Better Days

Illustration by Mike Jackson

On Dec. 31, I resolved to build the next year around sustainability. A lot of people talk about it, but I was finding that few people actually lived it — myself included. I wanted to set an example and share what I learned with those around me. So, I embarked on 365 days of putting each area of my life under a microscope.

It was a lesson in going without, and learning to love a slower, simpler way of life. To begin, I researched and swapped household products for more sustainable, less toxic options. I signed up for Bennett Compost to keep food waste out of the landfill, continued my Greensgrow CSA, started volunteering at Greensgrow, switched from PECO to Green Mountain Energy, and cut myself off from buying any new clothing, a tough feat for a woman who works in the fashion industry.

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Recycle Your Christmas Tree

When your Christmas tree needles begin to fall this year, don’t throw your tree curbside, recycle it. Providing an alternative for trashing dying trees, the Streets Department’s Residential Christmas Tree Recycling Program will recycle it. This year, the program will run from Monday, Jan. 5 through Saturday, Jan. 17. where from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can drop off your trees at the Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers located at 3033 S. 63rd St., Domino Ln. & Umbria St., State Rd. & Ashburner St. and 2601 W. Glenwood Ave.

This year, the 26-year-old program is adding 23 tree drop-off sites around the city on Saturday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To find the site closest to you, visit

To ease the recycling process, Streets Commissioner Perri urges everyone to make sure that trees are untied and free of decorations. Greenlimbs and partners will host five Treecycling locations on Jan. 10 at the following locations:


  • The Shambles, 2nd & Lombard, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Weccacoe Playground, 400 Catherine Street, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Carpenter Green, 17th & Carpenter, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Whole Foods Market, 909 South Street, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • Whole Foods Market, 20th & Callowhill, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Trees aren't the only thing you can recycle this holiday season. Check the Streets Department’s holiday recycle checklist for a guide to what goes in the blue bin after the presents are unwrapped.

Business Is Picking Up

When Tim Bennett moved to Philadelphia 10 years ago, he wanted to compost. But composting in a college apartment seemed difficult and the city didn’t have a collection service (and still doesn’t). So, a few years later, Bennett started his own collection business. Today, Bennett Compost works with residential and commercial clients throughout Philadelphia, hauling their organic waste to community gardens and large-scale facilities in the area. We spent a day with Bennett to get a behind-the-waste look at what happens in the composting process.
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