General Tips

Every year, Americans throw away 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers. 85% of our garbage is sent to a dump, or landfill. Some of the trash ends up as litter on our streets. We are all responsible for what happens to our waste. Overall waste reduction is key. Practice the three R’s of the environment Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and reduce your impact.

There are lots of ways to do this. For example:

  • Buy products that don’t have a lot of packaging. Look for things that are packed in materials that don’t require a lot of energy or resources to produce.
  • Using a computer! Instead of buying the paper versions many newspapers and magazines are online.
  • Contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections to stop advertisements and other junk mail from being delivered to you home.




Instead of throwing things away, try to find ways to use them again! For example:

  • Bring cloth sacks to the store with you instead of taking home new paper or plastic bags.
  • Instead of buying books, use the library to borrows books. Also downloading books is a way to save resources as well.
  • Don’t throw out clothes, toys, furniture, and other things that you don’t want anymore. Somebody else can probably use them. You can bring them to a center that collects donations, give them to friends, or even have a yard sale.
  • Take old coat hangers back to the dry cleaners
  • House hold Items: Restore
  • Women’s Clothing: Career Wardrobe 
  • Men’s Clothing : Men of Style
  • Computers: Freedom Rings Partnership
  • Vehicles: Wheels for Wishes




  • Recycle every week curbside in Philadelphia. We can recycle plastics (1 through 7)
    metal — aluminum and tin
    paper — from cardboard to magazines to phonebooks
    glass — all colors
  • Pre-cycle by purchasing products made from recycled content
  • For items not collected curbside; check Earth911 to find outlets that recycle all sorts of goods and services
  • Foam Recycling – Philadelphia residents and businesses can drop-off their clean foam #6 materials also known as“Styrofoam”, a registered trademark of the Dow ChemicalCompany, at the NE Drop-Off Center located at State Road & Ashburner Street. Foam materials can be placed in the blue drop-off bin clearly marked to accept foam #6 materials. Operating hours for the Drop-Off Center are Monday-Saturday, 8 am-6 pm. There is no limit to the amount of foam materials that a resident can bring at one time. A map to the Drop-Off Center can be found here: foam material curbside with other recyclable materials could result in a fine.
  • Carton Recycling – Once a material with very few recycling options, mixed materials cartons can now be recycled curbside in Philadelphia. This includes milk, and juice cartons which are typically comprised of paper coated with polypropylene film or aluminum.




Plastic Bag Recycling

Waste is at an all time high in Philadelphia. With so many disposable products for almost anything we consume, we have truly become a disposable society. The price for is too much trash and litter. Here are a few tips of things we all can do to reduce waste in three ways: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Plastic Bags are joking known as the PhiladelphiaBird, they are so littered in our city. But this is no joke, the plastic is valuable because it’s made from oil but an eyesore when it ends up in trees, fences and waterways. Do you get a bag every time you come to the store? Do you double bag with plastic bags when you have many items? What do you do with the plastic bags when you leave the store?
Tips to Reduce plastic bag usage

  • Commit to using only one plastic bag per day.
  • Carry a re-usable bag with you
  • Use products made from recycled bags


Tips to Reuse plastic bags

  • Take bags with you to the store when shopping
  • Carry plastic bag to store your personal trash while moving around the City
  • Use bags for cleaning up after your dog


Where to Recycle plastic bags
In Philadelphia plastic bags can be easily recycled. Most grocery stores have a bag bin at the front of the store to collect bags that are returned to the store. The bags are recycled into park benches, decking and other consumer products.