Citizens Are Urged to “Pile on More Plastics” by Adding Household Plastics
Labeled #3 through #7 to Their Recycling Set Outs

Philadelphia, August 31, 2010 – Today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter heralded the expansion of the City’s Recycling Program to include all household plastics containers labeled #3 through #7. The Streets Department’s Sanitation Division now collects these household materials as part of its weekly, single stream recycling collection. Residents are able to add these items to the recyclables they set out along with paper, glass, metal, cardboard, #1 and #2 plastics already collected at curbside. The event was held on the 2600 block of S. Chadwick St. in South Philadelphia, the region of the city with the highest recycling diversion rate (the amount of recyclable materials that are diverted away from landfills), 30%.

The addition of #3 through #7 plastics supports Philadelphia’s goal of becoming the “greenest” city in America. For FY ‘10, the City’s diversion rate was 15.7%, meaning that 99,445 tons of waste had been recycled rather than landfilled. That is a 32% increase in recycling rates over FY ‘09. The City’s recycling rates continue to rise. In July 2010 the City diverted 16.8% of its waste or 9,544 tons. This reflects a 12% increase in the recycling rate over the same month last year. Every ton of waste diverted from landfills saves the City approximately $68. The City is also paid $51 per ton for recycling, resulting in a benefit of more than $100 per ton of recycling to the City’s budget.

“Recycling really is green. Not only is it better for the environment, but recycling actually earns the City money,” said Mayor Nutter. “Now that residents can recycle plastics #3 to #7 as well, the benefits to both everyday citizens and the City as a whole will only grow.”

“We are excited to provide another opportunity for Philadelphia to collect and divert even more valuable commodities from our waste streams,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena I. Tolson. “The City continues to save more and now it is even easier for residents to recycle more materials.”

Increasing the amount of materials accepted for recycling is an important step towards achieving the goals established in GreenWorks, the City’s plan to make Philadelphia the most sustainable city in America, of diverting 20% of the City’s waste by 2011 and 25% by 2015. The expansion of the City’s single stream recycling program to include these additional materials will help the City achieve and hopefully exceed those goals.

To learn which items are recyclable and acceptable for City collection, residents can look for the plastic products code, usually on the bottom of the container. Typical #3 through #7 items are listed below:
Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles
Squeezable lotion and sunscreen tubes
Plastic tubs and lids from butter/margarine, yogurt containers, deli trays
Plastic cups, plates and clear to-go containers
Mixed plastic containers usually labeled as “other”

In addition to the household plastics, residents can continue to recycle certain types of metal, glass, mixed paper and cardboard:
Metal: tin and aluminum cans, empty aerosol cans and empty paint cans
Glass: jars and bottles
Certain types of mixed paper: newspaper, magazines, mail (junk and personal), phone books, food boxes (remove plastic liner), computer paper, flyers, wrapping paper (no foil or plastic wrap), soda and beer cartons
Cardboard: empty and flattened

Materials still not accepted for recycling collection include styrofoam products, plastic bags, PVC piping and packing inserts or “peanuts”.

Almost every household plastic and consumer packaging product found on store shelves are now accepted for collection in the City of Philadelphia. Residents can set out more recyclables and earn even more rewards by participating in the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program. The program allows residents with City provided recycling collection to earn points that can be redeemed for discounts, full-value gift cards or charitable contributions at hundreds of local and national stores. The full citywide rollout of the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program was completed in July and ensures valuable rewards and savings for every Philadelphian with city recycling service.

To learn more about the city’s newest additions to its Recycling Program and to sign-up for Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program, please visit or call the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Customer Affairs Unit at 1-888-769-7960. For more information on how to recycle, please contact the Streets Department Customer Affairs Unit at 215-686-5560. For all City services, please call 3-1-1.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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