Community Cans Return!
Written by TTF Watershed Partnership Executive Director, Julie Slavet
In the Fall of 2019, TTF installed a number of community cans at locations along Cayuga Street and area businesses in Juniata Park as part of a special effort to strategically increase coverage in specific areas to reduce litter. Partners included Philadelphia Commerce, CleanPHL, Murals Arts, Parks & Recreation, Streets, and Water, as well as the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. These 32-gallon wire mesh baskets with covers designed by a local artist and painted by community members, were to be maintained by partners including TTF, PPR, community groups, and businesses. This project was embraced enthusiastically by community residents.
Then Covid hit in March 2020! The City of Philadelphia faced an overwhelming amount of trash with limited resources. As trash began to pile up around the cans, the city removed most of them after complaints by crews and in an effort to discourage people from adding household trash to the cans.
We believe the city is responsible for picking up and disposing of any and all trash, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
We were able to locate and retrieve the missing cans. We cleaned them and purchased new can tops, which the original local artist, Jay Coreano, beautifully painted. With the support of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, we placed these cans at six locations in Tacony Creek Park. Sites were selected in areas to not attract short dumping, but to serve visitors who need to dispose of trash while enjoying the park. TTF purchased a Gator (with a grant) to gather the trash bags for disposal by PPR. So far, this project is a success!
Tacony Creek Park has not had trash cans for many years, and trash cans have been cited as a priority by local residents since we started our work in the park a decade ago.