The City of Philadelphia has spent the last several years working to make Philly a more eco-conscious town. But it’s not up to City Hall alone. Below, some ideas to make our homes, neighborhoods and city a little greener.
Have more tips? Let us know!
In Your Neighborhood
- Request a free street tree. This couldn’t be easier: Go to TreePhilly’s website and fill out an online form requesting the city plant a tree on your sidewalk. Parks&Rec will send out a contractor to inspect your property, and leave you a “Planting Permission Form” to mail in. (This ensures only property owners are making the request.) In spring or fall, a private contractor will jackhammer your sidewalk; plant a tree; leave you care instructions; and come back for a year to water it.
- Start a community garden. PHS offers trainings on how to do it. There might already be a community garden in your neighborhood that you can become a part of; check this map to see where the nearest garden is.
- Tell your neighbors about TreePhilly. Print out the request form and drop it off in their mail slots.
- Get a free trash can for your block. Live on a block with a lot of foot traffic, corner stores, or other causes of litter? A public trash can could be the solution. Become a block captain and get a can for free!
- Hold a tree planting day—to coincide with the giveaways—with volunteers who will plant trees for residents who want one, but aren’t able (or don’t want) to do the work. PHS has trainings, an online guide, and even online videos to help get you up to speed.
- Hold a neighborhood cleanup. First read Keep Philadelphia Beautiful’s detailed guide for hosting a clean up day on your block. Then request free supplies from City Hall.
- Join a Civic Association. Some neighborhoods, like University City and Newbold, have robust greening groups that you can join. Others, not so much. Track down your local Civic Association and ask to form a neighborhood greening committee.
- Get a mural in your neighborhood. Have a big wall that needs some love? Apply to have a mural painted by the Mural Arts Program. But don’t expect it to be easy: It is competitive and expensive, so start the fundraising early.
- Sponsor your own Neat Streets campaign. Neat Streets is a program out of the UK that uses creative methods to combat litter. Learn how to create your own program in your neighborhood.
- Adopt a street or area in Philadelphia. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will help recognize your volunteer efforts to keep a street or area clean by posting signs in recognition of you or your group. You can even adopt a school zone to help improve the quality and appearance of your local school.
In Your City
- Become a volunteer Tree Tender to help plant yard trees all over the city.
- Call 311 to report a tree that needs care, illegal dumping, graffiti, vacant lots, potholes, and more. You can also report problems online or via email or via the 311 mobile app (on iTunes and Google Play).
- Shop local. Buy summer produce at a local farmers market, urban farm Greensgrow, or join one of the city’s many CSAs, summer or winter.
- Shop sustainable. Find local companies that have signed on to an environmentally-conscious business model at the Sustainable Business Network.
Special thanks to Philadelphia Horticultural Society and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful for help developing this guide.