Philly Sustainability Programs to Help You Go Green

Philly is on track to be one of the greenest cities in the country. To do that, it offers a number of sustainability programs to residents. Find out how you can help reduce stormwater issues or add a bit of green to where you live.

Philadelphia has a goal. It aims to be the greenest city in the country. The Greenworks Philadelphia plan, released in 2009, laid out a framework for making the city a greener place. The plan lists a total of 15 targets that the city hopes to hit, which focus on things such as reducing car miles, increasing the number of green jobs, and making homes in Philadelphia more energy efficient. Several sustainability programs in Philly, available for free or at a reduced cost, can help make the city a greener place.

Rain Check

Target 8 of the Greenworks plan is to manage stormwater in a way that meets federal standards, by creating 3,200 acres of greenspace in the city. Overseen by the Water Department, the Rain Check program aims to help homeowners manage stormwater on their property. The program, which is available to residents citywide, has a number of components. It provides a free rain barrel and installation to all participants. It also gives residents the option of having a rain garden installed, having a concrete yard de-paved, or having permeable pavers installed to replace a solid, non-permeable surface. The cost of the permeable pavers, de-paving, or rain garden is subsided by the Water Department, which will pay up to $2,000 total per project.

To participate in the Rain Check program, you need to sign up for a workshop. During the workshop, which lasts for about an hour, you’ll learn more about the options available, have a chance to ask questions, and have the opportunity to sign up for installation of a rain barrel or a consultation with a contractor.

Recycling Rewards

The seventh target of the Greenworks plan is to divert at least 70 percent of solid waste from landfills. Philly has a few sustainability programs that focus on recycling and reducing the amount of stuff people throw in the trash. You can recycle a lot with the curbside recycling program, from a variety of plastic containers to metals and from glass to paper and cardboard. To make sure you’re recycling what can be recycled, it’s a good idea to review the list of what the city does and doesn’t accept.

To encourage more recycling, the city has a Recycling Rewards program. When you sign up for the program, you’re given a sticker to put on your recycling bin. Every time your bin is collected, you earn points based on how many people in your neighborhood recycled. You can use the points to cash in on rewards, such as gift cards, coupons, and sweepstakes entries.

Free Trees

Target 11 of the plan is to increase tree coverage by 30 percent citywide by 2025. To help do that, the city has a few programs that give out free trees to homeowners. If you own a home, you can ask the Department of Parks and Recreation to plant a free street tree on the curb in front of your house. After you make the request, an arborist will visit your property and determine whether the area in front of your home is suitable for a tree and, if approved, what species of tree will do best.

The yard tree program is similar, but a little more hands on. In the spring, you can pick up a tree, for free, from Tree Philly, to plant in your yard. A variety of species are available, from smaller fruit trees to larger shade trees.

So far, the city is on track to hit many of its targeted goals. Participating in its sustainability programs will bring everyone one step closer to a greener Philly.

Image Source: Flickr/barbndc

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