Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the first Philly Talks Trash Quarterly.  After reaching over 500 people through nine programs which delved into diverse issues of waste in Philadelphia, the Philly Talks Trash team, a collaboration between Philly Neighborhood Networks Environment Action committee and the Plastic Reduction Taskforce of Weavers Way Co-op, is trying something new, a quarterly newsletter full of information concerning plastics and waste.

If you missed any of our programs, you can view them on the Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks 
channelBe sure to click the Philly Talks Trash Playlist.

We believe that our future must be one without waste and that Philadelphians can play an important role in achieving that end. Our newsletter will examine the politics of waste from the local to the international level, highlight meetings and events happening locally, provide zero-waste resources and ideas to cut our individual waste footprints, and feature guest writers for in-depth discussions. We can achieve our goals if we work together. If you have any questions, you can reach us here.

The Story of Plastic (Animated Short), a great global overview

🖋️ From Our Guest Author 🖋️

By Shari Hersh

We can end dumping by 2028!

Why are dumping and “fugitive litter” so pervasive in Philadelphia right now? Clean Philadelphia NOW is an alliance to champion the campaign for adequate waste collection, litter abatement, and the prevention and elimination of open dumping in Philadelphia forever. Ours is a campaign with a common resolve: to demand the resources and support to keep our neighborhoods and our city clean. The pervasive dumping problem in Philadelphia has disproportionate effects on marginalized communities and is one of the largest environmental justice issues in Philly. It impacts us all. Dumping and fugitive litter are the outcomes of a consumptive culture where producers are not held accountable for the disposal of their goods (including the packaging) coupled with systems that have failed to modernize and counter the growing threats of climate change. Much to our surprise we found dumping can be solved.

The residents of Philly want clean, green, and healthy spaces to live and raise their children. To read about how to prevent dumping and end the cycle of clean-ups, read our platform here and add your name to the petition.

Fatigued from the endless cycle of clean-ups, residents of Fairhill and Kensington members of Team Nas are working with the Environmental Justice Department at Mural Arts to more strategically solve the issue of dumping. Members of team Nas formed “Die Dumping Die”, a community performance created to engage folks in efforts for change and to call attention to the issues. Trash Academy undertook an “Implosion” project to understand the systemic drivers of the problem. Ultimately we all joined together with Clean Water Action, residents and neighborhood groups to form Clean Philadelphia NOW to share best practices and build a solutions oriented platform to end dumping. We also joined together with others to form Waste Free Philly for comprehensive change.

In August, 2021, Trash Academy convened a group to trash-pick and investigate materials at Revolution Recovery, waste management facility and recycling center for construction and demolition (C&D) materials in the Tacony section of North Philadelphia. C&D waste is a large percentage of what is habitually dumped in vacant lots and underpasses throughout Philadelphia. The group included fourteen waste management practitioners, block captains, artists and activists, and with significant feedback from the community including local groups addressing dumping, architects, and Licenses and Inspection (L&I) we pieced together a picture of the larger systems at work. We took a deep dive into drywall to understand dumping the research is captured in a poster which has been circulated and viewed by thousands. The poster can be viewed in full and downloaded here.

Some highlights of our solutions to PREVENT DUMPING

  1. Improve citywide municipal systems collection system including re-introducing bulk pick-up. Increase diversion and material recovery: more returnables, composting and recycling.

  2. Redirect construction and demolition (C&D) waste such as allowing small haulers to dump at convenience centers (to capture clean-out dumping). It is cost prohibitive for small haulers to dump legally as they are charged a full tipping fee even for a small load.

  3. Redirect construction and demolition (C&D) waste, require the recycling of C&D waste (most demolition is going into the waste system and valuable materials are being incinerated or going to the landfill.

  4. Allow vacant lot and dumping site improvement through community intervention and programming by providing resources and access, and permissions, especially through community landcare programs.

Sign our petition and help build a cleaner, forward looking city.

Trash Academy at the Clean Philadelphia Now press conference

Click here to check out the Implosion poster!

🗳️ Politics and Legislation 🗳️

PRTF Helps Inform Mayoral Agenda for a Clean and Waste-Free Future

In February the Waste Free Philly Coalition held a press conference to introduce their Mayoral Agenda for a Clean and Waste-Free Future for Philadelphia.

The Waste Free Philly Coalition is a partnership between Circular Philadelphia, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, Clean Philadelphia Now/Trash Academy, and the Plastic Reduction Task Force at Weavers Way Co-op. Seeing the overwhelming amount of waste strewn across the city and in its waterways, with no strategic plan in place to curb its growth, these partners came together to call for change. The upcoming mayoral election in Philadelphia provided the right opportunity.

The coalition’s goal is to press mayoral candidates to endorse a waste reduction platform that details specific strategies and steps needed to achieve an equitable transformation in the city. Individuals and organizations are invited to endorse the platform to show their support and encourage all candidates to think about how they will end dumping, grow the circular economy, improve the city’s recycling and waste collection systems, and reach the city’s zero waste goals by 2035.

The detailed five point plan of the Waste Free Philly Agenda, can be found at Below is the abbreviated plan:

Goals for a Waste Free Philly

  • Create a Mayor’s Office of Zero Waste to direct waste operations across the city government and appoint a new position of Deputy Streets Commissioner for Zero Waste.

  • Appoint experienced and accomplished individuals to waste leadership positions.

  • Recommit to implementing the Zero Waste and Litter Action Plan.

  • Establish a program to end litter and dumping.

  • Regain public trust in how the city collects trash and recycling.

The Plastics Reduction Task Force of Weavers Way created its own specific platform for the next mayor, focused specifically on the need to reduce single-use plastics. You can read this platform on the Weavers Way website.

📅 Events 📝

Click on the calendar icons below to add events to your Google calendar

📅 March 29th, 6 p.m. • The Green Living Plan Mayoral Forum is an opportunity to hear how mayoral candidates stack up on issues of environmental equity. Moderated by Charles Ellison of WURD-FM, the forum will examine how candidates will take on priorities such as air pollution and urban heat, investing in and protecting parks and green spaces, growing green jobs, improving basic city services and enhancing water quality and infrastructure. The forum will be held at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The Green Living Plan is a coalition of local environmental and neighborhood-based organizations, with support from academia. Registration Required.

📅 April 4th, 6:30 p.m. • To aid citizens in their democratic deliberations, Green Philly along with partners Circular Philadelphia, Green Building United and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, is hosting a candidate forum on Climate for Mayoral candidates seeking to represent Philadelphia. At the Climate Mayoral Forumtopics will cover transitioning the City and buildings to clean energy to reduce emissions, creating a circular economy to tackle waste at the source, creating a green economy by supporting businesses, allocating resources to climate, and more. There will be an audience question and answer portion. The forum will be held at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Registration Required.

📅 April 8th - 10th • The Break Free From Plastic Youth Summit brings youth organizations together for a global virtual gathering this April 8-10, 2022. This summit will serve as a platform for youth to discuss revolutionary ideas, to learn about intersectional issues on plastic, and to band together to represent their generation’s stance in the fight against climate change and plastic pollution. Registration Required.

📅 May 11th • For the first time ever, the Plastic Health Summit will take place in Brussels, the heart of Europe. Experts from around the world will present groundbreaking studies on how micro-and nanoplastics, once inhaled or ingested, behave after reaching our lungs and brains. In addition to the presented scientific studies, the Plastic Soup Foundation will put innovators in the spotlight who are actively working on solutions to protect our health against the impact of plastic particles and additives. To wrap up day one, guests will hear a compelling conversation about what the upcoming Global Plastics Treaty could mean around the world, from local communities to regional partnerships. Registration is open for the May 11th event. Visit the website to learn more.

📅 On-going: Planet Philadelphia radio show • Planet Philadelphia can be heard live the first and third Fridays of each month from 4 to 5 pm at (92.9) or anytime on the website archive. Co-producers and hosts Kay Wood and Linda Rosenwein interview experts on environmental issues and related science and technology ranging from hyper-local to global.

📅 On-going: ecoWURD • Charles Ellison, well-known thought leader and commentator both in Philadelphia and nationally, is the Host/Executive Producer of “Reality Check,” a daily public affairs program, and Managing Editor of ecoWURD, a multimedia environmental justice journalism initiative examining Black communities at the intersection of race, health, income & the environment. You can listen to ecoWURD every Friday, 10 a.m. at 96.1 FM.

🌐 Plastic-reduction Resources 🤝🏽

The problems we face with plastic proliferation are great, but an ever-growing group of organizations, laws, and policies are taking aim at the issue, and small businesses are looking to meet the need for products without plastics. The Philly Talks Trash Resource Page is an expanding collection of waste-reduction information, politics, articles, products, and organizations, all focused on reducing plastic use.  If you have suggestions for the page please email us. We will highlight a few products and organizations in each newsletter and the link to the full and growing list will always be available from the Philly Talks Trash Quarterly and the Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks Environmental Action Committee webpage.

Check out the FULL list of our Resources here!
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