Former Philadelphia sanitation worker organizes 5K trash cleanup to celebrate Earth Day

Terrill Haigler wasted no time when he started working for the Philadelphia Sanitation Department. After a short three months, Haigler’s title as a sanitation laborer was quickly changed to, "Ya Fav Trashman" as he worked to incorporate the community in his everyday job.

Our favorite trash man’s current initiative is to get Philadelphia clean by 2025. He is currently recruiting over 1,000 people to participate in a 5K Earth Day trash cleanup on April 23 in Kensington. Everyone is encouraged to participate and Haigler says it will surely be a day to remember.

"There’s going to be a DJ there, because who can’t clean without music?" Haigler says. "There will also be a personal trainer there to warm us all up and a huge amount of sponsorship tables. We will also be giving out 250 hot meals to the homeless as we walk."

The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society will be planting a tree in a Brown or Black neighborhood over the next five years for every bag of trash collected during the 5K trash cleanup. 

The University of Pennsylvania, a sponsor of "Ya Fav Trashman," said that if this cleanup is successful, they want to continue to do them to cover the ground from 38th Street all the way to 68th Street. 


Community advancement became a main focus for Haigler when he realized that his coworkers did not have the proper protective equipment to work during the pandemic. After starting a Custom Ink t-shirt fundraiser, he was able to purchase hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, masks, and proper work gear for his team, but his duties did not stop there. 

Haigler runs two businesses and a nonprofit organization where he actively works to bridge the gap between community members and the city’s sanitation team by working to educate people on the work that sanitation workers do.

Recently, he introduced a new pre-school curriculum that will teach young people about environmental justice. He has also written a children’s book called, "I’m Cool Too," to show kids that sanitation workers are important and, of course, cool. 

Anyone who is interested in participating in the cleanup on April 23 can register here. The walk will begin at 9:00 a.m. on April 23. You can also sign up for more volunteer opportunities by visiting



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