By Kurt Sweet, RecycleDelphia
Every morning, we pull out of our driveways or parking spots and make our way through the ever-changing landscape of the city. And it’s not always pretty. Trash, abandoned cars, and more than ever… tires. They are piling up everywhere and nowhere is safe. You don’t have to look hard to find them. Tires are dumped illegally in every area of the city, near our waterways, in our parks and playgrounds, in parking lots and under bridges, and they are very easy to spot. They contribute to the blight that comes with illegal dumping, and become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes and shelter for dangerous and disease-carrying wildlife, and the smell! It’s time to take action, and the city recognizes this.
In the year 2017, The City of Philadelphia spent nearly 7 million dollars in illegal waste site cleanup. Tires were prevalent in over 70% of these sites and are the costliest to dispose of. RecycleDelphia, a new company in Southwest Philadelphia will save the city nearly $5 million in cleanup costs over the next 3 years, eventually reducing the instance of tire dumping to near zero.
The idea for RecycleDelphia came from a need caused by illegal dumping on a property that affected our CEO, Rodney Christian, directly. Over 80,000 tires were disposed of illegally on his father’s property, resulting in fines and the threat of other financial and punitive action. Rodney was faced with the task of properly disposing of these tires and turned it into a learning experience. During this time, Rodney learned that the cost of disposal, combined with a lack of appropriate facilities to dispose of waste tires in Philadelphia was a major cause of illegal dumping. Since then, Rodney has dedicated his time to finding a solution to one of Philadelphia’s fastest-growing crises. Rodney turned this into an opportunity to solve a complex problem that causes major blight, health and safety hazards, and destroys our communities, while also offering a benefit to the community.
The primary objective of RecycleDelphia is to remediate waste tires that are generated by tire dealers and other businesses that often find their way to illegal dumpsites, including our parks and woodland areas, waterways, sidewalks, and roadsides. RecycleDelphia will eliminate illegal tire disposal by becoming a catalyst for change in the waste tire disposal business.
“How we plan to accomplish this change,” says CEO Rodney Christian, “is to offer a first of its kind disposal facility in the City of Philadelphia. This facility allows waste haulers and tire dealers a local, compliant and cost-efficient destination for waste tires. Our facility is in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia, and our disposal fees will be well below the competition, offering waste haulers a level of profitability that hasn’t been seen in over a decade.”
The by-products that come from tire recycling can be used as a base for road and building construction, alternative fuels that replace fossil fuels, material for landscaping, park and playground equipment padding, rubber flooring and hundreds of other products. RecycleDelphia manufactured products will enhance our communities while providing safety for our children, seniors and other members within our neighborhoods.
“This means jobs,” says James Bishop, Director of Community Engagement. James has been tasked with creating a public information campaign focused on community inclusion partnerships designed to clear stockpiles of tires from neighborhoods. “Inclusion and collaboration with the community is the cornerstone of our business” While this is a city-wide initiative, RecycleDelphia is committed to our highest needs and hardest-hit communities. “Parts of the southwest are littered with literally tens of thousands of tires and other waste that has no place in our community,” said James.
RecycleDelphia will work with members and leaders of the community to identify illegal dump sites that contain tires and other solid waste and devise a plan to remove the tires from these sites as well as other solid waste through coordination with other local waste management companies. “The best way to do this is by enhancing the community we serve by offering jobs that provide a living wage to those that need them the most” Lynn Peterson, Director of Business Development asserts. “By utilizing workforce development programs such as CareerLink and Philly Works and the Fair Chance Hiring Initiative offered by the Mayor’s office, we are offering jobs where it matters”.
RecycleDelphia Director of Operations Kurt Sweet states, “We can expect growth in 3 phases over the next 3 years, boosting the local economy by giving preference to Philadelphians first in direct hire and contract assignment. Serving our community is at the forefront of everything we do”.
“This is in line with the city’s Zero Waste and Litter Initiative, which aims to reduce waste created in the city over 90% by the year 2035,” said Bishop. This is an opportunity to increase spending in the community where funds were not available before. According to Sweet, “While we are focused on a single stream of waste, RecycleDelphia will have a meaningful and immediate impact on all streams of illegal waste disposal”
RecycleDelphia’s benefit to the community is beyond profits. RecycleDelphia is committed to the purposeful, economical, responsible and compliant use of waste tires and enhancing our community by clearing waste, blight, safety and health hazards from our beautiful, historic city.
Look for RecycleDelphia in your neighborhood soon, when they launch their community campaign. For more information contact: https://www.recycledelphia.com/contact. (215) 778-1887