Philadelphia's trash problem made simpler through crowdfunding program

It’s a common complaint in neighborhoods across Philadelphia – residents are tired of all the trash around their communities. There are some people actually paying for an extra service to get the job done.

"People are so fired up about this issue, maybe they wouldn’t be opposed to chipping in and paying for it themselves,"Morgan Berman said.

The trash problem in Philadelphia is one of the city’s most well-documented and complained about issues.


That’s often been the sentiment from small business owners and residents all across neighborhoods in Philly. Trash everywhere and not enough accountability from the government to clean it up.

Enter Morgan Berman, a Philadelphia native who got sick of complaining about trash and decided to come up with a business model that puts the onus on neighbors to put their money where their mouth is.

"So what Glitter is, is a way for neighbors to crowdfund whatever they personally can afford with their neighbors, collectively, to hit funding milestones that unlocks a week of cleanings," Berman, Glitter Founder, explained.

Glitter, a playful spin on that pesky litter word, enables neighbors to come together and pay for, essentially, a personal sanitation worker for their block.

"$50 a week gets your block cleaned. $200 a month gets it cleaned every week. If you have 20 neighbors chipping in, that’s $10 a month," Berman added.

She says they average around six neighbors per block chipping in to keep their corners cleaned where the service is being used.

And, while the curb appeal and sanitary benefits are obvious, the safety benefits are also tangible.

Terrill Haigler, known as ‘Ya Fav Trashman' on social media, is a former sanitation worker for Philadelphia. He says research has shown cleaner blocks mean safer blocks.

"If you actually look at the litter index, you’ll see the two maps match. The litter index of the dirtiest parts of the city are almost always the dangerous parts of the city and I don’t think that’s a coincidence," Haigler explained.

Glitter has cleaned 120 blocks so far, and hopes it’s just the beginning.