Civic News
Environment / Municipal government

Baltimore’s first ‘smart’ trash cans are arriving in South Baltimore

The first phase provides a total of 64 solar-powered, sensor-enabled trash cans.

An Ecube Labs display at the Smart City Innovation Summit Asia 2017. (Photo via Twitter)

Mr. Trash Wheel (and friends) brought solar-powered trash collection to Baltimore’s harbor. Now the city is adding trash cans powered by the sun in hopes of collecting more garbage on the streets.
As of Monday, the first wave of 64 “smart” trash cans is rolling out around South Baltimore, according to the Baltimore Department of Public Works. At Cherry Hill Town Center, Mayor Catherine Pugh was on-hand for the “ceremonial disposal” of the first items.

Approved by the city’s spending board after a competitive bid and challenge from the second-highest bidder in January, the trash cans from South Korea–based Ecube Labs are compactors, and are opened via foot pedal. They also contain sensors, which will alert DPW workers when they need to be picked up. As for the solar power, the trashcans are located in spots where they can absorb at least a few minutes of sunlight a day. Some also have recycling bins. During the pilot, workers will look to optimize locations and routes.
While city government officials have said they want “smart city” technology the goal here is to make the city cleaner. So the ultimate measure will be whether the new trash cans help reduce litter.
Baltimore needs to get smarter about trash, and these Smart Cans are a big part of the solution,” Pugh said in a statement. “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.”
The first phase of trash cans will be located on Washington Boulevard, and in Ridgely’s Delight, Cherry Hill and Westport. Others will be along Light, Charles, and Hanover streets in South Baltimore.
The Casino Local Development Council is funding the first phase to the tune of $300,000.
In a second phase that will see the trash cans placed in the city’s business districts and bus stops, the Maryland Port Administration will pitch in about $900,000.


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