In 2016, Philadelphia set the ambitious goal of producing zero waste by 2035. Through the SmartCityPHL initiative, the City is looking for technology to help decrease waste, increase recycling rates, and measure the city’s progress towards a more sustainable, clean, and beautiful future.

Philadelphians produce more than two million tons of waste per year. While nearly half of that waste is recycled, the rest of it goes to landfills, burns in conventional incinerators, or pollutes our open spaces and waterways.

While we’re obviously interested in a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly city, we’re also looking to save tens of millions of dollars that the City spends cleaning up trash each year and use it to improve other services.

Recycling is one way we can preserve the earth’s natural resources, but in order to bring our waste close to zero, we have to go beyond recycling. How can technology help promote and track waste reduction efforts? Would increased awareness help consumers reduce their consumption of disposable materials? What solutions can support a dramatic shift in diverting waste away from landfills and incinerators?

The City plans to partner with a solution provider to pilot a new approach to zero waste. The Office of Innovation and Technology, with help from the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, will support the pilot project, providing access to City resources and facilitating stakeholder and community engagement.

We’re looking for technology that can help us meet our own lofty ambitions and position Philadelphia as a leader among cities striving for zero waste. If you have a solution that can help, please review our Call for Solutions and submit a Pitch & Pilot proposal before the January 16, 2020 deadline.