Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia’s Waste Watchers Initiative, which promotes conscious waste disposal at citywide events, will now include the Blue Cross Broad Street Run on Sunday, May 4, 2014. This expansion is supported by a Cities of Service Impact Volunteer Fund grant, which supports mayors who are implementing “impact volunteering” strategies that tackle pressing local challenges.
“Strategically wielding the power of volunteer service is critical as cities address challenges with limited resources,” said Mayor Nutter. “I strongly believe that developing volunteerism within city governments helps mayors launch innovative programs, grow civic engagement and build resilient communities. The Waste Watchers initiative works towards one of my key priorities: making the City of Philadelphia the greenest, most sustainable city in America.”
In 2013, the Waste Watchers initiative was present at the Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon and helped the event attain an 86% waste diversion rate. As a result, the Marathon received a ReSport Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for the second year in a row. Because of the great success with the Philadelphia Marathon, the Waste Watchers initiative is planning to be involved in additional high profile, city-wide events including: Blue Cross Broad Street Run, Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival, Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts – to help Philadelphia meet its target of 70% overall waste diversion, set out in Greenworks, the city’s nationally recognized sustainability plan.
Public events in Philadelphia attract thousands of visitors to the city, but also produce as many as 6 tons of waste per event. The Waste Watchers initiative recruits and trains volunteers to help event attendees to Philadelphia’s public events sort waste, in order to divert as much as possible from landfills. By helping event goers sort their trash, recyclables, and compost into the right containers, Waste Watcher volunteers keep the streets of Philadelphia clean and welcoming, reduce the amount of trash city events send to the landfill and educate event goers about waste management.
To maximize the impact of Waste Watcher volunteers, the program will strategically recruit volunteers from districts with low curbside recycling rates and/or self-identify as having little to prior knowledge of the economic and environmental benefits of recycling. The program will invite trained volunteers to pledge to help family and friends recycle and share information about City recycling incentives with the goal of raising awareness among populations that the City’s existing education efforts have not yet reached.
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund is a multi-million dollar fund. Nearly $1 million was awarded through the first round of grants in October 2012, with an additional $1 million awarded through this second round. Grantee cities were selected based on the quality of initiative proposals, scale and potential for impact, and caliber of implementation plans. Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund initiatives address issues in the Cities of Service priority areas of education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans.
The Waste Watchers initiative is managed and implemented in the City of Philadelphia by a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement & Volunteer Service, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Office of the City Representative.
For more information on the Waste Watchers initiative or how to become a Waste Watchers volunteer please visit www.servephiladelphia.com.
For more information on the Philadelphia Greenworks plan visit http://www.phila.gov/green/.