Recycling & Clean-up
The Streets Department sponsors many programs that are integral to making Philadelphia and its watersheds a cleaner and better place to live.
View below to learn more about some of the programs that the Streets Department and its partners support:
Trash & Recyclable Materials Collection
Philadelphia collects both trash and recycling on the same day. For recycling, you can use any sturdy plastic or metal container that holds 32 gallons or less; just mark it with the word "RECYCLING" on its side. If one bin is not enough to hold all recyclables, simply add another one. Remember, all recycling in Philadelphia is now single stream, meaning you can put all your recyclables together in one bin - cans, glass, mixed paper, cardboard and most plastic containers – no need to sort or separate them. Click here to learn about what you can recycle and other details.
Know your trash collection day
Visit http://citymaps.phila.gov, and type in your address in the search bar to find out your trash and recycling day.
The City observes 11 holidays when trash and recycling collection will be one day behind schedule for the remainder of the week. This does not include disturbances from weather and road closures. To find the holiday collection schedule click here.
Like residential trash collection and recycling, commercial collection has its own set of rules and regulations including timetables, required containers, instructions for disposing of specific kinds of waste and debris, and much more. Click here to learn more.
Hazardous Waste Collection
Handling and disposing of hazardous waste materials requires a special set of regulations due to the potential damage they can cause to people, pets and the environment.
The City holds several Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) events each year at various locations. To learn more about what kind of materials are accepted at HHW Events and when and where they occur, click here.
Leaf, Grass-Clipping & Christmas Tree Collection
The City no longer provides mechanical leaf collection service. This includes leaf blowers, mechanical sweepers and vacuums. Leaves must be placed out in biodegradable brown paper bags alongside regular rubbish collections. Bagged leaves will be separated and composted. By using biodegradable bags, you will help crews work more efficiently and more easily identify your bags as leaves. This helps to eliminate the extensive process of ripping open, dumping, and disposing of plastic bags. Leaves set out in other bags or containers may be collected as rubbish. Landscapers and leaf cleaning services should remove and dispose of leaves privately.
The City highly supports grass-cycling,recycling grass clippings by leaving them on your lawn instead of raking them up for disposal. By grass-cycling, you can cut down on mowing time, spend less money, and reduce waste. To learn more about grass-cycling, click here.
Bagged Leaf Drive
Philly's Bagged Leaf Drive needs you!
By doing your part you'll help the City save money, free up landfill space and give our composting program a huge boost.
Follow these steps to recycle your leaves:
- From November 8 to December 17, set leaf bags next to trash and recyclables on your regular trash day
- Use only brown paper leaf bags*
- They get recycled along with the leaves, saving time and labor costs
- Leaves in plastic trash bags will be collected as trash, not recycling
- Do not mix trash or other recyclables with leaves
- Set out as many bags as you need, maximum 40 lbs. per bag
- Set out no later than 7:00 AM on your collection day
- Mechanical leaf collection will not be available
- You can also drop your bagged leaves off at one of our Sanitation Convenience Centers
During this six-week program, we will collect and compost them to fertilize gardens and nourish trees. So throw yourself into it. The more leaves you bag, the more compost to spread around. And that's good for everyone.
Fallen leaves shouldn't go to waste. Let's work together to make this Bagged Leaf Drive another victory for recycling and our UnLitter Us Campaign!
*Recyclable paper leaf bags are available at most home improvement and hardware stores, and at many grocery stores.
Questions? Call 311.
Christmas Trees Collection
- The City will usually pick up trees for disposal the second week in January. Please check here for exact dates.
- There will be NO curbside collection of Christmas trees for recycling purposes.
- Citizens who wish to drop off their tree for recycling may take it to the Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers located at 3033 South 63rd Street; Domino Lane and Umbria Street; or State Road and Ashburner Street during this week only. The sites are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
- Christmas trees should be free of all decorations, ornaments, any plastic bags or wrappings and untied.
Streets Department employees get ready for snow removal by stockpiling thousands of tons of salt, sand, and chemicals at strategic locations. In addition, equipment is tested on dry runs, employees are given special training, snow routes are driven, and private individuals and companies with heavy equipment are contracted and placed on standby in case they are needed to help with snow removal.
Within six hours of the end of a snowfall or freezing rain, residents and businesses must clear a path at least 30 inches wide on your sidewalk. Do not shovel or sweep the snow into the street. The penalty for violating this regulation can range from a minimum fine of $50 up to $300 for each violation.
To report a road or sidewalk that has not been cleared, residents can call the Streets Department Customer Affairs Unit at (215) 686-5560. For all City services dial 3-1-1.
For more information on snow emergencies and snow routes, click here.
The Philadelphia Streets Department is proud to announce UnLitter Us, the first sustained public service campaign to rid our City of litter once and for all. The same litter that blights neighborhoods, hurts business, and keeps people down. We won't put up with it anymore. Philadelphia deserves better, and the Streets Department stands firm in its commitment to attack litter on every front.
Many of you already work hard within your own communities to fight litter. You’ve told us how frustrating it is when other residents don’t support your efforts by simply picking up after themselves. Now help is here in the form a massive citywide anti-litter initiative. We’re with you, and our goal is a city united behind us. If each person just did a little (saved that food wrapper for the waste basket, tied up their trash properly, used an approved dump site), it would mean so much. We can do this. Now is the time for all of us to stand up, speak up and join the movement for a litter-free Philly.
To learn more about the UnLitter Us campaign, click here.
Philadelphia Recycling Rewards
Recycling continuously rewards us by conserving natural resources and saving the City money. Now you can also earn personal rewards just for recycling regularly and right. With the new Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program, powered by RecycleBank, the more you and your neighbors recycle the more rewards points you earn. Redeem them for valuable gift cards, gift certificates, discounts and more. To start earning reward points, place a bar-coded rewards sticker on any bin that stores recyclables. We’ll scan it each time you recycle, and you’ll watch those rewards points add up!
To sign up for the program and earn 100 bonus RecycleBank points or to learn more, click here.
Philly Throws Green
Philly Throws Green is a new city program that will help keep our streets cleaner, save money and improve the environment. It's made possible by these super high-tech trash and recycling bins, the most advanced and most efficient in the world. You'll be seeing them on street corners throughout downtown Philadelphia.
To learn more about this program, click here.
Philly Spring Cleanup
Philly Spring Cleanup is a part of the national Great American Cleanup. This event encourages residents and organizations to sustain the effort toward a cleaner and brighter Philadelphia. Kickoff celebration sites are held in various locations throughout the City. Block Captains from numerous neighborhoods inspire residents to work tirelessly to transform littered and desolate blocks into some of the best streets in Philadelphia. The 2010 theme was “Keep Up the Sweep Up,” and it speaks to sustainability, quality of life and civic pride. City residents and organizations become involved in the 2010 Philly Spring Cleanup by registering as a project site or volunteer through the www.PhillySpringCleanup.com website. The 2010 Philly Spring Cleanup was a huge success. More than a million pounds of trash was collected, cleaning almost 800 blocks, and removing almost 7,000 tires. To learn more about the 2010 Philly Spring Cleanup and past cleanups, click here.