FNA helps keep Fishtown beautiful

It has been awarded a $1,000 cigarette receptacle micro-grant

An image of one of the new cigarette receptacles, as presented in FNA newsletter which was sent out on Sunday, Sept. 3.

As part of its programming aimed at being a tool and resource to hyperlocal organizations prioritizing cleaning and greening work, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful awards three annual rounds of litter prevention and abatement microgrants. This year, focusing its funds on cigarette litter, the Fishtown Neighbors Association has been named one of five recipients of a $1,000 micro-grant to install six cigarette receptacles in front of Fishtown storefronts.

According to Michelle Feldman, the director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, the organization decided to focus this year’s micro-grants on cigarette litter because it realizes this type of pollution is one of the most heavily littered items, not just in Philadelphia, but throughout the entire country. Additionally Feldman said Keep Philadelphia Beautiful has great data from its national office, Keep America Beautiful, which demonstrates additional cigarette receptacles can make a large impact in preventing cigarette litter.

“Litter is a pervasive issue throughout Philadelphia — it impacts our environment, our economy, our public health and the social fabric of our communities,” Feldman said.

Also according to Feldman, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is excited to partner with TerraCycle and the City’s Zero Waste + Litter Cabinet to make sure all of the cigarette litter collected through its micro-grants are recycled. She also noted the organization is hoping each micro-grantee has their program in full swing by October or November, including both the installation of new cigarette receptacles and community education and outreach.

“Cigarette litter is a large part of Philadelphia’s overall litter problem, and KPB, in partnership with the City’s Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet, wanted to target our micro-grant program to tackling that specific form of litter,” Feldman said.

Thus, despite receiving 15 micro-grant applications this year, the organization convened a review panel to decide which proposals to fund. Ultimately, it used a designed rubric to assess factors including impact, collaboration, innovation, sustainability (whether the project could be sustained past the grant period), feasibility, scalability and whether the project was community-driven.

“[All] were great proposals, and we wish we could have funded each and every one. Next year we hope to double the number of micro-grants we are able to provide from five to ten,” Feldman said.

For more information on this year’s Keep Philadelphia Beautiful cigarette receptacle micro-grant program, visit: http://www.icontact-archive.com/kMnNjucz6ZFj9UknFIBRBIlSy2bMBMDy?w=1.

Excited to be included in the list of this year’s micro-grant recipients, alongside the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, the Mayfair CDC, the People’s Emergency Center and the Southwest CDC, the FNA first heard about this micro-grant through partners at NKCDC, who thought it would be a great organization to implement this project.

Thus, according to Monica King, chair of the FNA Beautification Committee, the organization first applied for the grant this past May, with its goal being to keep Fishtown streets clean as its commercial corridors continue to grow. The FNA also wished to use the grant to enable it to tackle the “seemingly small yet pesky little problem of cigarette butts.”

“Like our Feed the Fish project, we want to continue to take advantage of opportunities to build our neighborhood’s infrastructure in combating litter.” King said. “We have used the money to purchase six high-quality cigarette receptacles from Terracycle as well as supplies and tools for installation.”

Ultimately, King said that these receptacles, to be decorated with the campaign slogan, “Gimme those butts,” will be high-capacity, fire-safe, lockable and rust-resistant. They are also built to withstand the four seasons of Philly, and hold up to 700 cigarette butts. It is the hope that FNA business partners will not have to maintain them as often.

Although Johnny Brenda’s, Front Street Cafe and Les and Doreen’s have already committed to working with the FNA and a receptacle be placed in their storefronts, the organization is still seeking additional businesses to participate in the cigarette anti-litter program. If a business agrees to participate, the FNA has ensured it will provide the businesses with receptacles free of charge for both materials and installation.

“The businesses will help maintain the receptacles and encourage their patrons to use them,” King said. “We’re looking for any businesses that are sick of sweeping up cigarettes butts every day or want a more durable and attractive option as their cigarette receptacle. Although we’ve primarily reached out to businesses, other organizations such as churches and community spaces are absolutely welcomed to partner with us.”

For more information on having a receptacle possibly set up in front of a business, contact King at beautification@fishtown.org.