Smart Cans Arriving to Keep Baltimore Beautiful

Dept. of Public Works press release header

Smart Cans – sun-powered trash compactors that let Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) sanitation employees know when they need to be emptied – are arriving on sidewalks in South Baltimore.

Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the first wave of 64 cans on Monday, Sept. 17, with a ceremonial disposal of the first pieces of trash into a can at the Cherry Hill Town Center. She was joined by representatives of DPW, the Cherry Hill community, officials from the Casino Local Development Council, and the Maryland Port Administration. The Casino LDC is contributing $300,000 for this first phase; MPA is contributing more than $900,000 for a second phase of Smart Cans to be placed in the City’s business districts later this year.

“Baltimore needs to get smarter about trash, and these Smart Cans are a big part of the solution,” said Mayor Pugh. “I’m thankful to our partners in the Casino Local Development Council and the Maryland Port Administration for providing the funding for these cans, and I’m thrilled for our neighbors and businesses that will benefit from them.”

Baltimore’s Smart Cans have numerous advantages over the simple round bins seen on many street corners. Their enclosed construction confines litter better, and helps keep rodents away. Compacting the trash allows the cans to contain more waste and keeps litter from overflowing. Sensors in the cans transmit data to let DPW’s Bureau of Solid Waste know they are getting full, and supervisors can schedule pickups as they are needed.

The first phase of the Smart Can rollout is a pilot that will be used to confirm the best ways to operate the program in other neighborhoods, including where to locate the cans and develop routes and schedules for workers to service them. These lessons would be applied as cans are placed in other areas of the City. Other business districts and, ultimately, bus stops would also get Smart Cans in subsequent phases.

“Whether its municipal trash cans for each house, or Smart Cans for our busy street corners, we have to help people do the right thing with trash,” said DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “These Smart Cans will help everyone make our communities BMORE Beautiful.”

Since they use clean, renewable solar power, the Smart Cans are able to operate independently. Technicians measured each location where they are being placed to make sure the cans are exposed to sunlight for the few minutes each day it takes to charge the batteries. Several of the units will also have a bin for recyclables. Recycling bins do not compact the material.

Installation of the first phase of Smart Cans will see the cans brought to Washington Boulevard, Ridgely’s Delight, Cherry Hill and Westport, and along Light, Charles, and Hanover streets in South Baltimore. They will be easy to find; decorated with bold City seals, and have room for messaging in the side panels.

With a foot pedal that opens the bin door, people won’t have to worry about germs when they dispose of trash.

The cans are made by Ecube Labs, a South Korean company that is making Baltimore its East Coast hub. Ecube won a competitive bid earlier this year.

Smart Cans are among numerous recent initiatives by DPW to help keep Baltimore clean. Earlier this summer the Bureau of Solid Waste added 15 new all-terrain litter vehicles to help remove trash from streets in business districts and adjoining neighborhoods, and also launched a proactive mowing schedule to help control grass and weeds on vacant lots. The Bureau is also cleaning, boarding, and wiping out graffiti in the Mayor’s Violence Reduction Initiative areas. 

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Contact

Jennifer Combs
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The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.