Mayor Kenney and the Streets Department joined Recyclebank at the ReCommunity Recycling plant in South Philadelphia to officially unveil the City’s latest recycling initiatives.
The Mayor announced that Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, Recyclebank and the Office of Sustainability’s Waste Watcher’s Program have merged into a single new program: Philacycle. The announcement took place on America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.
“With this change, Philadelphia is no longer focusing on recycling alone,” said the Mayor. “Through Philacycle, the City will engage residents in new efforts that combine recycling, volunteering in the community and shopping. This will move us closer to our goal of making Philadelphia 90 percent waste and litter-free by 2035.”
The Philacycle program will continue to provide reward points to residents for recycling and educational opportunities. New opportunities as a result of the rebrand and launch include an expansion of the original incentives and educational opportunities about waste reduction. Also new are “Philacyclers” — trained volunteers who engage residents and visitors in recycling practices at public events and in their community, thereby helping to divert waste in the landfills. By helping people to sort and discard their items in real time, volunteers help event attendees and neighbors distinguish and properly place recyclables, compostable items and waste unable to be repurposed.
The revamped program includes a new smartphone app which allows residents to access Philacycle. (The iOS and Android versions can be currently found by searching the name ‘Recyclebank’).
“We are excited to connect residents to additional opportunities to earn rewards and engage others in efforts that support the City’s zero waste goals,” said Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams. “This program takes our recycling rewards program to the next level by allowing residents to earn points for more than just recycling.”
The Zero Waste approach refers to the management of products and goods as they are generated to minimize the amount of waste that requires disposal by focusing on sustainable production and packaging, maximizing the recyclability and recovery of products and goods generated, and minimizing waste by consumers.
Philadelphia’s long-term “Zero Waste” objective is to fully eliminate the use of landfills and conventional incinerators by 2035. To do this, Philadelphia will reduce waste generation and increase waste diversion by 90 percent by 2035, with the remaining 10 percent utilized was waste to energy.
“This is a key opportunity for the City to ramp up recycling while also focusing on waste reduction,” said Nic Esposito, Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet Director. “As Philacyclers model best practices for waste diversion, we hope that the people they reach will begin to think consciously about what it is they are using from the moment of purchase through to its final use.”