Clean Air Council

Waste and Recycling

Reducing waste is the most cost-effective way to protect the environment. Despite this, we still see waste and inefficiency at every level of society. From little things like store clerks automatically giving out bags to larger, structural issues like Pennsylvania refusing to update its building codes, waste and inefficiency are present throughout our society. The Council is working to improve issues like these, as well as maintain the region’s progress on recycling.


Promoting recycling has always been a central feature of the environmental movement. It’s good for the earth, and it’s something each and every one of us can do to make a difference. The Council has been behind some of the biggest recycling victories in the region over the past decade, including helping to quadruple Philadelphia’s recycling rate and Delaware’s mandatory recycling law. While we are proud of these victories, there are still improvements to be made.

Single-Use Bags

Single-use bags embody almost everything opposed by the environmental movement. They’re only used for a few minutes but can take hundreds of years to decompose, making them incredibly wasteful. They migrate via the wind and water and kill thousands of animals every year. And yet, these bags are misleadingly marketed as green and “recyclable” when in reality they can’t be recycled in the curbside recycling program. The use of most bags could be entirely avoided if people simply brought their own bags.


Idling motor vehicles are a major source of illegal and unnecessary air pollution in America. Walk down the street in any city and you’ll likely see at least one idling vehicle. In a city as large as Philadelphia, it’s a major problem. Idling from delivery trucks, city vehicles, and private cars all add up to significant emissions.

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