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Artistic trash cans come to the community – but not without controversy.
Philly

Artistic trash cans come to the community – but not without controversy.


Pretty paint jobs on new trash cans in two Philadelphia neighborhoods caused a controversy over who is responsible for keeping our city streets clean.

The Community Cans Program, part of the city’s CleanPHL initiative to be 90 percent zero-waste and litter-free by 2035, announced in December 30 new trash bins Southwest Philly and 20 in Juniata Park.

The program leverages Business Improvement Districts, Community Development Corporations, private businesses and others to monitor the cans, remove bags when they’re full, and store them out of pedestrian sight until the next collection day. It mirrors a similar initiative previously implemented by the Fishtown Neighborhood Association, which also uses community partners to maintain the bins.

Several news outlets questioned why the initiative is tapping community members to maintain and empty the bins, prompting one CleanPHL leader to remind the city’s residents that they, too, can help Philadelphia become a cleaner, more environmentally friendly city.

Describing the project as “innovative” and “collaborative,” Nic Esposito, the city’s Zero Waste and Litter Director, wrote in WHYY, “A city is not a hotel or an amusement park. It’s a place where people live in communities and create interdependent relationships to realize the common good through collective action because living in a dense urban environment requires nothing less.”

Photo: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

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Alison Burdo
Alison Burdo is a project manager with Green Philly, focusing on the development and execution of its coverage of the Delaware Watershed. A Philadelphia-based journalist for the past seven years, Burdo most recently supported the launch of the Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting. Her experience includes reporting exclusive, enterprise stories on the 2015 papal visit and the 2016 Democratic National Convention; leading an investigation into the epidemic of unsolved missing persons cases; and regularly breaking news related to Philadelphia's precedent-setting soda tax. View all posts by Alison Burdo

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