On any given day, you’ll find Officer Michelle McMillian patrolling the streets of the Northeast. She’s not a police officer, or a parking authority employee, though she’s been mistaken as both.
McMillian is an officer with SWEEP, the Department of Streets’ Streets & Walkways Education and Enforcement Program. The 30-year city employee was at last night’s Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meeting to talk about recycling.
“This area is not doing that well,” McMillian told the 20 or so residents in attendance about their trash and recycling habits. She cited some of the main problems she and her colleagues see as they patrol the streets:
Keep the following tips in mind to avoid ending up on the wrong side of a fine from the Department of Streets.
-soiled paper & cardboard boxes (like pizza boxes and paper plates) should not be recycled.
-in general, all cleaned, dried paint cans can be recycled, but those with residue (especially oil-based), cannot be.
-using a construction dumpster? cover it with a tarp and put blocks underneath so as not to scrape the street.
-trash & recycling bins should not be on the curb until 7 p.m. the night before pickup.
- trash being put in recycling bins
- old window and screen door frames left for the recycling truck
- mail with address labels still on them
With the purpose of “educating,” McMillian answered questions, handed out recycling bins and signed residents up for Recycle Bank, the citywide program that will reach most of the Northeast in June.
Philadelphia residents who choose to participate in the program will receive rewards in the form of coupons and discounts to their frequented stores, based on the amount (in weight) of materials the community recycles.
But McMillian said her job isn’t just about keeping the streets clean in a literal way. She’s out there, she said, to help educate people and enhance the community.
“Most people in [the Northeast] don’t know their neighbors,” she said, which proves to be an obstacle when it comes to keeping a block clean.
McMillian encouraged Upper Holmesburg residents to make more of a team effort when it comes to recycling and taking care of their streets, be it helping seniors bring their bins to the curb, or sweeping up the block.
And even though she regularly doles out fines for improper trash and recycling practices — much to the ire of residents — McMillian said: “I’m proud of my job.”
Also at last night’s meeting…Sen. Mike Stack spoke on several relevant matters, including the state budget, Liddonfield and casinos…Stack has proposed a bill suggesting if this year’s state budget ($29 million) is not passed on time, “we don’t get paid,” he said referring to his colleagues and himself…Noting his work since 2006 to have the Liddonfield homes demolish, Stack announced that date will come in the next six months, now that residents have been relocated. He announced he’ll accept input from nearby residents as to what should be rebuilt in Liddonfield’s place…in the video below, Stack explains why he feels we “have to get casinos up and running or give someone else a chance.”
Zoning…Upper Holmesburg residents demanded to meet the owner of the strip mall at 8445 Frankford Avenue, where an auto parts store is seeking residence…Neighbors worry the owner is a slumlord, citing several business owners who’ve vacated the mall…Two illegal body shops have been shut down since last month’s meeting — one on the 8200-block of Torresdale Avenue, the other on the 4200-block of Wingate Street — as “a direct result of this organization,” UHCA zoning officer Paul DeFinis said.
The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association will meet next on Thursday, May 20.