Reality Check | ecoWURD | radio
City of Philadelphia Office of Innovation & Technology Smart City Director Emily Yates joined ecoWURD radio on WURD’s Reality Check with Charles Ellison to discuss what the city is doing about rising – and largely unmanageable – electronic and clothing waste. As technology such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and other types of devices are constantly evolving with the latest updates and upgrades, older devices become waste with few outlets to discard them in. It’s the same with clothing as the textile industry becomes less and less unsustainable as it misses a focus on how to recycle used material. The city recently partnered up with electronic and clothing recycling company Retrievr in an effort to collect and refurbish such waste as part of a Pitch and Pilot program. Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology has created a Smart City Roadmap to tackle such issues …
“One of the key components to being a successful smart city is recognizing that there’s a role that the City can play, and there’s a role that the private sector or academia can play,” Yates told The Philadelphia Citizen, a WURD partner, in a recent feature. “I think there’s a lot of criticism of smart cities that they’re just shiny technology, the next new trend. But I want Smart City PHL to be known as a program that’s working to look at equity and inclusion and address some of these inherent challenges that cities are facing.
“Smart Cities are also focused on tech and data. When I’m thinking through projects, I’m always thinking through opportunities for local job creation or what are opportunities to support local businesses,” Yates added during the ecoWURD broadcast on WURD’s Reality Check.
“E-Waste” as it’s called amounts for about 3 percent of all waste in the United States. But, the various metallic, plastic, and other toxic components amount for 70 percent of hazardous material in landfills. That’s a major problem. Meanwhile, according to the Citizen, “…Philadelphia residents throw more than 35,000 tons of clothing and other textiles in the trash each year. (Math shortcut: 1 ton is 2,000 pounds.)” Excessive hazardous material in landfills become a problem that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities since they are the communities most likely to reside near or next to a waste landfill.