistics

The city of Philadelphia has exceeded its goal of 70 percent waste diversion for the second consecutive year in 2012, according to a report issued by Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s Office of Sustainability. According to the Greenworks 2014 Progress Report, half of all waste generated by the city was recycled and another 23 percent was used for energy production.

The report also notes in 2013 the Philadelphia Streets Department began diverting all waste from landfill through a combination of recycling and waste-to-energy (WTE) practices. To achieve a 73 percent diversion rate, the Philadelphia Streets Department improved recycling rates in all waste streams, capturing more than 1.3 million tons of recycling in 2012, according to the report.

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris diversion reached a record 80 percent in 2012, with a total of 243,365 tons of C&D material kept out of landfills for reuse and recycling. Residential recycling also reached an all-time high of 122,680 tons, which puts the curbside recycling rate at 21 percent, the report adds.

The Philadelphia Streets Department supported a wide variety of citywide recycling and waste reduction efforts in 2013, distributing 60,000 recycling bins to residents and publishing the first Business Recycling Toolkit. In April 2014 more than 14,000 volunteers took part in the Sixth Annual Philly Spring Cleanup, collecting over a million pounds of litter and 15 tons of recyclables.

The city’s Waste Watchers program, now in its fourth year, recruits volunteers to support recycling and composting efforts at major events. In November 2013 Waste Watchers volunteers helped the Philadelphia marathon recycle or compost 86 percent of the waste generated during the race weekend. Waste Watchers was awarded a Cities of Service grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to support expansion to five additional events in 2014 and 2015 including the Broad Street run and the Philly Cycling Classic.

Click here to access the full Greenworks 2014 Progress Report.