San Francisco considers testing $20,000 prototype trash cans: 'Insane'

San Francisco is considering some new public trash cans – but it won’t be a cheap project. 

The San Francisco Department of Public Works could spend about $20,000 apiece for 15 prototype trash cans, according to recent reports.

However, once the city decides on what can to buy, the cost per unit will be much lower, KTVU reported earlier this week. 

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The prototypes are part of a $537,000 pilot program the city is considering to replace more than 3,000 public trash cans throughout the city, according to the station. 

KTVU reported that officials want to install new trash cans that can withstand vandalism and tampering, while also including recycling options and alerts when the can needs to be emptied.

“San Francisco is a beautiful city and keeping it clean can be a challenge,” Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried said in a statement about the prototype trash cans. “Finding the right public trash can to serve our needs at a reasonable cost has driven this design process.”

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The city is testing three prototype designs in its pilot program, along with already available models, KTVU reported. In a statement, Degrafinried described the three designs as “durable, hard to tamper with, easy to service and aesthetically pleasing.” 

San Francisco’s Department of Public Works is considering spending $20K a piece on 15 prototype cans in three designs.

San Francisco’s Department of Public Works is considering spending $20K a piece on 15 prototype cans in three designs.
(SF Public Works)

Though the $20,000 price tag is steep for the prototypes, KTVU reported that once the city chooses a design to replace its current 3,000 trash cans with, the units are likely to cost between $3,000 and $4,000 a piece. 

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However, not everyone was pleased with the proposed program. 

During a committee meeting on Wednesday, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney said he was concerned about the steep price of the prototypes, even though he supports replacing the city’s trash cans, KTVU reported. 

“How many prototype trash cans are are being produced and what is the price of them,” Haney said, per KTVU. “I saw the line item said 15 of them for $300,000? That is an extraordinary cost per can.”

A San Francisco resident called the price tag “insane,” according to KPIX 5.

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According to KTVU, the Department of Public Works hopes to begin testing the prototype trash cans by the end of the year so the winning trash cans can replace the current cans by next year.


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