PHILADELPHIA – The City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet today released its first Municipal Building Waste Audit Report. The report provides insights from the first two years of the program’s implementation including data analysis. It also provides recommendations for how the Cabinet can continue to promote sustainable waste management practices in Philadelphia’s City-owned and operated facilities.

“When it comes to recycling and other practices that divert waste away from the trash, municipal agencies should not only comply, but should lead by example,” said Nic Esposito, Director of the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet. “The Municipal Building Waste Audit is one more way we are moving Philadelphia toward our ambitious goal of becoming Zero Waste and litter-free by 2035.”

The Municipal Building Waste Audit Program requires all City-owned facilities to submit a waste audit form annually to report on which materials the facility generates, the waste haulers servicing the facility, and any waste-related challenges. The program aims to get building operators and staff to think more about the waste they generate while engaging City employees in Philadelphia’s Zero Waste movement.

In 2018, 392 City-owned and operated buildings — representing a 75 percent submission rate — completed waste audits as part of the program. A selection of outcomes from the report include:

  • Securing new contracts for recycling construction and demolition debris and waste cooking oil.
  • Combining the City’s electronic waste and universal waste contracts to streamline the recycling process for these materials.
  • Establishing composting systems and other waste reduction and diversion programs on-site at City facilities.
  • Increasing outreach to City departments with information about recycling requirements and best practices, proper disposal and recycling contracts and procedures, and how to divert new materials from the trash. This information was also made easily accessible on
  • Installation of new waste corrals to cut down on illegal dumping at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation sites.

The report also includes insights from each City department participating in the program outlining their unique waste challenges, takeaways, and opportunities for improvement.

Building managers who go above and beyond to pursue Zero Waste in their buildings and complete monthly reporting can achieve recognition through the Cabinet’s Zero Waste Partnership Program. So far, 50 municipal buildings consistently report on their monthly waste generation. To date, those buildings have reported an average monthly waste diversion rate of 21 percent.

“We’re glad to lead by example in this effort and assess our waste management practices on an ongoing basis,” said Steve Hartner, Deputy Commissioner of Facilities for the City’s Department of Public Property. “Working with our operations and custodial staff to track waste, making sure they have what they need, and that they are reporting any waste and recycling issues in our buildings goes a long way toward helping us better understand and reduce our waste.”

The program, which was modeled after Philadelphia’s commercial waste reporting requirements, shows that the City is leading by example to inspire other buildings and institutions to do the same. Asking City departments and agencies to take a yearly assessment of their waste management practices and identify potential areas for improvement allows the City to continually improve it practices and lead by example in its efforts to advance toward its Zero Waste goals.

To download the full report, click here.

About the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet
Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet is an interdepartmental effort to continually reduce the amount of waste entering landfills or conventional incinerators, combat litter, and enhance the cleanliness of streets and public spaces. Composed of major City departments and agencies, City Council representatives, community stakeholders, and chaired by the Managing Director’s Office, the Cabinet works across five target areas to make Philadelphia a less littered, Zero Waste city.