Hundreds of Smart Cans Helping to Fight Business District Litter

Dept. of Public Works press release header

In less than four months, 280 Smart Cans have been placed in business districts, gateways, and neighborhoods around the City, as the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) continues its efforts to help residents and visitors keep Baltimore clean.

The cans have compactors that allow more trash to be securely stored, and send electronic signals to DPW when it is time to empty or service the cans. The cans, equipped with solar cells, use energy from the sun to operate. They are distinguished by their rectangular shape, big City of Baltimore seal, and colorful “KEEP BALTIMORE CLEAN” lettering.

The rollout began in the neighborhoods around the Horseshoe Casino, as the Casino Local Development Council decided to invest $300,000 on 64 cans in South Baltimore neighborhoods including Pigtown, South Baltimore, and Westport. At a Sept. 17 news conference where three cans were installed in Cherry Hill, Mayor Catherine Pugh praised the Smart Cans and ongoing efforts to beautify the City.

The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) invested more than $900,000 to expand the Smart Can rollout. MPA, which helps expedite the flow of commercial goods and passenger cruises, focused first on getting 19 cans into neighborhoods around the Port of Baltimore, including Masonville Cove, Curtis Bay, Brooklyn, and Lakeland.

MPA’s investment also paved the way for 197 cans to be installed in Baltimore’s central business district and other high-profile business and commuter corridors. These locations include:

  • Park Heights Avenue from Cold Spring Avenue to Northern Parkway
  • Pennsylvania Avenue from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to Penn-North
  • Greenmount Avenue/York Road from Monument Street to Belvedere Avenue
  • Monument Street in the Middle East community
  • Eastern Avenue from President Street to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • Belair Road from Erdman Avenue to White Avenue
  • Reisterstown Road from Garrison Avenue nearly to Reisterstown Road Plaza.

DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., noted that the Smart Cans were just one way Baltimore City DPW worked this year to improve sanitation and general cleanliness.

“We rolled out 15 new all-terrain litter vehicles that allowed us to vacuum up trash in commercial districts and neighborhoods, brought quick-response teams to address blight in Violence Reduction Initiative zones, and addressed tens of thousands of additional sanitation-related service requests than we did the year before,” said Director Chow.

The cans are already producing data showing how often they are used and how frequently they need to be emptied. DPW is using this data to make its collection schedule more efficient, and using it workers where there is greater need.

Depending on availability of funding, DPW plans to roll out another 270 cans to other business districts in 2019. A contract with South Korean manufacturer ECube Labs allows for as much as $15 million to be spent on Smart Cans for Baltimore.

The company has already opened an East Coast hub in Baltimore.

“With help from residents who take the simple steps to keep Baltimore clean,” said Director Chow, “we can make a change for the better in our neighborhoods and our environment.”

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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.