Philadelphia Recycling Glossary

With all sorts of terms flying around,—Recycling Alliance, Streets Department, RecycleBank, Five Point Plan—it's no wonder there's confusion. Below are some terms you might hear around town when the topic of recycling comes up.

Recycling Alliance
A coalition of organizations working to promote expanded recycling in Philadelphia. RecycleNOW is an activist campaign of the Alliance.
Recycle Bank
The for-profit company founded and based in Philadelphia that provides coupons worth up to $400 a year per household. Each household is assigned a 96 gallon recycling bin with a unique barcode. Bins are collected weekly, weighed and RecycleBank dollars credited to each based on the quantity of recyclables collected. The pilot program in the Chestnut Hill and West Oak Lane sections of Philadelphia have been wildly successful, yet the city refuses to expand the program citywide.
The RAC
The Recycling Advisory Committee is comprised of members from environmental organizations and the private waste sector, and is responsible for advising the city on recycling issues. The city has ignored the RAC for many years now. More often than not, information is passed from the Streets Department to the RAC, instead of the other way around.
Recycling Advocate's Toolkit
A toolkit developed by RecycleNOW to help tenants and employees start a recycling program in their office, apartment building or condominium. You can download the toolkit and sign up to be an advocate here.
Waste Management
The company that processes the City of Philadelphia's recycling.
Streets Department
The Sanitation Division of the Streets Department is responsible for the collection of trash and recycling.
Clarena Tolson
The Commissioner of the Streets Department.
David Biddle
The city's current Recycling Coordinator. Read an interview with Mr. Biddle in the June 2010 RecycleNOW Newsletter.
Controllerís Report
Issued by city Controller Jonathon Saidel in 2004 that concluded a yearly savings of $17 million if the city met the 35%-40% recycling rate mandated by law. View it here.
17%
The current recycling diversion rate in Philadelphia. The diversion rate is the percent of all the refuse collected curbside that is diverted to recycling. The rest is incinerated or landfilled.
Five Point Plan
The plan endorsed by mayoral candidates Michael Nutter and Al Taubenberger to improve recycling by the end their administrationís first term.  View it here.