Can a Trash Can Reveal a Community’s Values?
An angled trash can designed for cyclists on the go in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Steve Johnson/RWJF)

An angled trash can designed for cyclists on the go in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Steve Johnson/RWJF)

One of the most striking cultural symbols upon arriving in Copenhagen is the sheer number of cyclists navigating city streets—in fact bicycles outnumber cars!

But during my recent visit, it was the trash cans that actually caught my eye.

Just as in many U.S. cities, Copenhagen’s citizens can return used bottles and cans for cash. But, unlike other cities, Copenhagen’s trash cans are equipped with small “deposit” shelves on the outside to place recyclables. This provides an easier, safer, and more sanitary way of collecting discarded cans. Instead of digging through trash cans overflowing with smelly garbage and sharp glass, collectors can easily retrieve bottles and cans from these exterior shelves.

Read the full article and watch the video here.