Parks & Rec's Organic Recycling Center receives Toro Urban Innovation Award | Philadelphia Parks & Recreation –

The Organic Recycling Center has operated in West Fairmount Park for 40 years. It takes organic waste and processes it into usable materials. The Center processes over 6,000 tons of organic waste each year. One of the biggest challenges facing the Center is the number of large trees it receives. Parks & Rec’s tree crews remove many dead or dying trees from city streets, parks, and forests each year. These are all brought to the Center. The amount of wood waste has increased significantly in recent years. This is due to climate change, storm impact, aging trees, and the removal of invasive species.
To reduce wood waste, Parks & Rec created a temporary lumberyard. Here, the wood from these trees is turned into useable lumber. This lumber is then used at Parks & Rec sites as part of the “Neighborhood Wood” initiative. Projects included new bookshelves, cubbies, garden beds, benches, footbridges, and more. Youth-driven organizations helped complete many of these projects. These include PowerCorpsPHL and Tiny WPA.
An innovative solution to a challenge
But the Center’s lumberyard faces a challenge. The milling equipment is exposed to the elements. This causes it to break down, slowing operations. The wood planks milled at the lumberyard are kept outside with limited cover. This can make the wood unusable.
The $50,000 grant from The Toro Company will allow Parks & Rec to create an organization and storage system. With the funds, Parks & Rec will build a new pole barn at the Organic Recycling Center.
The grant and the new structure will allow Parks & Rec to:
Learn how city residents and businesses can get free or low-cost compost, mulch, and wood chips.
Learn how businesses can register to dispose of organic materials.