Philly Has a Trash Crisis. Ya Fav Trashman and MilkCrate Have an App That Will Pay You to Clean Your Block

Amid another summer of citywide trash pickup delays, two tech-driven cleanup evangelists think they’ve found a solution to hyperlocalize street cleaning by getting Philadelphians compensated for keeping their blocks litter free.

Sanitation worker and community advocate Terrill Haigler, aka Ya Fav Trashman, believes that empowering people to make positive change where they live is key to making even better things happen.

“I’m from North Philly where if people don’t do for you, you do for yourself, and maybe eventually the City would say [it] would be a part” of that work, he told That attitude is one of the driving forces behind Glitter, developed by local social impact dev firm MilkCrate.

In January 2018, MilkCrate CEO and founder Morgan Berman began thinking of ways that she could use her company’s app-building platform to design something that could motivate people to pick up litter by paying them. She reached out to the City of Philadelphia to help. Local government often contracts with for-profit entities to bring services to its residents.

Funding for the app, formerly known as PhilaSweep, was included in the Philadelphia Streets Department’s FY2020 budget. But when the project got pushed further down the department’s list of priorities, MilkCrate was told an RFP process would be needed. However, in June 2019, Philadelphia City Council member Derek Green had approved a charter that said RFP’s would not be required for any local small businesses under $100,000 — the same amount in the City budget that had been earmarked for MilkCrate’s app.

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