Community Cans Program

Community Cans is a public private partnership program where the City of Philadelphia partners with community organizations and businesses to support community responsibility for clean business districts and commercial areas in Philadelphia neighborhoods. After researching how public trash can placement affects litter rates and surveying litter conditions throughout Philadelphia through the City-wide Litter Index, we’re identifying ways to strategically increase trash can coverage in Philadelphia’s public right-of-way with the goal of reducing litter and illegal dumping. This program is one component of that overall strategy, and we’re looking for community partners to participate!

How it Works

After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philadelphia Streets Department, the Sponsor (which can be any incorporated and insured community organization, community development corporation, or business improvement district) is able to place wire mesh litter baskets in designated locations along Philadelphia commercial corridors.

Program Requirements

To place trash baskets in the public right-of-way through the Community Cans Program, the Sponsor must:

  • Procure a wire mesh litter basket, or equivalent metal container of at least 24 gallons but not larger than 32 gallons equipped with a metal lid that has an opening to deposit trash
  • Place the basket(s) at a location or locations specified by the Sponsor and approved by the Streets Department and adorn the metal lid with some type of branding and design to delineate participation in the program (Check out the case study on the back of this sheet for an example of branding.)
  • Place the basket in the right-of-way, and if permanently secured to the sidewalk, receive approval from the Streets Department.
  • Secure the litter basket from theft (by chaining, cabling, etc.). However, if chained to public infrastructure, a key must be accessible during business hours. After business hours the basket may either be moved inside or secured with a cable or thin metal chain that can be cut by the Streets Department or other utility agency if necessary to access to the public infrastructure.
  • Provide plastic liners (bags), change the plastic liner on each collection day or when filled, remove bags and store them out of pedestrian sight until the specified City collection day, and place bags at the curbside for City collection on the scheduled trash collection day or bring to the closest Sanitation Convenience Center

Program BenefitsWhat the City Offers

  • A formalized, City-sanctioned partnership through which to place and maintain wire litter baskets in the public right-of-way
  • Guidance on how to strategically place “Community Cans” baskets to most effectively alleviate litter and illegal dumping along a particular corridor (based on data from the Litter Index, maps of current trash can locations, and street-level analysis of these datasets)
  • A special placard that allows program participants to dispose of trash collected in “Community Cans” baskets at City Sanitation Convenience Centers
  • Depending on availability, the Streets Department ay be able to provide wire baskets, and the Commerce Department may be able to provide funding, to participating organizations to utilize for the program.
  • Assistance with developing branding and design for “Community Cans” baskets
  • Mapping the locations of the “Community Cans” baskets will also help the City further develop its mapping of public trashcans and improve street trash can coverage in the future.

Community Cans Artmaking Guide

Click here or on the thumbnail below to download the Community Cans Artmaking Guide, a guide for groups participating in Community Cans to utilize for working with artists and community members to design and paint Community Cans.

Learn More

Click the thumbnail below to download the Community Cans information sheet.

Apply to Participate

Is your group interested in learning more? Complete the Community Cans Program interest form, and we’ll reach out to you about the program.

Interact with 311 online

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