PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia is known for its urban murals, but now instead of walls, trash can lids are the canvas for a contemporary art installation. Starting on December 12, new community art will be on display in Juniata Park and Southwest Philadelphia in the form of new public trash receptacles.

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 provided these unlikely canvases through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Trash Free Waters program.

Through the Philadelphia Community Cans program, which combines art and community engagement to reduce litter throughout the city, the partners provided 50 trash cans to organizations in two neighborhoods. These groups hired local artists to create unique, eye-catching designs for the trash can lids and then led community members in decorating and installing them.

Juniata Park
The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) took the lead in Juniata Park. Artist Jay Coreano, a neighborhood native, led a community paint day at Ferko Playground. Dozens of community members painted 20 trash can lids with bright colors and positive community-oriented messaging. These cans will be installed along Cayuga Street and other neighboring commercial corridors.

Southwest Philadelphia
The Southwest Community Development Corporation and the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) led the charge to bring colorful cans to their neighborhood. The cans will be installed to reduce litter and household dumping along Woodland Avenue and nearby corridors in the Southwest neighborhood. Local artist Rhonda Davis worked with students at Tilden Middle School to decorate 30 trash can lids.

The goal of the Community Cans program is to reduce litter on neighborhood streets. Research has shown that residents are more likely to put their trash in cans they have decorated, as well as encourage others to keep the neighborhood beautiful. Reducing litter and debris in city streets prevents pollutants like micro-plastics from reaching local streams and rivers. The less pollution that goes into our waterways, the better the health of aquatic ecosystems and the quality of life for residents who rely on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers for their drinking water.

Community groups, business associations, and other organizations interested in exploring how to get Community Cans into their neighborhood can visit to learn more about the program and fill out an interest form. Once reviewed, a representative from the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet will contact the group to discuss next steps.

Media Visuals
To cover the installation of the Community Cans with spokespeople present, members of the media are invited to attend a ribbon cutting event on Thursday, December 12:

  1. Southwest – 1:15 p.m. at LeMandique African Restaurant (6620 Woodland Ave., Philadelphia, PA)
  2. Juniata – 4:00 p.m. at Ferko Playground (1101 E. Cayuga St., Philadelphia, PA)

To request photos of the Community Cans, please contact Kate Layton at