sustainablity & transportation

The Issue

Environmental concerns - climate change, deforestation, sustainable energy - are urgent threats to international wellbeing. Keeping in mind the global impact of our City's actions, we can establish Philadelphia as a model of sustainable practices. A Green New Deal for Philadelphia, supported by the Office of Sustainability, would decrease the City's per capita carbon footprint, increase the availability and accessibility of public and alternative transportation, and reduce the prevalence of waste, litter, and debris in Philadelphia. 


Achieve Zero Waste: Philadelphia can be the cleanest city in the world. By focusing on a number of specific issues, the City can develop effective and expedient solutions to the most basic and prevalent issues of waste. 

  • Phase out Single Use Plastics: Our planet is suffering from the use of single-use, non-biodegradable plastics. We must take an urgent approach to this problem and eliminate the use of non-biodegradable check-out bags, take out containers, and water bottles in our City. To accomplish this goal, we must work with neighborhood organizations and businesses to offer environmentally friendly alternatives to necessary plastic use. 

  • Upgrade our Recycling Program: Recycling can be both environmentally and economically friendly. Philadelphia can adopt proven practices of recycling collection that would increase revenue to the City. 

  • Modernize Trash Collection: Three person crews and manual collection of trash bags and non-uniform containers are both inefficient and dangerous to City workers. The City must move to automated and semi-automated and containerized trash collection. By doing this, we’ll free up the Streets Department Sanitation workforce to focus on other important waste reduction and litter abatement activity.

  • Measure and Manage City Waste: If it’s not measured, it cannot be managed. By establishing a TrashStat system for the City, which will compile performance metrics for all City departments and will be reviewed on a regular basis, operational and resource adjustments can be made to improve outcomes.


Increase Transit Ridership: Improving and increasing transit options and availability can lead to reduced carbon emissions and air pollution in the City. SEPTA's current plan to increase bus service is strong, though the City should also consider Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, which would help connect areas outside of Center City. Neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia, for example, are home to thousands of City residents, but receive only a fraction of the public transit options of Downtown. Increasing neighborhood connectivity can improve not only the environmental but also the social and economic wellbeing of the City. 


Reduce Congestion, Pollution, and Space Consumption: There are many policy options available to incentivice alternative to driving and to reduce congestion, pollution, and carbon emissions. These options include raising the cost of permit parking to reflect market prices; implementing congesting pricing in Greater Center City; increasing local government funding to SEPTA; establishing business-to-business sales of SEPTA passes to increase institutional and corporate involvement; and working with local and regional employers to implement flex policies that enable work-from-home options. City Council should consider some or all of these options to make Philadelphia a clean, transit-friendly City. 

Optimize and Reduce the Size of the City’s Fleet: City government cannot solve environmental concerns without addressing their own contribution to waste and pollution. By expanding vehicle and equipment-sharing between departments, and reducing reliance on City-owned non-emergency passenger vehicles by promoting other lower-cost options such as transit, bike share, or walking, the City can set an example of smart, environmentally conscious workplace options. Additionally, the City can work to introduce more renewable energy vehicles into the fleet to decrease their greenhouse gas emission contribution. 

Why Eryn

Philadelphia's ability to make substantive, observable changes to environmental impact begin with City leaders' abilities to organize and develop large scale, long term plans for Citywide sustainability. Eryn is a change agent who refuses to limit her aspirations and vision for the City of Philadelphia. To truly understand Eryn's passion for trash, listen to her speak with the hosts of Tone and Tenor on how to improve the City's trash collection. 

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Paid for by Friends of Eryn Santamoor

PO Box 56285

Philadelphia, PA 19130