Two bills proposed to City Council on Thursday would result in scads of new trash and recycling receptacles being placed across Philadelphia in an effort to curb the city's litter problem.
Under the first bill, any business that sells packaged or prepared foods for takeout would have to put both a trash and recycling bin within 10 feet of the front door. The second bill would make landlords of buildings with six or more units provide a communal trash and recycling receptacle for tenants.
"Trash is out of control. Period," said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced the bills.
David McCorkle, president of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, which represents hundreds of corner grocery stores that would be affected, said he supported the intent of the bill but had concerns about the details.
Many small stores do not have enough space out front to place recycling and trash bins, he said. Cutting down on litter will require a comprehensive approach, he added.
"We'd like to work with [Council] to make sure there's an education component, a collection component, and an enforcement component," he said.
In regard to the apartment legislation, Reynolds Brown said she was concerned that tenants who have to keep trash in their apartment until pickup day will illegally dump it.
But Christine Young Gertz, government affairs director at the Pennsylvania Apartments Association, said requiring landlords to provide trash bins might be difficult for small properties that do not have exterior space.
"If there's not a backyard to a brownstone, some particular property might have a problem," she said.
Darrell Zaslow, legal counsel at the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia, suggested that 10 units, rather than six, would be a better threshold because a building that size likely has room for receptacles outdoors. Storing trash indoors could be a problem, he said, particularly at small buildings that don't have on-site property managers.
"There's no one to oversee it on a day-to-day basis, and it might become messier for the tenants," he said.
Reynolds Brown said she was not concerned about landlords not having space for the bins.
"That's unacceptable," she said. "Landlords, then, need to figure it out."
Neither bill imposes fines for noncompliance. Reynolds Brown said she intended to add fines in the future but wanted to establish the regulations first.
In other action, Councilman Bobby Henon introduced a bill that would allow residents or businesses that have taken issue with their new property assessments under the city's Actual Value Initiative to pay using their 2013 assessment while their appeal is pending. Council passed a similar bill last year.
Henon's office said about 4,000 residents and businesses have appeals of their AVI assessment pending.