Trashy chic? These artsy waste baskets to be installed in Juniata, Southwest Philly

Philly is well-known for its colorful murals, but now there’s a new kind of canvas to showcase local art — trash can lids. 

Starting December 12, hand-painted trash lids will be on display in Juniata Park and Southwest Philadelphia as part of the city’s Community Cans program, which uses art and community engagement to help reduce litter. 

According to city officials, research shows that residents are more likely to use decorated trash cans to keep the neighborhood beautiful and prevent pollutants like micro-plastics get in the waterways. 

The program is a partnership between The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and partners at the Philadelphia Water Department, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the City of Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet. The new method of artistic expression was made possible through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Trash Free Waters program. 

The partners provided 50 trash cans to organizations in Juniata Park and Southwest Philly, according to organizers.

The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) took the lead for the Juniata Park project. A neighborhood native, artist Jay Coreano hosted a community paint day at the Ferko Playground where community members painted 20 trash can lids with bright colors and positive messaging. The trash cans will be installed on Cayuga Street and other corridors. 

In Southwest Philly, the Southwest Community Development Corporation and the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) were in charge of the artsy cans. Local Artist, Rhonda Davis worked with students at Tilden Middle School to paint 30 trash can lids. These cans will be installed on Woodland Avenue and other areas nearby. 

Any community group or organization can participate in the program. Residents can visit to learn about bringing the program to their neighborhood and connect with representatives from the Litter Cabinet and the Zero Waste.