SF Supes envisions new bespoke bins costing up to $ 20,000 per can

The latest town hall boondoggle is on a long-standing project to replace city street trash cans, and this week a committee of the supervisory board approved a proposal to make 15 prototype trash cans for testing. on the streets later this year. But because these are custom designs, every prototype comes at a steep price.

San Francisco usually can’t make anything easy if its life depended on it, and this trash can project is no exception. The problem is a widely accepted hatred for the round, dark green, historic-looking trash cans with the top sections still broken for recycling, which date back to 1993. Supervisors blame these easily broken and stolen cans for all of the extra trash in it. city ​​streets, which may or may not be based on reality.

And, of course, the continued use of these bins seems to have something to do with the Mohammed Nuru scandal – like the Chronicle Notes Via supervisor Matt Haney, the former public works chief pushed back efforts to put new trash cans on the streets and approved a $ 5.2 million contract with a company called Alternative Choice LLC, which is linked to a family member of disgraced municipal contractor Walter Wong who last year pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud charges.

Thus, under the direction of a new chief of public works, the interim director Alaric Degrafinried, the city contracts with the industrial design company of Oakland ICI (Institute for Creative Integration) to create the prototypes. The department took the advice of the public and the SF Arts Commission to narrow the possibilities down to three finalist models, pictured below.

The three finalists, via SF Dept. of Public Works

Each prototype has its pros and cons, with the “Salt & Pepper” model offering the same small top bin for recyclables as the city’s existing cans. The “Slim Silhouette” model may work better for narrower sidewalks and offers a recycling hole that will not be as easily accessible as the existing model. And the “Soft Square” offers a handle door to access the scraps for waste and recycling.

As the Chronicle explained when the trash can finalists were first unveiled last September, aesthetics are just one yardstick on which the recipients will be judged. Each model must have a sturdy hinged door that can be locked and accessed by Recology; and each must have a removable rolling bin inside that can be loaded onto Recology’s automatic emptying mechanism on their trucks.

But, with each model costing between $ 12,000 and $ 20,000 each to produce, you end up with titles like this from KTVU and this from the Chronicle – which are misleading, if only because the ultimate price per box will likely be much cheaper once they are mass produced.

As the Chronicle reports, the city has already gone from using the Bigbelly Solar Powered Compactor Canisters, 150 of which now dot the Tenderloin thanks in part to the Community Benefit District located there. Public Works says these cans, which cost around $ 4,000 a piece, break too easily and do not meet Recology criteria above. Nuru was fiercely against them, possibly for the aforementioned corruption motive.

When the can testing phase begins in November, already mass-produced bins for other cities will be tested alongside the three custom prototypes, five of each of which will be produced by HERE.

The trash can proposal, which has yet to be submitted to the board for approval, has a price tag of $ 537,000, which includes the 15 prototypes, 10 rolling interior bins, the purchase of existing models from elsewhere and the project management.

“$ 20,000 a can is ridiculous,” Haney told The Chronicle, but said he voted to move the proposal forward in the interests of the time.

“Our streets and sidewalks are messy and the cans we have now are part of the problem,” he says. “At this point, they’ve already come up with designs, we won’t buy time now to go back, but it’s really frustrating that they’ve taken that route.”

Existing models of trash cans in other cities would cost between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000 each, but Public Works staff said most are either too big for our sidewalks or have openings too easily accessible.

There is no doubt that the price will increase when the full board accepts the proposal.

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