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SF’s New Public Trash Cans

A “beauty contest” but for trashcans… weigh in on redesign of the City’s public bins
By - posted 9/15/2020 No Comment

Thank you SF Chronicle for letting us know about the search for the city’s next official public trash can.

Vote on your favorite new trashcan design

Public Works, in collaboration with the industrial designers at the Institute for Creative Integration (ICI), has narrowed the design of the City’s new public trash cans to three final concepts.

Today, there are more than 3,000 public trash cans on City sidewalks and in public plazas that serve a vital role in combating litter. Unfortunately, many have become easy targets of scavengers, who rummage through them and leave behind a mess.

“San Francisco is a beautiful city and keeping it clean can be a challenge. Finding the right public trash can to serve our needs at a reasonable cost has driven this design process,” said Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. “All three contending designs meet our requirements conceptually: They are durable, hard to tamper with, easy to service and aesthetically pleasing.”The look of the new cans is intended to complement the design of the new JCDecaux public toilets, now in production, the BART canopies on Market Street and the café on Civic Center Plaza. The smart cans also will be outfitted with sensors that send alerts when they’re nearing capacity so they can be emptied before they overflow.

The three contending designs will be presented at the Arts Commission Civic Design Review Committee on Sept. 21. Leading up to the meeting, Public Works also is soliciting initial public feedback on the designs. Public feedback is welcome in their Trash Can Redesign survey.

If given the greenlight at Civic Design Review, Public Works will have 15 prototype cansfive of each design – manufactured and installed throughout the City for real-life testing. Comments will be solicited from residents; nonprofit partners who help keep the City clean; Recology, the private company that services the cans; neighborhood merchants; and Public Works crews, who deal with day-to-day litter cleanup. Their input will inform the decision on the final selection.

Here are the three final concepts:

Salt & Pepper

Salt & Pepper’s unique and elegant profile stands out from afar. The silhouette provides two separate refuse areas, with one space for cans and bottles and the other for litter. Steel fins welded to ribs give Salt & Pepper a durable frame, as well as providing visibility into the can for security and deterrence to graffiti. The snorkel-like opening on the litter portion makes it difficult to rummage in the can and grab discarded trash.

Slim Silhouette

Slim Silhouette’s side profile allows more sidewalk space for pedestrians, while still allowing ample room to discard trash and recyclables. This single-sided access and the chute-shaped trash opening make rummaging more difficult. The stainless-steel pipe construction offers an easy-to-clean surface and less space for graffiti tags.

Soft Square

Soft Square offers recognizable trash can silhouette, with a modern aesthetic. Designed as a kit of parts, Soft Square comprises four curved panels, an adjustable base, and a domed top. Separate openings for trash and recyclable bottles and cans are located behind a hopper door. The stainless-steel construction can be customized with different perforation patterns.