Civic News

Terrill Haigler, aka Ya Fav Trashman, is running for Philly City Council in 2023

The Instagram-spurred growth of his platform "has brought me into certain circles, and now I'm like, 'Lets see how I can work with folks to change the world together,'" the sanitation worker-turned-community activist said.

Terrill Haigler.

(Courtesy photo)

As the race for City Council in 2023 begins to heat up, community organizer Terrill Haigler announced Saturday at a birthday neighborhood cleanup in North Philadelphia that he was throwing his hat into the ring.

You probably know Haigler better as Ya Fav Trashman, a sanitation worker-turned-community activist. Haigler was working for the Philadelphia Streets Department in 2020 when Philly’s trash problems escalated amid the pandemic, and he wanted to address it on a large scale. So he took to Instagram to document the job behind the scenes — and quickly went viral.

Then, Haigler helped entrepreneur Morgan Berman and MilkCrate launch Glitter, a litter cleaning service that pays Philly residents to tidy their blocks. Haigler also launched the community-focused nonprofit Trash2Treasure, which organizes neighborhood cleanups and organizes resources like school supply drives and financial literacy workshops. He’s won awards (including Technical.ly’s 2020 Invention of the Year Award in Philly), gotten connected with company founders across the city and has written a children’s book.

And next year, he’s running as a Democrat for a City Council at Large position.

The 33-year-old Germantown resident has three kids, and worked much of his life aside everyday Philadelphians. He told Technical.ly he believes City Council and much of local governments overall aren’t made up of people with a diversity of backgrounds. While he got politically and actively involved in local issues because of trash, his focus has grown.

Terrill Haigler. (Courtesy photo)

Haigler has used his platform to raise more than $32,000 in a crowdfunding campaign for sanitation workers to purchase personal protective equipment to more safely do their jobs, and he often uses Instagram to communicate directly with the public about challenges sanitation workers are experiencing during the pandemic, and to organize community cleanups.

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“Up until the last few years, I was someone who didn’t know what a city controller was,” Haigler said. “My platform and brand has brought me into certain circles, and now I’m like, ‘Lets see how I can work with folks to change the world together.'”

He calls himself a “quality of life” candidate, and stressed he’ll be addressing big issues like food insecurity, homelessness and education in his platform.

“I have built a brand on collaboration, trust and transparency, and being in community and listening to the issues,” Haigler said.

Haigler and MilkCrate’s app, Glitter, celebrated its one-year anniversary Friday. The startup thanked its more than 400 subscribers and 14 cleaners who have “helped us make a measurable impact on the litter issue in Philly.”

“No matter your ZIP code, you deserve to live on a clean block,” Haigler said.

He doesn’t doubt that over the next few months the race for City Council at Large 2023 will become a crowded one. Last week, Michael R. Galvan, a progressive and a former education official in Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, already announced his bid for one of Council’s at-large seats. Haigler predicts there will be at least 30 to 40 candidates for the May primary in which Democrats will select five candidates for at-large seats.

He’s aware that different neighborhoods across the city can face starkly different issues — he’s done neighborhoods cleanups in all of them, he said. But some some common themes connect the city.

“I want to be a working voice for Philadelphia, someone that represents everyday Philadelphians that you can trust understands all your issues and problems,” Haigler said. “That includes workforce development, housing, trash education, children being shot — if there’s someone who you can trust that will fight for you, it’s going to be me.”

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