By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– It’s a problem that has vexed every Philadelphia mayor for decades: how to fight litter and keep city streets clean.

Mayor Jim Kenney is taking a crack at it, now, with a comprehensive plan that would also reduce costs associated with collection and landfill space.

The goal is not just zero litter but zero waste by 2035, a tall order, considering, the mayor says residents currently produce a million-and-a-half tons of waste year.

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“As a city we spend tens of millions of dollars each year, cleaning up short-dumping and litter. If we are to become a greener, more beautiful city, we must dispose of less trash. We must recycle and reuse more, and we must embrace new approaches to this long-running issue,” said Kenney.

The new approach will be data-driven and rely on behavioral changes, not just more clean-up. Several departments — not just streets– will be responsible, acting as the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet.

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Director Nic Esposito says it’s already developed 31 steps to reduce litter.

“We ran every idea, ordinance, program initiative through this filter of three questions: Can we do it? Will it work? And is it worth it?,” said Esposito.

Expect to hear a lot about using products that don’t create waste and options like composting to reduce what goes in your trash can.

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