Trashcans may not seem like much of a gift, but this holiday season, they're giving two Philly communities something to be excited about. The long-awaited ribbon cutting for our Community Cans project, a colorful effort to keep our streets and creeks clean, is set for December 12.

The goal: to reduce litter in a way that's not only beautiful but also excites community members of all ages.

A grant provided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters Program helped us work with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the City's Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet and bring this idea to life. With this grant, 50 trash cans are being distributed between Juniata Park and Southwest Philadelphia.

The brightly colored receptacles will be celebrated at two ribbon-cutting events on December 12:

  • Southwest Philly: 1:15 p.m. at LeMandique African Restaurant at 6620 Woodland Ave
  • Juniata: 4:00 p.m. at Ferko Playground, 1101 E. Cayuga Street

While these amenities will serve local corridors for years to come, the process of making them was a big part of the impact they will have. The trash can lids were designed and painted by people from those very communities.

In the Southwest neighborhood, the Southwest Community Development Corporation and the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) led the way with lids painted beautifully by the students of Tilden Middle School and local artist Rhonda Davis:

In Juniata, the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and artist Jay Coreano hosted a community paint day where families came out and designed the can lids. Read about their project on the TTF blog.

Increasing the number of trash cans in our neighborhoods is a vital step toward ensuring our waterways stay clean, safe, and free of unwanted debris and pet waste. Very often, trash and waste that’s left on our sidewalks ends up in the very watersheds that supply our drinking water.

With Community Cans, we now have many more trash cans in key areas possible and beautiful pieces of artwork that local residents use with pride. As community partners, TTF Watershed and Southwest CDC have also committed to emptying the new cans, boosting local engagement with anti-litter efforts.

Think your neighborhood group could benefit from a Community Cans project?

Check out the city's CleanPHL page and fill out a Community Interest form.
To keep up with more Community Cans related news and see photos, follow @PhillyH2O on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Find out more about artists Rhonda Davis here and Jay Coreano here.

Author Morgan Thomas is a sophomore finance and legal studies major working with the Philadelphia Water Department through the Drexel Cooperative program.