There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see several stray pieces of trash to either my left or right when leaving my apartment — never mind that a Public Works-maintained trash can sits less than fifty feet from the entrance gate. There’s also one straight across the street. There’s a third one up the block; this density of public trash cans, however, is rare in the TenderNob.
All of these bins are, more or less, in a constant state of fill, overflowing with remnants of urban life. My corner of San Francisco, like most nooks in and around Downtown, continues to swim in a sea of misplaced single-use plastics and Amazon packaging supplies.
Is it because there aren’t enough trash receptacles in San Francisco? Is the design cumbersome to use? Frankly, it’s because of both the former and the latter.
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Currently, there are around 3,000 City-affiliated public trash cans in San Francisco. For a city of at least 875,000 people, this means there’s one City trash can for every 291 or so residents; Californians throw away about 6 pounds of trash a day on average. Assuming that just 10% of a daily San Franciscan’s garbage finds its way inside a public trash can, this loosely translates to each Public Works trash receptacle needing to hold more than 174lbs of waste at any one time — each and every day. Just these figures alone highlight the city’s trash can conundrum. (And we didn’t even figure in any waste products disposed of by visiting tourists.)
It’s still absolute madness it will cost near as much a half-million dollars to effectively test trash cans around San Francisco that are slimmer, easier to empty, and more attractive. At the end of the day, a trash can’s sole purpose is to hold garbage—like bags of literal dog…