The Gift of Clean Streets

Just before the holiday, Mayor Kenney gave Philadelphians the gift of hope. Hope that we might finally rid ourselves of the nickname “Filthadelphia.”

By Executive Order, Kenney created the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet. Co-chaired by Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis and the Deputy Managing Director for Transportation and Infrastructure, the cabinet will be led by Nic Esposito of Parks & Rec (see also: urban farmer, writer, all-around good, green guy).

The cabinet will be tasked with reducing the 2.5 million tons of waste the city currently generates each year to zero by 2035. Within six months, Esposito and his fellow cabinet members from the city, business community, nonprofit sector are to deliver an action plan for how to tackle our infamous litter and waste problem.

According to PlanPhilly, Esposito and the cabinet will work to connect agencies to allow for more coordinated, efficient waste diversion and more sustainable procurement. There will be significant outreach to the business and residential communities to educate them on how to reduce waste—according to Greenworks, the average Philadelphian generates about 15 pounds of trash per week—and recycle properly. Enforcement will be used to punish those skirting the law, but the focus will be on proactive initiatives that educate and encourage.

With its Zero Waste plan, Philadelphia joins the likes of New York and Los Angeles who are working diligently to significantly reduce waste.

The cabinet will meet monthly and is required to implement measurable standards, demonstrate progress and produce annual reports.

Joining Esposito are:

  • Karen Fegely, Deputy Commerce Director
  • Marty Gregorski, Department of Planning and Development, Zoning Specialist
  • Will Carter, Chief of Staff to Council President
  • Fran Burns, Director of Operations, Philadelphia School District
  • Katherine Martin, Chief of Staff, Chief Integrity Officer
  • Erik Johansen, SEPTA
  • Rebecca Collins, SEPTA
  • Lorraine Ryan, PennDOT Maintenance Services Manager
  • Rodney Stith, PennDOT County Manager, Philadelphia County
  • Chuck Raudenbusch, Waste Management
  • Dave Deets, Brown’s Super Stores, Director of Store Development and Sustainability
  • Michelle Feldman, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Executive Director
  • Angela Val, Visit Philly
  • Lauren Vidas, Citizen
  • Alex Balloon, Tacony CDC

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