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FAQ

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions prepared to assist you. If you have specific questions, please contact a Recycling Specialist at 215-686-5444.

Recycling Plan

Why do I have to fill out the Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan?  

  • The City of Philadelphia has updated the Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan from the old paper form to a streamlined electronic version. To ensure the Recycling Office has the most complete information all businesses are required to submit the new electronic plan.
  • Recycling within businesses has been the law throughout Philadelphia since 1994. It is required under Pennsylvania Act 101 and City Ordinance 1251(A). Compliance requires:
  • Filing a Recycling Plan on-line which includes accurate and complete information.
  • Post the Certificate in a conspicuous location and ensure it is readily available for inspection upon request.
  • Distribute pertinent information included in the Recycling Plan to each employee/ tenant to ensure awareness regarding the materials recycled and method for collection.
  • Actively comply with the provisions in the Recycling Plan established for the building which includes proper recycling of the required materials generated within normal operation.
What information do I need to complete the recycling plan?  

  • Each business will need the BR T # to fill out the form. Your BR T # can be found on the envelope you received the mailing in, or you can look it up through the BR T web site at brtweb.phila.gov.
  • Your hauler service information, including your account number.
  • Property owner/ manager information.
  • Types of materials you recycle due to generation within daily practices.
If I did not receive a letter from the City, how do I fill out the new Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan?  

  • The first step is to visit the web site which will direct you to the form, http://www.phila.gov/streets/CRPlan. Please read the letter on the opening page and at the bottom click on the "Fill the Form" button.
  • This brings you to an online form where you need to provide information regarding your management, business type, materials recycled within the business and the hauler information. At the bottom of the form page is a button, "click to submit and print", please be sure to click this button.
  • Once you click on this button you will be unable to make changes to the information submitted. The information compiled will appear in the certificate printed.
  • The certificate must be posted within the business in order to gain compliance.
I cannot get online to fill out the plan/ don’t understand how to fill out the plan.  

  • You can use your local branch of the Philadelphia Library to access the Internet.
  • Ask a family member or friend with Internet experience to assist you.
  • Please call (215) 686-5444 and someone will help you with the plan now if you have your BRT # (which is with your mailing address on the envelope the letter came in) and you need to have your hauler information available.
What do I do if I make changes within my business and need to alter the Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan I already filed?  

Please email [email protected] to make the appropriate alterations.

Do I still have to fill out the new electronic form if I already filled out the old form?  

Yes. We are in the process of updating our database to verify that you are in compliance. Failure to file the new electronic plan is equivalent to non-compliance and may result in a citation.

Business Recycling How To

Business Recycling How -To: What materials do I have to recycle?   

You are required to recycle any mandated recyclable materials that are generated within the normal operation of your business. For most, this includes; paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal cans. If your business generates additional items on a regular basis such as concrete, lumber, motor oil or food waste then you must also recycle them appropriately.
Do I have to use the same hauler for my trash and recycling?  

Not necessarily.

  • If you have private hauler service you should contact your hauler for further information. The hauler will determine ability to use separate service.
  • If the City of Philadelphia picks up your trash then the city services your location for recycling.
Do I have to/ Can I put all my recyclables together for my business like I do at home?  

That depends upon your hauler service. If the City of Philadelphia picks up your trash, then the city services your location for recycling which means you can set your materials out for single stream curbside collection just as the residences throughout the city do. 

If you have a private hauler service for trash then you must have private hauler collection service for recycling. Contact your hauler to decide the best method for collection based on your business needs.
Am I able to mix my trash and recycling together and have a service in which the hauler separates the recycling from the trash for my business off site later?  

Absolutely not. Currently there is not a facility on the East Coast licensed or capable of separating the recycling from the trash. The separation must happen at your business and hauled away separately. Your recycling and trash cannot be collected together in one container and then separated from one another at an off site location.

Can I just take my trash and recyclables home?  

No. Under the City of Philadelphia Regulations you cannot take materials from your business to your residence for disposal. Refuse must be set out at the location where it is generated. Properties deemed non-compliant are subject to all the applicable fines and penalties.
Can I bring my trash and recycling to a waste facility on my own?  

No. Under the Commercial Regulations you cannot. You must be a licensed hauler registered with the City of Philadelphia to haul trash/ recycling. A hauler license is required for transporting your recyclables or waste to a recycling facility or landfill. The disposal locations will not allow unlicensed private vehicles onto the premises.
How can I make a request for educational assistance regarding compliance under the Recycling Regulations?  

You can email [email protected] with the request.

Compliance Info

What if I do not recycle?   

You are required to recycle all of the mandated materials that you generate within the normal daily operation of your business. If your business does generate recyclables then all aspects of the Recycling Regulations must be met, which includes: submitting and posting the completed Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan, informing the employees/tenants of the materials and locations for recycling, maintaining the proper containers to keep the recyclables separate from the trash and sustaining an active means to recycle. Non-compliance may result in a citation.
I do not have space for a dumpster at my business location; do I still have to recycle?  

Yes. You are required to recycle all of the mandated materials you generate regardless of space. If your business has implementation challenges please email [email protected] or call (215) 686-5444 for suggestions and assistance.
Can I request an exemption from recycling for my business?  

All businesses must now make the appropriate provisions for recycling the mandated materials generated within the normal daily operations. Although an exemption was available in the past, recycling outlets are now available to all businesses.
The letter I received from the City indicates I need to distribute "appropriate information" to my "employees/ tenants", what does this information consist of?  

All employees/ tenants must understand the need to recycle and the means to recycle within the location. Examples of appropriate information could be either a memo or e-mail indicating the materials and locations for recycling. Another example is a flyer around the trash/ recycling receptacles informing the employees where to dispose of certain materials.

Why did I receive a ticket?  

You received a ticket due to failure to comply with State and City law. You may continue to receive a citation until you are within compliance.
I filed the electronic copy of the Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan and printed out the certificate acknowledging my business has submitted a plan with the City of Philadelphia Recycling Office, what do I do with the certificate after I print it?  

Keep it clearly posted, probably with the other certifications the building/ business is required to have for operation. This is often in the property management/ general manager's office area. It is important to inform staff where the certificate is posted in the event your location is inspected by a SWEEP officer.

What if I do not fill out the form after receiving the letter?  

If your business location has not submitted the completed Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan electronically within thirty days of receiving the letter your location can be deemed non-compliant and subject to all the applicable fines and penalties.
Under what circumstances might my business receive a citation?  

The officer may have visited your location and the inspection did not reveal the appropriate recycling practices in place, the proper containers for recycling available, the proper education material for staff or any indicator that the business is not in compliance with the Commercial Recycling Regulations. The citation may have been generated because your location failed to meet the Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Plan filing requirement within the thirty-day deadline.
How do I dispute a recycling citation?  

To dispute a citation, please follow the directions available on the back of the citation listed by the Bureau of Adjudication (BAA). You may also contact the BAA directly at 215-686-1584.

Hauler Information

Is my business eligible for City collection of my trash and recyclables?  

Eligibility is based on quantity, frequency and type.
  • The set out quantity limitations for trash are no more than 6 containers or 12 bags or a proportionate combination of the two for City of Philadelphia collection. There is no limit on the volume of recycling which can be set out.
  • The location must not require collection frequency more than once per week. Example: Restaurants with food waste require collection more than once per week and are therefore not eligible for City collection.
  • The location is not eligible for City collection if there are more than 6 units within or if the location receives private hauler service in any form. Example: If any unit in the building contracts for private hauler service then the entire building is not eligible for city collection and must contract for waste and recycling collection through a private hauler.
  • Certain types of business are not eligible for City collection. Manufacturers, wholesalers, gas stations and automotive repair shops are not eligible for City collection service and must use a private hauler.
How do I know if my Condo Building can receive City of Philadelphia collection?  

Properties zoned Condominium or Cooperative should contact the Condo Specialist Tamalar Geiger regarding an application for collection services. She may be reached at (215) 686-7813 or [email protected].
What must I do to become a licensed hauler in the City of Philadelphia?  

  • Fill out and submit the Waste License Application which is available through the Dept. of License and Inspections.
  • The license must be renewed yearly. Renewal is dependent upon successful submission of the annual Waste Hauler Report available through the Streets Department Recycling Office