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July 06, 2023

Ya Fav Trashman's new podcast is all about keeping Philly clean

On 'Garbage Grouch,' Terrill Haigler, the city sanitation worker turned community activist, has conversations with people who share his obsession for cleaning up the city

Media Podcasts
Ya Fav Trashman podcast Provided image/Terrill Haigler

'Garbage Grouch' is a new podcast about cleaning up Philadelphia hosted by former city sanitation worker Terrill Haigler, better known online as Ya Fav Trashman.

Terrill Haigler started a podcast for the sole purpose of talking trash.

No, Haigler isn't a local gossip columnist or celebrity-obsessed tabloid reporter with an ax to grind. Rather, "Garbage Grouch," the podcast he recently launched in partnership with West Philly-based media production studio Radiokismet, is an extension of Haigler's long-standing passion: making Philadelphia a cleaner city.

"Living in this dirty city makes me grouchy," said Haigler, explaining the name of the new podcast. "We do not have to live like this. We are choosing to."

Haigler, better known by his online moniker Ya Fav Trashman, is a former Philly sanitation worker who has turned the city's trash problem —and the desire to resolve it — into a one-man media and advocacy brand. He even ran for Philadelphia City Council in a short-lived campaign that generated some controversy over potential misuse of campaign funds.

With the "Garbage Grouch" podcast, Haigler takes his urban cleanliness agenda directly to local decision makers and other on-air guests, all of whom have some role to play in cleaning up the city. In the first episode, Haigler talks to SEPTA customer experience manager Kim Scott Heinle about the transit system's litter and other sanitation-related challenges that seem to have gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on SEPTA's ridership and finances.

"This isn't my podcast," Haigler said of the new show. "This is Philadelphia's podcast. Anybody who cares about cleaning up this city, I want to give them an opportunity if they have something of value to say. I want stakeholders, elected officials, anybody who is going to add to the conversation."

Haigler is busy trying to line up those guests for future episodes, which he said will be posted about once every three weeks. He hopes to talk to everyone from politicians and business leaders to community activists and everyday Philadelphians who are doing whatever they can to make the city a cleaner place. Mayoral candidates Cherelle Paker and David Oh are top priorities for him.

"I think people should hear from someone who could potentially be the next mayor before they become mayor to hold them accountable," Haigler said.

In addition to guests, Haigler is also hoping to land sponsors who can help him financially support the currently self-produced show as it gets off the ground. In the meantime, he wants the show to hold people accountable and, most importantly, compel them to take some kind of action to combat the city's trash problem. 

"There are so many podcasts out there that are supposed to be informative and helpful, but there's no call to action," Haigler said. "I want this to be a podcast where people are like, ‘We heard your podcast with such-and-such and then we reached out to them and organized a cleanup. That's the whole point for me is that we get some action out of it."

The podcast isn't Haigler's first foray in self-publishing. The 33-year-old father of three recently wrote a crowdfunded children's book about the importance of living in a clean community, which was due to be released on June 30.