Improve Philadelphia Sanitation Department service

Improve Philadelphia Sanitation Department service

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Dramatic, intentional efforts to improve operations must be made, prioritizing short-term improvements for the summer months to avoid health risks, mitigate environmental degradation, and ensure sidewalks and streets are accessible and navigable. 

The City must address operational efficiency and reliability for Philadelphia Streets Sanitation Division.

Given the budgetary and logistical challenges posed by COVID, the City is in a unique position to model a new standard in sanitation services by considering both traditional and creative solutions, including:

  1. Increase part-time and/or full-time head count for neighborhoods with increased curb-side pickup demand
  2. Decrease route lengths and/or add trucks to shorten collection routes
  3. Implement a process to manage allocated resources with the ability to dynamically reallocate capacities to shifts/routes with increased refuse volume
  4. Provide increased compensation or benefits for sanitation workers. Their service is essential, and the city's appreciation should be meaningful and tangible
  5. Expand availability of public trash cans and install recycling bins on sidewalks in areas with heavy foot traffic
  6. Provide community refuse consolidation areas, re-purposing paved areas with lowered utilization due to COVID (e.g. large parking lots). These areas should be outfitted with sufficient capacity for non-bulk trash and recycling
  7. Trash/recycling consolidation points along primary/secondary thoroughfares to shorten the length of routes driven. Include clear signage for residents to be able to pool trash and recycling and make collection more efficient 
  8. Engage City residents to encourage efficient trash/recycling practices (e.g. using garbage disposals if available for food waste)
  9. Consider expanding composting programs, supporting efforts with educational outreach and registering participants to ensure proper composting practices are observed. This would offset food-waste and decrease trash volume.
  10. Dedicate trucks to second-passes for collecting larger waste items to reduce truck-fill rate.
  11. Add regular street cleaning to reduce the amount of loose trash on streets.

Improvements have to be implemented immediately to avoid substantial impact to resident health and well-being in the coming months.