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New map reveals the state of litter in Philly, block by block

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What’s the average litter rating in your neighborhood?

Screenshot via Litter Index Map

Every year, each Philly resident produces about one ton of trash—and a whole lot of it typically ends up on the street.

Now, a new interactive map lets you see just how much trash and litter your neighborhood has, just by entering your address. It’s the result of Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet’s first steps to study the litter conditions of the city’s streets, vacant lots, transit stations, and other properties.

The goal is to use the Litter Index as a baseline to help the city reach its goal of producing zero waste by 2035.

Here’s how it works: the Litter Index map provides an estimated litter count at any given property, as well as a 1 to 4 survey rating. A ranking of 1 means little to no litter; 2 means there’s litter in the amount that can be picked up by one person; 3 being litter in the amount that would need a team to clean up; and 4 being litter that would require a large cleanup effort and/or heavy machinery to remove debris.

The map really breaks down Philly’s litter problem and shows what areas have high litter counts, including Grays Ferry and neighborhoods throughout North Philly. Meanwhile, greater Center City neighborhoods fare pretty well, with the neighborhoods along the Delaware River like Old City and Society Hill ranking 1 on the Litter Index.

Large swaths of North Philly have high litter counts (seen in red).
The area around Grays Ferry has a mediocre Litter Index rating.
The Center City neighborhoods along the Delaware River, including Society Hill and Old City, have good Litter Index ratings.

But in general, there’s a whole lot of yellow on the map, which signifies a 1.75 to 2.25 ranking.

“Many of our neighborhoods still have streets and open land with trash accumulations, and it’s our goal to improve these areas,” said Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Director Nic Esposito in a statement. “We want the Litter Index to be the tool that connects residents to resources for cleaning and greening their neighborhoods.”

Don’t like what you see in your neighborhood? The map also has a sidebar that reveals your block’s trash and recycling day, the closest sanitation convenience center, and whether you have a block captain, among other information.