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Smart garbage cans have been deployed throughout the city


Last updated 6/13/2019 at 9:18pm

City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation & Performance.

Smart garbage cans with old cans in foreground.

More than 1,000 public garbage cans containing sensors that track how full the cans are have been deployed around Pittsburgh. 

The Department of Public Works first proposed adopting the cans in 2017, when it recognized the need to replace hundreds of old litter cans around the city, and knowing the smart cans would help with efficiencies and cost savings. 

Studies by DPW and the Department of Innovation and Performance of the smart cans since their original deployment have shown they result in savings of at least half the labor hours needed for the emptying typical cans, allowing DPW to reallocate resources to other needed tasks, such as pothole patching, litter picking, and weed and debris clearing. 

"The smart cans allow DPW to offer better refuse services to Pittsburgh residents and neighborhood business districts, while freeing up our workers to do other work to keep the city tidy," DPW Director Mike Gable said. 

"Based on our analysis, we expect that the smart litter cans will give us the ability to make process improvements that will reduce the amount of labor hours spent on emptying garbage cans by at least half," said Matt Jacob, the project manager for the program for the Department of Innovation and Performance. "As a result, DPW will be able to reallocate those resources to other tasks." 

DPW is in talks with unions representing its workers to possibly open a centralized litter can division and introduce expanded weekend garbage can collection services in business districts. 

The city's capital budgets from 2017-2019 earmarked a total of $670,000 for smart can purchases, covering both entirely new cans and lids with sensors to retrofit existing cans. The city's vendor for the receptacles is Victor Stanley.


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